Do you remember all those things your “abuela” taught you? How about your 2nd-grade teacher? or that vecina you would always “consult” when things were not going so good? Well, I have some news. They were your very first mentors. They were those key individuals that helped shape who you are today. Nonetheless, today as young adults we still need that close person to guide us.
As an aspiring entrepreners we continuously seek for approval, we look for someone to watch over us and give us guidance. We look for “la hada madrina”, that person that will come into our lives and help us solve all of our problems with a simple swirl of her “barita magica”. Unfortunately, in real life, this happens only in fairy tales. When it comes to learning, I’ve come to understand that in everything you do, everything you see, and every single person you meet there is an opportunity to learn. I would not be able to tell you who has been my biggest mentor, but I can tell you I have learned from each and every one of them. All of the mentors I have encountered have passed onto me a great amount of knowledge and experience .
A mentor by definition is an experienced and trusted advisor. Who has been your mentor? Your grandmother, your jefe, your business partner or your significant other? Who has been that person that has to push you and encourage you to do those things you don’t feel ready to do?
I believe there are 3 types of mentors:
The first type is the “good/obvious” mentor, the person that is actually there to guide you and to help you bring out those things you don’t know that you are capable of. A person that motivates you and encourages you to be the best version of yourself. This type of mentor is hard to find, but when you do, hold on to them! Their insight is valuable and sincere. They will tell you when you are doing good or bad. Even if you don’t like it!
Then there are the “bad/undercover” mentors these you might not even consider to be your mentors but they are. They are individuals that are in a higher hierarchy (mom, boss, etc.) and I say “bad” because these are the ones whose opinions we tend to disregard. They are the ones that are too picky with the things you do and have huge expectations. This type of mentor is easily DISLIKE but when they are no longer part of our life we realize we learned a whole lot from them. Their constant push and demand have a purpose that we probably just never saw or appreciated before.
The last type of mentor is everyone that surrounds you, every single person. Why? Because we can learn from others’ experiences and failures. They are not directly mentoring us or warning us on what not to do, but we watch and learn. How many times have you met someone completely random and engage on a very interesting and insightful conversation? We can learn a little bit from everyone around us. Be open to listening to others and always be alert of your surroundings.
Knowing this has been very valuable to me. Being able to identify key people in your life is a skill that we must learn and pass on to our younger generation.
Go out. Learn. Fail. Try again. Ask for help.