Why have a mentor? Time travel!

I spoke to a group of MBA students earlier this week on mentorship. One of the slides had Why have a mentor? A very good question as we’ve heard mentors are important, and haven’t actually stopped to ask why. My answer might have seemed odd, but it was because of: Time Travel! Let me explain.

If you time travelled, what would you ask future you?

So let’s say you got past the need to ask why find have a mentor, and when you’re 65 you can look back and have a reasonably successful career. Still, you have some things that you could improve. As luck would have it, you find a time machine. The date is locked onto the very day you recalling reading that “why have a mentor” post on focusinspired.com. You hop into the time machine and hit go.

So you look up and see you, well a much more experienced looking version of you: “future-you”. What would you ask “future-you”? Let’s also say that “future-you” read a note in the time machine before they left that they can’t give you lottery numbers. Or tell you what to do, and instead could only say what they did.

Would you ask what they did to be successful in their career? What did they consider before making an important decision? How did they get into industry X?

Well mentors are, in a sense, time travellers. If you picked the right mentor, they could actually me you how ever many years in the future. And with a mentor you actually do have that opportunity to ask those questions to you in the future!

Reducing time

Have you ever spent hours / days figuring out something, only to ask someone and they told you “why didn’t you just do this?” Instead of spending those hours / days decomposing that problem yourself, you could have asked someone and had the answer in minutes. A mentor helps reduce time as well. Asking a mentor the right questions might be the difference of something taking 12 months to do, to the same thing taking 10 or even 2 months to do. And what could you do with an extra 2 or 1o months?

So if you have ever been interested in time travel, consider finding a mentor!


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