Today I spontaneously met with Michael. Michael is a silent comedian from Belgium and new member of our Toastmasters club in Barcelona. I met Michael to give him some guidance for his first speech in January. Michael has been assigned to me as my mentee. I had mentors when I was a new joiner at Toastmasters; now I’m a mentor. I always loved the concept of mentorship. Do you have a mentor? Or, more importantly, are you a mentor yourself?
When we talk about personal growth mentorship is a super booster! Whether you are a mentor or a mentee – you’ll always grow as a person. Therefore, I strongly advise you to embrace mentorship.
To have mentors was the most important of fours lessons learned on my bumpy road to success as explained in my inspirational talk at the online conference Heureka! in Berlin in May 2012:
“Two months ago I was sitting in the garden of IESE Business School in Barcelona. My friend Conor Neill, Professor of Persuasive Communication and I were brainstorming about his upcoming TEDx talk on mentorship. Conor used a metaphor I really love. He said that, Entrepreneurs don’t need less orks – less obstacles. Entrepreneurs don’t need less obstacles; we don’t need less hurdles. We want to climb that Mount Everest. If someone else makes Mount Everest smaller for us, it’s not the same challenge anymore. It’s not our accomplishment anymore. We are entrepreneurs; we want to climb that Mount Everest. We don’t need less orks. What we need is… more Gandalfs.
We need mentors who guide us in difficult times. Mentors who will never drive that car on that bumpy road for us, but who will keep us awake and help us find the better route to success.
My Gandalf is called Horst. It was in 2010. I was right at the bottom of my economic rollercoaster ride. I attended a Calçotada – a Catalan spring onion meal, a big Catalan tradition. The German Circle of Executives, 200 people attending. On the way back on the bus, after 3, 7 or 15 glasses of Cava, the famous Catalan sparkling wine too many, I gave a lecture on rhetoric in the rear of the bus. I lectured in front of well-situated businessmen, lawyers, entrepreneurs. I was loud, I was noisy, I was… pathetic.
Two weeks later I met Horst. My mentor looked deeply into my eyes and with a serious tone he said: Look, Florian, we all know about your personal situation. We want to help. But showing off and pretending to be someone else is not the right path to take.
Thanks to Horst I changed my attitude. I softened my tone, worked hard and success came along. We need co-drivers on our ride on that bumpy road to success. We need Gandalfs!”
Whether your mentee is called Frodo or Michael – being a mentor helps you become a better version of yourself.
In a post on mentorship The Wisdom Hunter shares a great Chinese proverb: “If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people.”
Make becoming a mentor one of your principal goals for 2013.
Be a mentor!