7 Priceless Benefits Of Having A Mentor
"The best mentors are authentic, honest and inspirational."
One of the quickest ways to speed up your development as a player, coach or fan of the game is to find a mentor. Mentorship dates back to the ancient times and some of the most successful individuals in history had a mentor/role model at some point in their careers who positively impacted their lives. They can be people who you may know personally or role models who inspire you both on and off the field.
Footy Tip: Don't simply look for ANY mentor who is an expert or at the highest level. Remember that this is a relationship that will be mutually beneficial so you need to identify someone who truly represents what/who you wish to be on and off the field. Don't be upset if someone doesn't have time to be your mentor, there are MANY willing professionals who would love to have an eager pupil to counsel and help succeed.
Some great mentor relationships in Footy include:
Johan Cruyff --> Pep Guardiola
Arsene Wenger --> George Weah
Sir Alex Ferguson --> Alex McLeish
Neymar --> Kylian Mbappe
Pep Guardiola --> Lionel Messi
...and the list goes on and on.
As you may have noticed, Pep Guardiola (who most would acknowledge is presently the best coach in the world) was first mentored by Johan Cruyff and later became a mentor to Lionel Messi. That is the wonderful feature of mentorship, it's cyclical. Once you become influenced and disciplined by a positive mentor, you can likewise turn into a guide for other talented players seeking to succeed.
Once you have honestly and precisely defined your personal goals and ambitions, a mentor can offer you the tools to enhance your skills, capabilities, and insights needed to attain them. Mentors are priceless assets to your progress and can contribute these 7 benefits (and much more):
1. Wisdom: Chances are, your mentor has experienced the trials and tribulations of a long, successful career. They contain a wealth of knowledge, only realized after struggling through the challenges one must endure to reach the top. This experience is a rare treasure and should be regarded as such. Heed their advice and give them feedback throughout your journey on how it has/hasn't worked.
2. Social Capital: The intangible value that a mentor provides is immeasurable. They have a vast network within the game and resources which you may have never had access to before. True mentors don't ask for anything in return and therefore positively contribute to your life, career and the common good. They are devoting their own time, knowledge and abilities to help you succeed because they prefer to see you reach your goals.
3. Accountability: Mentoring relationships innately provide you with accountability and with someone who will push you stay on course. The best mentors are authentic, honest and inspirational. They know you will go through struggles on your pathway to success but they also appreciate how hard you must work to persevere. If you want a mentor who will sell you all the answers and a magic pill... you won't find it in a mentor because they understand that's not how true success is achieved. At a minimum, you must commit to investing the significant hours of effort to benefit from the mentor's resources, wisdom, and instruction. Staying accountable (to yourself and to your mentor) is paramount.
4. Leadership: Your mentor has accomplished something you hope to achieve. This means they are going into this relationship with you from a mutually beneficial outlook where they can provide you with direction, discipline, and education while you can serve them with engagement, spirit, and an infectious drive to learn and thrive. The best mentor-mentee relationships are not passive, mundane and one-way. Collaboration is key, and straightforward communication sets a strong foundation for a longstanding relationship where you both invest in each other's prosperity. Leadership is all about teamwork and collaborating with a mentor will increase your confidence and capacity to inspire those around you.
5. Priorities: Mentors have an abundance of experience and generally notice what does and doesn't work to achieve your ambitions. They can help you prioritize what you need to be doing so you can boost your improvement and understanding of the game. By providing direction and guidance, mentors keep you concentrated on prioritizing the efforts that will set you on the proper road to success.
6. Humility: No one ever reached the top on their own. If someone claims to be a "self-made man/woman," they are sadly misguided. We all advanced and learned from others around us and mentors are the top-class tier of these teachers. You may be the best player on your team, in your age group or in your country but remember...even Lionel Messi has a mentor.
7. Inspiration: The best mentors are people who have been through the best AND worst moments in their hunt for greatness. There is far more to learn from the successful individual who has failed over 100 times rather than the one-hit wonder success story. Your objective in finding an excellent mentor is not seeking someone who will wave a magic wand and turn you into an overnight success. Spoiler alert: No such wand or wizard exists. You will need inspiration throughout your journey, so find someone who has been through your familiar failures and it will energize you to continue driving forward.
Footy Tip: Experience matters over age when it comes to identifying a mentor. Ideally, you need to find a mentor who has trail blazed the same path you aspire to go through AND who failed along the way. These mentors are invaluable in helping you handle the obstacles you will come upon. Having a guide who can help you side-step some of these pitfalls will greatly benefit you and save you a lot of time in your development.