The five myths about finding a mentor

Jan 25, 2008 by

Conversations Silhouettes

I’m learning a lot about mentor in the book DNA of Success from Jack M. Zufelt (check below). It’s about being successful with the help of mentor. Journey of success is a journey of learning. But… will book enough for you to learn to be successful? A reminder quote that I got from the book…

A single conversation across a table from a wise mentor is worth a month’s study of books.

– Ancient proverb

I’ve never got someone that I officially call as ‘mentor’, my first impression of reading a message about finding a mentor is a kind of self-pity, something like finding myself having no mentor, assuming that it is very difficult in having a mentor. But is that true?

When I think again, I may not have someone that I’ve ever officially called or asked to be my mentor, but I do have few people that I am very thankful of to be connected with, people with whom I have learned so many things in life…, some through teaching and inspiration, some through encouragement, and some through questions that make me think.

With this perspective, rarely any of us will find difficulty finding a mentor. Here are five myths about mentor that you need to debunk to find it easier to have a mentor…


1. A mentor must be a ‘mentor’

It’s great if you have a mentor that you can call as a mentor, someone that even you have officially/verbally ask to be a mentor, but the key of having many mentors are from whom you can learn, anyone who is more successful than you and whose achievement you would like to pursue, to become your mentor; you will end up with many mentors.

A mentor does not even have to realize that he/she is a mentor to you, you can have a mentor with the attitude of learning, looking forward of the things you can learn from anyone you’re having conversation with.

2. A mentor must be taking care of you

Another myth where we are putting too high expectation on our mentor, a mentor is not someone to lean on, mentor is someone to learn from. Appreciate the boundary of your mentor, don’t take any show of caring from your mentor for granted, appreciate and thank them, if necessary with gift to show your respect.

3. A mentor is there for forever

There is season for everything! Season of meeting and season of parting! I do have several mentors, not officially, but someone that is interested in sharing his knowledge to me, teach, inspire and encourage me a lot, yet when we are separated by space and our own busyness and activities, we are not supposed to be sad or disappointed about it. You can even learn from a one-day mentor, someone that you have opportunity to learn or meet up only for that point of time. For example, once I had a lunch with the principal of Singapore Bible College, and I’m learning about habit of asking from him, and that has inspired me even until now.


4. A mentor must be impressed by your success


A reminder from Jack,

I find that many people are more interested in impressing their mentors than in listening to them.

Jack M. Zufelt

See, how many of us are willing to listen with a secure heart; many are trying to impress their mentor with their success. One of the core motive behind this that I can think of is how people afraid losing their mentor, if they can’t impress their mentor, they afraid the mentor will lose interest of themselves and hence, move away from him. Something we really need to learn, to be secure, to learn and to be mentally prepared to be separated or lose their mentor.


5. A mentor must be someone who is greatly successful


Success is relative, for one person, a person can be considered successful but not for the others. What I’m trying to say is that, you can learn from anyone, even if they are only one step ahead towards your goals and dreams. You can learn from the other pilgrims, people in the journey as well, it’s a good habit to look forward for even a small success that other person has achieved, hence we can pick up something to learn from them.

Everything starts with the habit, by making a habit of asking and learning from any people, you will eventually more skilful in learning from the masters, not missing it when there is a great successful person in front of you.

I believe when you debunk those 5 myths above, you will easily have many potential mentors in your life, start today to learn from them! It can be your supervisor at work, your senior staff, your colleague, or your friend! The important thing is trust, once you’re able to trust them, you can start picking up their belief and knowledge. All the best for your journey of finding a mentor!

What’s your opinion about a mentor? How you can find or learn from a mentor effectively?
Please do share them in the comments!

For your success,

(photo by b_d_solis)

Related articles:

“The DNA of Success” by Jack M. Zufelt.

Related Posts


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  1. This is an interesting article aboout mentoring.

    Some of my mentors would be amazed that I consider them such because I came away from a small conversation with something that changed my life. Here is one:

    A wealthy man did me a huge business favor and it enabled me to get started in a new venture. It wasn’t a loan.

    When I said, “I don’t know how I can ever repay you,” he replied, “You can’t – but keep in mind you owe a big favor now to someone else. Pass it on.”

  2. Robert A.

    Hi Corinne,
    I’m also impressed by your mentor, recently I am kind of wondering whether asking help is selfish and what if I can’t repay them back.
    But I do believe that successful person is very different, they are willing to give just that enabling us to give more to others.

    Thanks for sharing, it does inspire me!

  3. I like your approach to identifying mentors Robert. There are many people in this world that we can learn from and many people who can learn from us.

  4. Robert A.

    Karen, thanks for your comments, I do agree a lot with you!
    Many people we can learn from and many people can learn from us!
    When we are open to learning and sharing, receiving and giving, the life seems much more enjoyable and fun!


  5. Hi Robert,

    I find that most people are being surrounded by the myths too.

  6. Robert A.

    Hi Raymond, thanks for sharing your thoughts, that’s all the myths that has bogged me before.
    Now I will take it as a chance to be thankful with whomever I am with and learning as if they’re my mentor!


  7. will toh

    hi there,

    i was looking who was online and i saw your blog.

    i can see that you are impresses with jack! so am i.

    My name is Will from Singapore.

    i am currently working on a joint venture business with Jack M Zufelt of

    jack and i are helping people in their lives around asia.

    we are on conference call almost on a daily basis. Do let me know if you are interested to find out more what we are doing.


    Ending this email, i pray to the lord Proverbs 21:21 – that you purses righteousness n love finds life, prosperity and honour.

    Best Regards,

    Will Toh K. H. .

    With GOD, all things are possible. matthew 19:26

  8. Robert A.

    Hi Will, I’m on my holiday back to Indonesia right now, I’m sure that you know Diin, I heard about you from him, will contact you once I get back to Singapore.
    Thanks for the bible verse, that’s very encouraging!


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