Why you need a mean mentor

The best mentor isn’t the one that kindly guides and supports you. What you really want is someone who scares the bejesus out of you.

If you’re a young, aspiring entrepreneur who is a little overwhelmed getting your business off the ground, you’ve probably fantasized about finding the perfect mentor. This seasoned pro would recognize your potential, introduce you to the right people, set you on the fast track to success and, let’s face it, boost your ego and your confidence.

Entrepreneurs’ daydreams of this nurturing, Yoda-like mentor may be as natural as school girls mooning over Justin Bieber, but it’s still entirely wrong, according to a recent post on the HBR blogs by author and training pro Jodi Glickman. In it, Glickman, references Patty, the merciless voice coach on American Idol, and suggests that what young folks with start-up dreams really need is a mentor who scares the bejesus out of them:

  • As a rookie, you’re not necessarily supposed to know anything, anyway. All you’ve got is your good attitude, your enthusiasm and a strong work ethic. And when you’re new to a job, people expect you to have bumps and bruises along the way as you move up the learning curve. You also want to take that drubbing now so that you avoid it later on (when your ego takes more of a bruising, when the thought of an 80-hour workweek and simultaneous childcare makes your stomach turn, or when you think you’re simply too old to take that kind of treatment from someone else). So take advantage of that early grace period and test the waters, take risks, put yourself in harm’s way so that when the stakes are higher and you’re not allowed to mess up, you’re uber-qualified and up to whatever task comes your way. You don’t need to be a masochist to really get out there and try your mettle — and learn a lot.

…to read this article in full, visit leading US small business resource, Inc.

Related Stories