We are often too close to our own obstacles to see around or over them. Once we get to the other side, hindsight gives us the gift of insight, knowledge and lessons learned. This new perspective gives us a leg up should we encounter similar obstacles. Next time, solutions will be found quicker and with greater confidence. But in a pressured business world, the element of time and scarce resources push us tight up against unfamiliar obstacles and short on perspective about the unknown. Enter the Mentor.
Mentors bring a rich combination of experience, a breadth of insights, a coaching spirit and a desire to help. This relationship is special in that your Mentor’s only focus is on you. They generally don’t have a vested interest in the outcome but are prepared to invest time in you and your success.
The Power of Fresh Eyes
Sometimes we are too close to the things we want the most. Sometimes it’s not knowing where to begin to solve a problem. Another viewpoint is like a breath of fresh air. A mentor provides objective feedback, ask questions to help flesh out the obstacle and challenge assumptions. They also bring alternate viewpoints on the situation to help broaden our perspective and to put the challenge into context. We all have different experiences and can benefit from seeing our situation through another’s eyes.
Widen the Lens
When we are passionate about a project or intent on giving it our full attention, tunnel vision can creep in. Mentors give that gentle reminder that it’s time to look up and revisit the project within the broader business strategy. A simple reminder to step back and ask ‘why’ can re-frame the task or objective within its more strategic purpose. On our own, we may be missing the forest for the trees.
Narrow the Lens
Big obstacles and opportunities can leave us equally frozen in place and overwhelmed by the scope, potential impact or risk. A wise mentor who has walked a similar path can help you think through your approach and help focus the project into more actionable chunks. But they can also remind us to look for root causes; their experience may see patterns we overlooked. This can change a large undertaking into a precision intervention with wider and more impactful outcomes.
Whether you call this person Mentor, Coach, or Colleague, we all benefit from collaboration and the opportunity to involve a second set of eyes on the things that challenge us. The benefit of a mentor’s eye is to catch a glimpse around the corner of our obstacles. They help to reveal a path to success that we just couldn’t see without a change in perspective.
How has a Mentor changed your life?