Written by: Tanja Bogataj, M.Sc., Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Contemplating my path and the impact that different mentors had on me and my journey, it brought to the surface feelings of deep gratitude and appreciation. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving. I came out with 7 lessons that I’ve learned from mentors and mentorship. I hope they can serve you as an inspiration to contemplate your journey and as empowerment to share your learned lessons further. You might not be awarded or applauded for your journey and your learned lessons. However, you might be the one who has importantly helped someone else on their journey. With that, your impact multiplies and creates the value you otherwise couldn’t create.
Lesson 1 | It’s a two-way gift exchange that changes both
Mentorship is a relationship between a mentor and a mentee and a mentee and a mentor. It’s a relationship and exchange between two individuals, who choose to commit to this mentoring relationship, and who actively participate and co-create the relationship, experience and impact. Mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor, someone whom you can go to while facing certain challenges, searching for answers on your path or when you need advise. It’s someone you can share your journey of learning and growing. It’s someone who’s been there before you, either in a certain situation, a certain profession, achieving a certain goal, or having a certain experience. Our mentors are often people who’ve done something we are still learning and wantingto experience or achieve. They might not have the oﬃcial “mentor” title, which doesn’t make their teaching and impact any less relevant or impactful.
Living more aware life, learning from mentors and mentorship:
We probably agree that the majority of things in life, also how to best live our life, can be learned only by having our own experience. Having mentors, those who are more experienced than us in something, whom we can trust, who openly share stories, lessons, ideas and advice with us, is another priceless and impactful way of learning about life and living in general and can help us significantly on our life journey.
Reflect on your life path. Who has impacted you? Who do you call a mentor? Can you recall a lesson that you’ve learned from one or more of your mentors?
Lesson 2 | Mentors open doors into the new world
Similar to coaching, it’s also in a mentoring relationship that we enter the intimate space of one another. We enter the area where we can impact another life, and where we can be impacted by another life. It’s a new and unique experience, and we never know what gift is waiting for us to be unpacked, exchanged and received. I call mentors also the ‘door-openers.’ They are opening the doors of our minds and our heart, helping us gain a new or deeper understanding, providing us an opportunity for a different experience a new/different perspective on the situation. Sometimes they can help us with one thought, one idea, one shared story that can provide the opportunity for a shift, and that a new horizon, new world of possibility opens up for us to explore further. As Mandela said, ’Never too young to lead, never too old to learn.’ it’s with mentoring experience. We are sometimes in a role of a leader and sometimes in a role of a follower. We teach something, and we learn something. We share a gift, and we receive a gift. it’s always co-creating, and we have different roles to play, and different skills to practice. One skill that we practice in this kind of relationship is stretching one's comfort zone by being in the beginner’s mindset and being open to learn in a new, creative way.
Living more aware life, learning from mentors and mentorship:
If we want to learn something new, we need to make some room and availability so that we can receive. We need to make sure that we are not in our way, and that we practice presence, stay open to different ideas and approaches, and that we put in the work that it’s needed.It takes commitment, perseverance and practice. One way how we can help ourselves getting in the giving and receiving state, is by using the following #bepowerfulandfree® exercise:
Spend few minutes contemplating on your life journey and some key milestones along the way.
Use the poem “With arms wide open” by Creed as your inspiration:
“Well, I just heard the news today
It seems my life is going to change
I close my eyes, begin to pray Then tears of joy stream down my face
With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I'll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open”
Recall one situation from your life, when you had a mentor who helped you through most challenging situations, or you wished you had a mentor that could help you through.
Write your own poem or message of encouragement as you’d be that wise mentor now, and share it with someone that might need this kind of support right now.
Don’t say, I don’t know anyone, I don’t know how, …Be resourceful, be determined, and stand in a possibility of someone whom you can help on thier journey.
Lesson 3 | Mentors can help you unlock your learning and growing potential
I often call my teachers, especially when I meet them, “my guru”. It’s with respect and appreciation, not because I’d know in advance what they’ll teach me, but it’s the inner knowing and appreciation of the importance of this meet-up as a mutual exchange opportunity. The following is the excerpt from my blog post “Out of the Passiveness into the Empowered Humanity”: “If we look at our power or potential powerlessness from this perspective, we can realize that there is a huge potential in every one of us, and in all of us together. If we just unlock it by being more aware of our own power, our own role, and our common goal, and to take an active part in our society, and its present and future, we could create so much better quality of living, for us, and for generations to come.”
Living more aware life, learning from mentors and mentorship: It’s important to keep discernment about what’s your life and where you’re leading it, and how others can help you along the way. Mentors, coaches, teachers and leaders can help us unlock the endless potential in us, and they can also share their vulnerability with us. You can use this #bepowerfulandfree® exercise below to identify and transform 3 of your “passiveness” into your “empowered action”:
I. I’m passive at... (role/action/relationship/area of your life). My empowered action in this regard is... Who can help me as a mentor to achieve this?…
II. I’m passive at...(role/action/ relationship/area of your life). My empowered action in this regard is… Who can help me as a mentor to achieve this?… III. I’m passive at........................ (role/action/relationship/area of your life).
My empowered action in this regard is …………………………. Who can help me as a mentor to achieve this? …………………………………
Lesson 4 | Why struggle alone, if you can thrive together
You know the African proverb, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”? Mentoring and mentors can help us navigate our individuality and togetherness. That doesn’t mean we need to feel lonely and struggling, it just means that some things we need to do on our own, by ourselves, or for ourselves, and some we can create and achieve together with others. Regardless of which is which, it’s important that we are and can be part of different communities, and that we create and nurture our own support system.
Living more aware life, learning from mentors and mentorship: “All creation simultaneously contains subsystems (mind/body/spirit) while being part of increasing larger systems, like family, community, society, nature etc. For the entire ecosystem to be healthy and whole, the yin-yang balance needs to be maintained within and between systems. I understand that nature has a tendency towards balance, but what kind of balance we create among ourselves as individuals, our environments ‒ private, professional, public, and within our society? How do these interconnections work, where I stop and you begin? How much are we influenced by the environment, and how much we influence our environment? What is then my/our true authentic power in this? How much of our authenticity we can handle, accept, and truly live?” (Excerpt from my blog post Impacting and Being Impacted by, May 2018) Additional exercise to contemplate on:
My comfort zone is ….
My discomfort zone is ….
What am I willing to do about it?
Lesson 5 | Who / What do you need?
“When student is ready, a teacher appears.
When student is really ready, teacher disappears.”
Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni
Some mentors you’ll meet in pre-designed mentoring programs, and some will be brought on your path by life and what you’re pursuing in your life. The more we are open to exploring and get aware about ourselves, our life, and what we’d like to create and leave
behind, the more we attract ‘the right people in our life ‒ those who have a message, a key, a lesson, and an experience or whatever is needed to be exchanged. I’ve recently read two books that I recommend in this regard. One is by business coach Evelin van Es, Be relentlessly yourself, And Take on life, and the other is by leadership guru, teacher and coach Marshall Goldsmith, The Earnedlife. They both help you go on your life journey reflection, offer some tools to use along the way, and guide you to identify what you need and want next, and where to search for answers.
Living more aware life, learning from mentors and mentorship: Regardless who you choose to be your mentor, keep the discernment. There’s no one else who knows more about you and your life than you do. And no one else needs to live and fulfil your life purpose, only you. Be a leader of your life. Be open to learn. Be courageous and compassionate enough to explore and go fully in. Be decisive about who you let in your inner circle, and be humble and grateful to all of those who impacted you and helped you to learn and grow, to create and live in a better way. Observe your life as it shows. Observe what /who’s leaving, what’s changing and transforming, who has recently entered your life, and what’s now emerging. Few questions to contemplate on:
If you can choose anyone on this planet to be your mentor, who would you choose?
If your soul is choosing your next mentor, who do you need?
If your life is choosing your next mentor, who’s leaving/joining your team?
Who’s in your support team now? Is anyone missing? What’s needed from you as a leader to support your team?
Are you in anyone’s support system? What’s your role?
Lesson 6 | To learn from others talk less and ask more
To support this lesson, I don’t want to lose too many words explaining the importance of it. I rather invite you to get inspired and curious about what you’d want to know, from whom you’d like to learn, or who can help you with your challenges and goals?
“To learn from each other we need to be willing – willing to be vulnerable, open, opposed, exposed, challenged, reinvented, over and over again, and again. Here’swhere our hearts come to surface and show her/his/our real power – truth. Being loving or something else, empowering or something else, inspiring or something else, trusting or something else. I could go on and on since it’s just the expression of love and fear in its core, for whatever reason or purpose.”(Excerpt form my blog post One standing in a possibility of another, May 2019) Living more aware life, learning from mentors and mentorship:
Schedule some time in your everyday routine to learn from others. Here are 2 Mind- stretching sessions that I’ve created with a group of leaders, mentors and coaches so you can learn from their wins and losses, and from their experiences of working with many people:
on Empowered by 2021, Inspired for 2022 with guests (December 2021);
Create a list of people you’d like to learn from. Create a list of questions you’d like to receive answers to. Be open to share with others what you’ve learned so far.
Lesson 7 | Keep giving back
This article was inspired by my reflection on mentorship and mentors, while coordinating an event withinG100-Mission Million Initiative where I’m in the role of a country chair for mentoring and motivation. The event was titled “Co-creating the future we want to live in,” and one of the focus topics was the role of mentoring and mentorship for personal and professional development and for the cross-gender and cross-generational collaboration. I’ve experienced the preparation of the event and the event itself together with some of my mentors, which made it for me even more precious experience as it would be without them.
“You know, you do need mentors, but in the end, you really just need to believe in yourself.” – Diana Ross
Living more aware life, learning from mentors and mentorship: Contemplating on my path and the impact that different mentors had on me and my journey, it brought to the surface feelings of deep gratitude and appreciation. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving. I came out with these 7 lessons that I’ve learned from mentors and mentorship. I hope they can serve you as an inspiration to contemplate on your journey and as empowerment to share your learned lessonsfurther. We might not be awarded or applauded for our journey and learned lessons. However, we might be the ones who has importantly helped someone else on their journey, and with that our impact multiplies and we create the value we otherwise couldn’t create. Here are 7 out of many of my mentors’ thoughts of wisdom and encouragement that I’m happy to share with you:
“It’s never so bad, that it can’t be worse, and it’s never so great, that it can’t be even better.”
“Slow down, so you can catch up and walk with life.”
“ I believe in you. I know you can do it. The question is if you believe in you? Do you?”
“Path is made by walking the path. Learn and grow while you’re walking.”
“I can’t choose for you. No one can choose for you. We might try, but it’s not ours. It’s your life. You’re living it. You choose. I’ll do my best to support you along the way.”
“I celebrate you and I celebrate with you. You’re a gift to the world. I’m here when and as you need me.”
“Everyone needs to make some heartfelt decisions. We all have one life to live, and 24 hours per day. We need to say to some people and projects“yes,” and to some “no.”
Tanja Bogataj, M.Sc., Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Tanja Bogataj, M.Sc. (www.tanjabogataj.com | firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Leadership Coach and Consultant, Founder of the #bepowerfulandfree® approach, Host of #bepowerfulandfree Platform, Founder and CEO of the Power for Change Institute. Tanja’s motto “In the world where you can be anything, choose to #bepowerfulandfree while making a difference”.
Sources and References:
Evelien Van Es, Be Relentlessly Yourself And, Take On Life!, Motivation Champs Publishing US, 2021;
Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter, The Earned Life, Published by Currency, 2022;
Tanja Bogataj, blog post, #bepowerfulandfree Platform, One standing in a possibility of another, May 2019;
Tanja Bogataj, blog post, #bepowerfulandfree Platform, Impacting and Being Impacted by, May 2018;
Mind-stretching #bepowerfulandfree® session on Empowered by 2021, Inspired for 2022 with guests, TBC Youtube Channel, December 2021;
Mind-stretching #bepowerfulandfree® session on Diversity & Inclusion for Success with #G100 global leaders and mentors Linda Pereira, Mireille Toulekima and Yanire Braña, TBC Youtube Channel, May 2022;