mentors harry potter dumbledore
Image Source: Time Magazine

For as long as I can remember, a mentor has always been someone I have searched for. I can date this search back to the years in school when I would take literature simply because the person who taught it knew how to make one fall in love with it. Or meeting solid figures who, in a mere conversation, would enlighten you with their knowledge you had no clue it ever existed; mentors!

Who are mentors, really?

Sometimes we are lucky to find people in life who compel us to do our best, regardless of our fears and inhibitions. Fast forward to a decade, and you enter the corporate jungle, in the hopes of finding that mentor-like figure you’ve grown up admiring and learning from but alas, you’re left in the darkness despite being among the ‘sages’ of sorts.

mentors star wars
Image Source: Entertainment Weekly

Why is that so?

We have grown up watching movies where we have idolized personalities like that of John Keating from ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ and Sean Mcguire from ‘Good Will Hunting’ but the reality is quite the opposite. People are too bogged down by their own insecurities of being in the rat race and always have the urge to be right at whatever cost. Having the time to ‘mentor’ doesn’t come as a habit but rather as an expense they have no time to invest in. We often tend to knock others down in hopes of personal success and the cycle just gets uglier.

The traits required

And then we think, why, as a nation, we are where we are? Because mentoring is real and mentors are humans, just like us or even more. They don’t wear capes or hang around carrying a magic wand. But they possess the basic skill of understanding, the knowledge to impart to others, and the security of not being left behind if others learn and do well for themselves.

In the big bad corporate world, we are always told to be competitive and aggressive but at the cost of what; trampling others simply because one has the power to do so and nothing better?

We don’t live in an ideal world but we can surely create one by being more forthcoming to sharing our learnings and real-life experiences and dissecting them only to learn and make others learn from. Learning is forever only if we have the ability to understand we can’t know everything, and what we know isn’t enough.

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Can one find mentors in advertising?

Advertising is a close-knit circle that makes one think about where can one find the knowledge which is not readily available in the gazillion books, movies, or the shows you binge-watch but rather in the firsthand knowledge coming from a person who talks with experience and teaches you from all the mistakes he/she made just so that you don’t repeat it as they did.

Anyone can be a boss – bossing around is fun but can every boss be a mentor remains a big fat question mark. Mentoring is a craft and only the brave ones have the knack for it. The ones who have the power to discern while being true to their own ability. Legends aren’t born overnight but with dexterity and sincerity, they become one.

Let’s not get into names proving who’s who because we all know that far too well and only focus on our own development while always being open to helping others who may need it the most.

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