Mentorship Can Help Shape Your Life & Business
By: Sandy Saburn, CTIE

Have you had someone who made a difference in your life or business? If so, you know the power of a mentor. A great mentor can make a significant difference in how successful – and happy – you are. Everyone isn’t lucky enough to have a great mentor, and some people don’t even understand the need for one. But I promise you, one of the most powerful tools you can have as an entrepreneur is a mentor.

A mentor isn’t just someone to tell you what to do or explain things to you but to inspire you. Sometimes their greatest role is in teaching, you but sometimes it is listening. Sometimes it is pushing, and sometimes it is letting you remain where you are for a bit.

Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction. – John Crosby

A great mentor pushes you, pulls you, challenges you, and inspires you. It’s not a relationship that is just about giving you homework or giving you praise when you achieve a goal. Sometimes it is about questioning your decisions and making you think on another level. Sometimes your mentor will be focused on encouraging you to change a habit or develop a new one. Every mentor/mentee relationship is unique. The best ones change your life.

A great mentor always seems to know what you need. They know that the same techniques don’t work for everyone. Some people respond well to pushing and others just push back and stay stuck. The ultimate goal is helping you achieve what you want to achieve, not what they want for you.

The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image but allowing them to create themselves. – Steven Spielberg

Entrepreneurs in particular need mentors. Most travel entrepreneurs are working on their own from home, and for that reason, I think mentors are even more important. Mentors are one of the reasons small business incubators have such a high success rate. Instead of being completely on your own while you are building your business, you are in place with in-house mentors who foster brainstorming and collaboration. Isolation is tough for most people and can lead to inertia.

But how exactly do you get a mentor? Some people are fortunate to have one appear in their life. Others hire coaches to serve in that role. A good mentor can be hard to find, but don’t give up! If you are a travel entrepreneur, our Travel MBA program is the perfect place to find a mentor.

One of the best ways to find a mentor is to find someone who is doing something that inspires you. If you love what they are doing and how they are doing it, ask them to mentor you. Don’t be offended if they say no. Some people know they aren’t great mentors. Like anything else in life, all mentors aren’t created equal. You will encounter people in your life who offer to be mentors but aren’t cut out for it. Then other people think a mentor/mentee relationship is more a form of servitude and you end up being their assistant.

You might want to have more than one mentor. Perhaps there is someone who inspires you in social media who isn’t in the travel industry and they can mentor you in that area. Yet another person is doing amazing things with their travel business and they can be a travel mentor.

For many people hiring a coach or mentor is a better option. This is especially true if you are looking for someone with a specific skill set. A good coach will bring you far more value than they cost in fees. It is an investment – not an expense. Before you enroll in a program make sure you know what you are getting. A program where you talk to a different person each time isn’t mentorship, that’s a help desk.

Because consistency and building a relationship is so important, our Travel MBA program has a dedicated mentor. We know it is critical that the mentor gets to know the people in the program and what their goals are to be effective.

If you don’t have a mentor now, start thinking about people who inspire you who might serve in that role. And if you can be a mentor to someone else, you should give back. We all have something to learn and something to teach.