Accelerate your growth by seeking mentors. Let me tell you why.
I wanted to become a better public speaker. So in June 2010, I joined Toastmasters. It is an international organization that is helping individuals become better communicators and leaders. There are different clubs scattered all over the globe.
One of my goals back then was to become a Distinguished Toastmaster – not much for the title but the training I have to go through before I achieve it.
I was very new to the city and I was also new to this whole new world called Toastmasters. While the Toastmasters education program then was divided into two tracks – communication and leadership – one could get overwhelmed with the number of speeches and projects you need to finish and finally receive that highest norm or certificate called Distinguished Toastmaster.
The good thing is that there is a mentorship program in Toastmasters. And I was so blessed to have a mentor who is already a Distinguished Toastmaster himself. He gave me guidance and encouragement. He was a good mentor. He had been challenging me to always deliver my speeches and join contests. He also entrusted me special roles – he assigned me to give toasts at club anniversaries and host big events. I thought he was giving me lots of pressure. Today, I realized, I have been learning a lot from those exposures and experiences.
I stayed with that club (IAME & Associates Toastmasters Club in Makati) for five years, from mid-2010 to early 2015. I am now in my 8th year in Toastmasters, and now with Pines City Toastmasters Club. I still have mentors – a new set mentors – who continue to help me hone my competence, confidence and character.
Let me share with you two packages of benefits that you and I can gain from a mentor:
First package: Knowledge and Wisdom. While we may have access to numerous learning materials, with a mentor, the impact of these materials can be brought to a higher level because mentors would be able to share synthesized and simplified information, insights based on their experience, and perspective that we may not have.
Second package: Support and Feedback. Having a mentor who is there to support you as you take the steps to your goals is priceless. They may not be there at every step all the time, but who knows – they may just be one call away. Or when you just call out their name, and you know that wherever they are, they’ll come running, to see you again. Winter, spring, summer or fall, and all you have to do is call… and they’ll be there, yes they will… Because they have become your friend. (Yup, you can sing with your mentors too.) They cheer you on with their words and their presence. They share strategies and give you the much needed feedback.
So before I close, let me share with you four practical tips to take:
- ASK. Be willing to reach out for guidance and learning. Ask questions and be open.
- ADAPT. Be willing to consider new ideas and insights, perspective and feedback – even, sometimes to styles that you are not comfortable with.
- ACHIEVE. Be ready to take action, overcome obstacles and achieve your goals.
- ACCOUNTABLE. Be responsible for your own growth and development. You are accountable to your own learning.
My friend, I have gained competence, confidence and character with the help of several mentors (formal and informal). I still have a long way to go. I am still a work-in-progress. But I have also have gone far from my super shy and silent self – seven years ago.
Without my mentors, the competencies I have gained in those 7 years may take me 17 to 70 years. Thanks to my mentors who have accelerated my growth.
It’s your turn to accelerate your growth. Seek mentors.
Live your life, young mind!
(Chris Dao-anis, CPA, DTM – as a speaker, trainer and writer – shares about communication, leadership, productivity, and high performance. For talks and trainings, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.chrisdaoanis.com. His latest book Living Large in the Little Things is available at Mt. Cloud Bookshop, Casa Vallejo, Upper Session Road, Baguio City.)