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How old is too old for one to try to get mentors?

I pretty much had zero growing up and I'm 26.

I feel kind of embarrassed at the thought of getting some,

but, I feel really stuck, and someone suggested it.

I just feel like I should have my act together by now.

I'm the type of person that tries to do everything on their own.

At a young age I felt that I had to be that way, but mentorship/role models are often essential for growth and I never really had that...Aghhhh, frustrating, not sure what to do.




Anticipating your opinions,



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I don't think you are ever too old. We all need mentors: people to look up to, to show us an example of who we might want to be. Most healthy people look up to someone. For me its a boss/coworker who has her act together. Sometimes its an aunt or my grandmother. If you are thinking for a more formal arrangement I still think its good. Support is the main thing. Having something to aspire to is what lifts you up.

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I'm curious to know how old you are and if you're a man or a woman.


I've only started to recognise the importance of mentors.


I don't know much about formal mentoring, and how you go about getting it, but I think if you take on a mindset of being open to the wisdom of all people you meet, and try to meet more people in your field of inquiry, then you're exposure to wisdom is greater.


I am not afraid to have a mentor that's half my age either, because kids today have the technological edge, and we oldies could learn a thing or two from them. Not just about technology, but about the world, and society as they have experienced it as a result of being better wired. As well as people I meet, I consider artists and writers, dead and alive to be my mentors. The first step to growing and learning is to be able to articulate your questions, and once you have that step sorted, the universe has a knack of bringing you the answers.


Sorry, that didn't really answer your question did it.

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No, I hear ya..Makes sense. I guess it's a little bit harder for me since I'm a guy and come from somewhat of a difficult background. Society still often has a way of making us guys feel like we shouldn't ask for help. So it's a little difficult for me. However, I'm thiniing it might be a good thing for me to do.

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This is quite a refreshing topic.


I think finding a mentor entails dedication on your part as well to contribute to your mentor. I was going to have one 2 years ago, but when offered in exchange to do some work for a prof, I felt as though it's not a part of my major so i refused. Thinking back, it's such an ignorant decision.

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When you are open, everyone is your teacher. They may not know they are your teacher, nor what they are supposed to teach you. You may not recognize them as your teacher, which means you have to keep learning the lesson.


Of course this is not the same thing as a mentor, exactly, someone you can call upon when you need advice. You can be your own mentor at times though, if you will start to look for the thing that you are supposed to learn from everyone you meet.


I also think that you could have dozens of mentors, depending on the subject matter. E.G., someone who has been happily married for a long time, or someone who knows the political situation at work, or knows who the leaders are in a social group.

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I don't think it's too old at all. What I wanted to add to what others said was to keep in mind the reciprocal part of the relationship - even though your mentor has the role of guiding you, the relationship is far more valuable if you have the mindset of what you can do to help your mentor - whether that means helping with her workload, introducing her to people who might be helpful in her career, or offering to do favors of some kind in her personal or professional life, the relationship will be much more rewarding if it is not all one way.


My mentors have been invaluable in my career and related personal growth - they've been

both men and women and none were "assigned" to me as part of a formal program. Nothing wrong with formal mentor programs of course just sharing - and I would add that clicking is crucial so just because someone is assigned as a mentor doesn't mean it will work even with good intentions.


I've also mentored many times over - both formally and informally. I remember the people who had more of an "entitlement" attitude and those who saw the relationship as more reciprocal. It's the latter I was more motivated to guide back then and who I would be more motivated to assist right now if there was a request for an introduction, help, whatever.


As far as wanting to do things yourself - that's perfectly consistent with having a mentor. A good mentor will not do things for you - she might make suggestions, introduce you to people, give you constructive criticism, but with the goal of you leaving the mentor nest and doing things on your own.


I also don't agree that "everyone is your teacher" as far as choosing who to develop a relationship with. Good mentor relationships take time to develop, grow and maintain. Of course it's great to be in a mindset of learning from everyone, but if you want a mentor who will be "yours" you have to choose carefully and invest the time -- spreading yourself too thin won't help much when you need assistance or an introduction or a suggestion because people get very busy and they're going to prioritize those "mentees" they have a solid foundation with.


For example, a few months ago a woman contacted me through an internet search she did because she wanted to pick my brain as to how I got my start in my career and how I developed it. She wanted to talk by phone or meet for coffee. We exchanged a few emails, I commented on her interesting career related blog. I gave her times when I was available but declined her invitation to be featured on her blog - she was fine with it. She never followed up. My guess is that she will contact me again in the near future but because our interaction was fleeting and because she didn't follow up, she will be low on any priority list I have to make time for her.


Other similar examples include people who I do meet for a lunch or coffee or an "informational interview" who I give suggestions to - both for networking and their resumes, then I invite them to relevant business events, and then I hear sporadically from them again usually with excuses as to why they couldn't make it, vague references to meeting again. Did they learn something from me? Yes. Am I a mentor to them - absolutely not - there is no relationship established and I wouldn't give those people much more of my time in "mentoring" because they chose not to invest the time.

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