POINT TO PONDER
I have a mentor. I have... guides. I have a lot of guides. Not a lot, but people whose opinions I really respect and who I will turn to.
STORY LINE by Rajiv Shah
Last week we wrote about good bosses. Of the many comments (for which we thank you) two jumped out at me. The first one from SC (thank you, whoever you are!) sparked the idea to write about mentors:
The second was a little more probing:
Both comments were interesting to me as it became apparent that many of us are in need of some mentorship. And good mentorship at that. But where does one find a good mentor?
Curious echoed my thought when he asked, "Where have such people gone?"
My answer to Curious is that you can find a phenominal mentor in Gotham City. You see, I went on the hunt this week to find a good mentor and I found one in Alfred Pennyworth. Who is Alfred Pennyworth you ask? Just ask Alfred's mentee, Bruce Wayne, or as he's more commonly known - BATMAN.
Now Curious, I get that Alfred is an old-timer (the character must at least be in his eighties now), may be a product of a bygone era/value system, and is indeed not in fact, "real." However, the core principles for which Alfred stands are a shining example of what makes a great mentor.
- Alfred is experienced. And with that experiences comes knowledge. Knowledge is what makes a good mentor valuable because they can inevitably pass that knowledge on to YOU. And this knowledge might be information you had no idea existed in the first place. Just ask Master Bruce. *Spoiler alert - Clips are from the Batman movies in the Christopher Nolan series and reveal important moments from Nolan's three Batman films*
- Alfred challenges Bruce to be better. So should your mentor. Does your mentor have the guts to tell you the truth? To challenge you to be better than you are? Look for someone that you feel comfortable getting a little tough love from because when you start to veer off your path, you need a good mentor to right the ship.
- And why does Alfred challenge Master Bruce? Because he knows there is something better for Bruce out there. Your mentor should have foresight. To see pitfalls. Possibilities. Your mentor, like Alfred, should direct you on a path that will lead you to something better that you might not have seen yourself.
- Alfred stands by Bruce through thick and thin. When the proverbial poop hits the fan (and at some point it always does), your mentor should be the type of person to be there to help pick you back up.
- Why does a mentor, and why does Alfred, do all this? Because damn it, HE CARES. If your mentor cares for your well-being, hell if ANYONE cares for your well-being in this day and age, consider yourself BLESSED. Because if that person truly cares you know that their knowledge, advice, and challenges will be coming from the right place.
- Bruce gives back. In any mentor/mentee relationship there needs to be a give and take. Bruce gives Alfred a pretty sweet house to live in, some pretty fine creature comforts, and studly protection. You in turn may not be able to give your mentor a mansion but your point of view, knowledge, and appreciation will go a long way in fostering the relationship. Because like any relationship it's a two way street and your mentor might get some satisfaction in knowing that you are better off because of them. So let them know that they are appreciated (even if that comes as a simple nod in thanks).