Learning is a lifelong process. Even in a lifetime, no one will ever be able to learn everything that they can in this world. Interestingly enough, most people go through just a few years of education at professional level and come out with a certificate, a diploma or a degree as foundations for their careers that are apparently supposed to equip them with lifelong skills.
A career has a huge bearing on one’s life; we spend a lot of time at work and what we do as work also embodies what we are and who we are in general.
Truth be told, life is complex and education alone cannot effectively groom a person for the roles they need to play in life. Mentorship from a tender stage is important in developing an individual and equipping them with the right skills and expertise to advance their lives and careers. Teen years, to the first few years of a job, are prime years in grooming an individual.
It is crucial that mentorship starts at a tender stage because these are the stages where people are still in the process of forming principles, ideas, habits and thought patterns. Mentorship from a younger stage makes a bigger difference because it can influence this process.
Many times, we have seen and heard of people who get opportunities to advance their skills and careers at a very later stage in life; they come back and their newly acquired skills end up shadowed by the traits and habits that have been instilled in them for so long. For instance, they get a PhD, but drink like a savage, consequently, derailing their performance.
This leads to my second point.
Mentorship works well when it is an all, round factor. Keeping in mind the complexity that comes with being an individual, it is important for mentorship to involve the core aspects of one’s life. We have seen great leaders that have come crumbling to the ground because they could not keep a disciplined leash on their private or social lives. For most, the assumption is the two are not related, but for many, this stems from a deep place that has not been nurtured and developed to seek the best possible ways to handle oneself.
This leads to my next point.
The best mentors are the ones who have had the experience both good and bad; yes mentors are human too and have probably made a few mistakes in life but chosen to learn and rise from them. Most people seek mentorship from peers; this process can either be consequential or deliberate but it happens a lot.
Of course, we are different as individuals and everyone has something to teach someone, but sometimes the danger with peer mentorship is that it can be misleading since the people involved are at the same level of growth and still experimenting with a lot of things. At the end of the day, peer mentorship usually leads to group-think; a situation where people follow certain paths just because their friends are doing it and not necessarily because they are developing as an individual.
Lastly, it is quite clear that mentorship plays an important role in an individual’s life. And it is rather obvious that there is a lot to gain from a good mentor. The kind of mentor one has can make or break them. And a mentor has the power to influence an individual in ways they may never have imagined—it is one of the strongest relationships a person can have in life. In this respect, mentorship should never be an exploitative whether from the mentor or the mentee, some prefer protégé.
We live in a world where everyone is thinking of a quick catch and focusing on “what’s in it for me” and this affects the mentorship process as well. This is why we see young men getting into shady deals because of connections with some big businessmen, this is why we see young men biting the very same hand that is feeding them because of greed, this is why we hear of superiors demanding sexual favours from young ladies, this is why we find jobs being offered to unqualified people because someone somewhere is pulling manipulative strings.
BUT, mentorship is a noble cause that rewards individually and that is a tool in developing the country at large. This relationship should be based on trust, integrity, foresight and mutual respect. There is a lot of potential in this country that is hungry for the right mentorship.
I rest my case.
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