Become A Giraffe Part 2

Who Your Mentors Should Be

You’ll know you’ve found a mentor when conversing with them feels a bit uncomfortable. Not because you don’t have great rapport, but because you personally feel out of your depth with the conversation. The whole point about having mentors is to push yourself to the next level, so if you only ever spend time with people who are ‘on your level’, you will only ever be on that same level.

That said, you will need to spend time with people on your level too. These are the people who are coping with the same challenges that you are. If you’ve only just become a Business Leader, it is imperative to find other Business Leaders to spend time with because your friends who work for a company, or don’t hold a Leadership position will no longer be ‘on your level’ as far as the daily challenges you’ll face; and the mindset you’ll need to develop. So, you will need to discover and befriend new Peers.

And you’ll need to spend time with people who have not yet reached your current ‘level’. These are the people you can help; the people that you will mentor – i.e. your Mentees.

Sidebar: When we’re talking here about ‘levels’, this is not some archaic return to social class differentiators; it’s simply a term to describe where people are on their journey – some people haven’t reached your current station yet, whilst others are way ahead of you. So too is this not about one upmanship. We all progress at our own paces, but generally you will find a mentor to be someone who is older than you, simply because time = experience. However, don’t dismiss those who are younger than you, as long as they have successfully achieved that which you also want to achieve.

In fact, people often ask me why I spend time with people much younger than I am; they ask me, ‘what’s in it for you?’ There are two really important aspects to my friendships with people outside of my immediate peer age group. Firstly, the generations that came 5-15 years after me have a far broader understanding of the internet and of technology – they provide me with insights, knowledge and access to things I might otherwise not know anything about – thus increasing my awareness. Secondly, they have more energy and are less jaded by the world. As a result, they challenge any cynicism or stagnant thinking I may have; and they often do so with a slight, but very pleasant, air of optimistic naivety, which I find to be energising.

So, back to becoming a Giraffe.

The general rule of thumb is to spend one third of your time with each of these 3 different groups – 33% of your day with Mentors, 33% of your day with Peers; and 33% of your day with Mentees. Sounds tough, right? Well, start by thinking about who you spend your time with now; and whilst you may not yet be in a position to truly divide your time one third between each group, think about the content you consume online, in print, or on TV because I garauntee you there’s a mentor for you somewhere in there – note – mentors don’t have to be people you physically spend time with, although that is the utopia of this process.

So to summarise, your mentors should be people who have done what you want to do, and who are several train stations ahead of you on their journey. If you’re following this blog-series, then you already know why you need mentors (to become a Giraffe); and now you know who they should be (fully grown Giraffes); so join me tomorrow for the answer to the burning question of how to find them and get them on board.

COACHING QUESTIONS – You can do these in your head, on a piece of paper, or even leave a comment below.

Thinking of the people in your life currently:

1. Who do you know who would make a suitable mentor? Write a list of 5-10 people.

2. Who are you missing? Do you have a good mix of people in all 3 groups (Mentors, Peers, Mentees)? Write a list of what you’re missing, then start brainstorming ways to bring new people into your world.

Join me in my quest to read 1 article per day on a topic that I wouldn’t usually read; and use #oneunlikelyarticle

Adapted from

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