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Mentors Are Not Just Precious, They Are Priceless

Pound for pound, a good mentor delivers greater value than gold. With hindsight, it is very common to find that they are the source of advice that sticks with one for a very long time, sometimes for the rest of one’s life.

Young and exuberant

The young, bright-eyed, mischief-making undergraduate had a way with people (especially the young ladies), even if he was not yet wise to the ways of the world.

His raw understanding of how and why people around him acted the way they did was just that, raw. Undeveloped. Unsophisticated. Unstructured.

But in his youthful exuberance, he knew that there was always a rational explanation of human behaviour. He didn’t just know it, he even saw it everywhere and in everyone. At least, so he thought. Never mind that he couldn’t really properly describe his own emotions and motivations. Nor logically describe his desires and dreams to his ever-increasing circle of lady friends.

It was therefore not particularly surprising that when the time came to decide his Bachelor of Science Degree dissertation topic, he chose to research the biochemical pathways of normal and abnormal behaviour (such as was understood at the time), in agreement with his teacher and de facto academic role model.

Coming of age

That young man almost forty years ago was me. That academic mentor and lecturer later became a well-respected Professor of Psychiatry, University Vice-Chancellor and public advocate of universally available enhanced access to mental health services.

That seed of understanding and logically explaining human emotion and motivation stayed with me, germinated and blossomed into my life-long passion to help people in all walks of life make sense of what moves them, why they make the choices they do.

DoctorThat is why, after graduating as a medical doctor, I chose to focus more on psychiatry. And why even after deciding to do things other than medical practice, I eventually went back to using the science of personality to help businesses connect better with their customers, to dramatically improve sales and communications performance.

Wish I could go back four decades. So I can use what I know now to describe and explain what I was experiencing back then. That my choices were powered by my emerging values***. Simple choices, yet with sometimes fiendishly complicated reasoning and equally significant consequences! But always logical. Always rational? Certainly not!

I really like what am seeing here and…

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My mentor also had his values, as did everyone else. One of the main reasons we got along so well was that we had similar values, or to put it another way, “we spoke the same language”. This congruence of values or speaking the language that the other person can easily understand is not just important in a mentor-mentee relationship, it is absolutely critical for developing and sustaining all relationships.

Crossing knowledge with experience to get wisdom

People’s values determine and drive their choices and behaviours, including their attitude to the products and services your business is providing. So the only sustainable way to form a meaningful relationship with your prospects and customers is to know each person’s specific values and adapt your messages accordingly. It is hard work, but unavoidable.

Anecdotal evidence and science make clear to us how essential it is to gain this valuable insight into the value systems of the people we interact with.

Without this skill-set, every business risks treating all their customers (young, old, small, large, male or female) as if they are all the same shape and size. But since people are different and always prefer to be treated as individuals with differing needs and dispositions, it does not take long for customer-alienation to set it in in such a situation. The perfect recipe for poor business performance and unprofitability.

In four odd decades, my world-view has morphed into what it is today and a significant part of that started with my teacher and mentor giving me advice that has stuck with me since. Without his nudging, my history and that of my world would most likely have been different.

Random quote:

“When you’re a guy and you’re in the hospital and your friends come to visit and they say you look good and ask you if you need anything… That’s when you know for certain you’re going to die.”

— Tom Grimes of Amarillo, President Plenipotentiary of The Royal Society of Worthless Bastards

The benefit I derived from my mentor was not just academic, he opened my eyes to what was possible in my world. I got to realise that there really was nothing that could stop me, if I remained focussed on the important things. In a sense, he inspired me without needing to say very much to me directly. He did not even have to specifically advise me to avoid certain mistakes because he had walked that road before. I readily absorbed the necessary lessons from watching him do things or sometimes even just being around him.

On so many occasions, my mentor helped me shape and reshape my future and it is fair to say that I probably would not be where I am today but for his advice and general influence. For me, he was worth more than gold. He was priceless!

#AdviceThatSticks #WhereWouldWeBeWithourOurMentors #MentorsArePriceless

  • What are your experiences of mentors?
  • Are they really priceless?
  • Has any given you advice that you found relevant or useful long afterwards?

 

***Postscript:
There is neither space nor time to go into this fully here, but it is good to have an idea of a scientifically validated methodology that I use to help businesses understand their prospects, customers, staff, suppliers and investors.

To crack your own personality code and discover the link between values and customer buying behaviour, go to www.CodeMyValues.com.

 

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