It is strange that so many people don’t really know how much they know. They don’t realize how much their knowledge benefits the people around them, their children, peers, co-workers… People hide so much knowledge from the world around them in their day to day lives. It always makes me wonder what could be if there was a way for more people to learn from others outside of their own network. We become a combination of the people that are around us the most. Which means we should be actively seeking to break down barriers and find excellent mentors.
Find People Smarter Than You
This often goes against the grain. It seems straightforward, but it almost goes against our nature to find and work with people who outwork, outsmart, and are brilliant than yourself. You should embrace it. We should all be seeking those people out. The most ideal scenario would be for you to be the one who knows the least in the room. It is uncomfortable. Actively seek out people who inspire you to be better.
Find People Different Than You
Often, working with individuals with backgrounds different than your own equates to working with people smarter than you. When people have different experiences than you, it can immediately take you out of your comfort zone and reveal how little you know about the subject matter. Embrace it. This is something that I think is the most underutilized approach. People so often look to find groups of people that are similar to themselves or they are slow to welcome others different from their current group.
You Are Capable of Learning Anything
When things become difficult to understand outside your area of expertise it is easy to tune it out and stop listening. It is important that we fight that urge to shut down. We should be constantly pushing ourselves to learn and understand different topics and points of view.
Finding Real Mentors
Why aren’t there more mentorship opportunities available? Why is it so difficult to find excellent mentors when you don’t already have connections through friends or family? I don’t think there is a great answer to this, but it is often difficult to trust others. So many people don’t follow through on the things they say. Mentors also have to be careful with who they let in their circles of trust. Breaking down those barriers requires being genuine, kind, trustworthy, reliable, dedicated, and being excellent. Working for free, following through, and over delivering is what it takes to show others that you are serious about the relationship.