When I first started my photography career, I didn’t realize the benefit of having a mentor who was in this business. I have since realized several very important things about why having one is such a valuable thing, especially in a creative business such as photography.
- Mentors have been in your shoes. They know where you are coming from and where you have the potential to go. They know how to grab their boot straps and carry on, lifting themselves and others up one step or one day at a time.
- Mentors can guide you, especially when you ask questions, towards greater growth and expanding your potential. They may not know what you don’t know which is why asking questions is so important for your growth.
- Mentors are usually at a point further along in their career than you are and therefore able to inspire you by their own business acumen.
- Mentors enable you to laugh at your mistakes without making you feel like throwing in the towel.
- Mentors (or at least good ones) encourage you to put your best foot forward even when you don’t feel much like it and even when you don’t want to. This enables you to get past obstacles you see as standing in your way when really they are just hurdles you are jumping on your climb to the top of your game.
- Mentors applaud you for your successes and don’t think you’re a fool when you fail. This one is critical, because if they are putting you down then they aren’t your mentor at all even if they have more or better experience than you do and even if they are where you want to be.
- And last, great mentors are so excited when you move past them and need to seek another mentor who can make you want to reach even further. They are your biggest champions and some of your biggest fans.
So take the time to seek out a mentor – find someone you admire and follow them on social media, comment on their blog posts (not just on Facebook) and send them a message asking if they would be willing to mentor you. Be understanding if they simply don’t have time – they have a life and a business to run also so they may not have time to take on another mentee. But it will make a big difference in your lives when you find the right mentor.