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The importance of having a career mentor

“Good leaders make things happen, the best leaders empower others to do so.”

As we grow through life, we realize that the lessons we learn are just as important as the milestones we acquire. In fact, without the lessons, the milestones will not even be there.  From a very young age I was driven to one day reach great heights within my professional life. Growing up in a somewhat poor environment meant that I focused more on using my imagination, than just having material things. I didn’t necessarily have the trendy clothes or the latest Barbie doll as a kid, but I learnt very quickly that by using my mind, I can just visualize that I have everything I wanted and although I physically I didn’t have these things, metaphorically speaking I acted as if I did because my mind was in that state and I believed it. My parents couldn’t afford to buy me a real Barbie, so I had the plastic fake type but my mother taught me that if I want something I must find a way to make it happen. So her and my grandmother would sew the most beautiful clothes for my plastic Barbie dolls, and they were the best dressed on the block. My Barbies had Haute Couture designs and I was happy with that. My parents taught me to work very hard for everything I wanted in life because only then you can taste the success of your own input and discover just how talented you really are. I have to admit, in my younger years this wasn’t always fun, but now I can say I am very grateful for this type of wisdom I was given.

Everybody can reach professional success if they really want it bad enough. We sometimes tend to focus on things that actually don’t really matter which end up distracting us from what we should really be focusing on. I have learnt that by looking within and focusing on gaining an understanding of the self, who I am, what are my passions and strengths, all lead to the discovery of one’s life purpose. Regardless how self-driven and disciplined you are, there will be moments in your life when you will need the guidance of others. Whatever path you are choosing to take within your career, connecting with other likeminded people and learning from those who have already walked the path you are embarking on will place tremendous value for you.

One of the most valuable experiences I had and continue to have in my professional life has been working alongside great minds and inspirational leaders who somehow believed in me so much. I never really understood the concept of having a career mentor until I met my first one. I considered myself lucky to be part of this person’s business journey, a successful entrepreneur with a genius business mind and a very humble nature. He believed in me and in my abilities to succeed more than I did in myself at the time. It is then that I learned the importance of perseverance and being passionate about what you do.  When you rely on yourself to be the driver of all your actions, that’s when you will begin to take control of your life. But it’s wise to learn from others, especially those who are living the success you want to be living. If you are blessed enough to have already found your career mentor, then you will understand the important role they played in your journey. And if you haven’t yet, here’s why you should start: 

Focus on your journey


​Self-development is vital for anybody. When you focus on growing and learning new things, you elevate to greater heights. Having a career mentor can sometimes open your mind to new talents and strengths you haven’t been aware you had. Although I always believed in myself that I would have a great career ahead of me, I never really took the big actions with confidence towards it until I met my first mentor. He saw more potential in me than I did in myself at the time and that helped me find my wings and use them wisely. It is then I was introduced to a whole new level of self-elevation I took upon myself. The lessons I had been introduced to from a young age were the planting seeds to new discoveries which I only understood later on in life, when I realized my true potential. You will meet people in life who somehow see more in you than you see for yourself. Perhaps they are older, wiser and more experienced and often times they will see their younger self within you; that driven soul who wants to do great things. The qualities you see in your mentors are simply qualities you yourself possess, hence why you are able to see them. So don’t be afraid to let somebody introduce you to these and be open to letting your potential shine. 


When you surround yourself with successful people who have achieved what you want to achieve, you will become that. The more you do it, the more you start living it because you will understand that your actions cause the outcome. Being around people who can teach you the lessons you might face in your life will give you the wisdom to understand and really embrace these. Success is really what we perceive it to be, so when you find somebody who is aligned with your definition of success and they are living it, allow yourself to be introduced to it. When you are able to get a taste for what it really is, you will realize that the true success lies in the hard work and countless challenges endured; the broken barriers, the sleepless nights, the never ending, burning passion with which you conquer these. Having this introduction first hand from somebody who has been there will absolutely prepare you for what’s to come and it is then when you will decide if this is the success you are seeking. 


Having a career mentor will give you tremendous insight into understanding and embracing failure. Almost every successful business owner or highflying career individual I have met and worked with had encountered failures, some more than others. Whilst there is no special manual for handling these moments in our lives, hearing somebody’s story who has pushed through the challenges can definitely have a positive impact on your professional development. You will learn that even the biggest, darkest challenges have a positive outcome. In fact, you will learn that these are often the ones that lead you to the desired results you are seeking to create. Nothing is really as glamorous as it seems, and when it does, you better believe that it takes many failures in order to achieve that status. Robert F Kennedy said that “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”. This might sound daunting for some of you, as failure can have such a strong impact, but when we take the dark glasses of with which we see it and realize that we can always pick ourselves back up again, now that is true success.
If I can sum up everything I have learnt from all of my mentors so far, it is this:

“Good leaders make things happen, the best leaders empower others to do so.”

When you meet somebody who empowers you to make great things happen, and you are willing to learn, you’re on your way to realizing that it is possible.