Every Monday night, I attend a men’s group where we discuss life, family and faith. Each week brings a new discussion, and everyone’s background creates a unique perspective. We recently spoke about others who have influenced our personal and professional lives and how we can also individually impact the lives of others. We addressed, in detail, the benefits of having both a mentor and a protégé in our lives. It got me thinking about who in my life I have had as a mentor over the years, and who I might have considered to be my protégé.
A mentor is defined as “an experienced and trusted advisor or trainer.” A protégé is defined as “a person who is guided and supported by an older and more experienced or influential individual.” Regardless of your age, you can have or be a mentor or protégé at any stage. I believe it is important that we think about who is presently in our lives who could be defined as our mentor, and if there are those out there who consider us to be their mentor. I can personally remember having these influences in my life, and I believe that I once was a mentor’s protégé, but this is currently something I believe I am presently missing.
It may be my commonly shared independence or stubbornness through my own gained experiences and pride, but I certainly do know the value of learning from those who have gained wisdom over the years and also sharing the wisdom I have gained. If we are not continuously growing in knowledge by surrounding ourselves with those who are wiser than us, would doing anything but seeking a mentor be acceptable? A mentor can help hold you accountable and guide you down a clearer path … a path they have already traveled and learned by their own mistakes to become better navigators.
Having insight and support from a mentor can be priceless. You don’t feel isolated and you have the motivation to succeed through words and actions of encouragement. Seeking out a mentor should begin by thinking of someone you respect or admire and who might be a generation ahead of you in your trade or area of focus. Simply asking might do the trick and you might be surprised by how willing people can be. There are certainly different mentors for different areas and times in life, but having this trust and connection with another person can be invaluable.
If you have employees or others who you have trained or influenced in any way, you may have experienced your own protégé at some point in life. I have personally had experiences with those whom I believe to be my protégé. I encouraged them to grow through my influence, and as a result, they encouraged me through their success and determination. I believe it is important that we all gain wisdom through mentorship, and in turn, share that wisdom with others through the different generations of life. Supporting and changing the lives of others in a positive way can also be invaluable.
Andy W. Harris, CRMS is president and owner of Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Vantage Mortgage Group Inc. and 2010-2011 president of the Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals. He may be reached by phone at (877) 496-0431, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.vantagemortgagegroup.com.