What Can Your Mentor Teach You? Finding Success at Work

While I’m talking with inspirational speaker John O’Leary on Episode 089 of Productivity this week, who has easily become a mentor to so many through his best-selling authorship, to his podcast, interviews and other speaking engagements… I thought I’d expand on the idea of finding a mentor to help you in your pursuit of success in the workplace.

Before we get into what our mentor(s) can teach us, though, I want to share the many different kinds of mentors that we can find in nearly all facets of our lives.

Mentors can include: teachers, parents, siblings, bosses, coworkers, friends, our significant others, coaches, trainers, and so on and so forth… and while those roles are obviously very different for all of us, and our relationship with them can be just as complex, I like to think that the mentors we choose in our lives play a central role in our contentment and in the success that we can find at home or at work.

Across the board, mentors typically have similar characteristics, including: a willingness to share their experience, advice, or knowledge; a genuine, caring mindset; the capability to provide constructive feedback (no matter what); and, perhaps best of all… Most mentors are keen on continuing to grow themselves as individuals, which is often incredibly inspiring and powerful in and of itself.

So, what can our mentors teach us? Let’s jump in and find out!


What Your Mentor Can Teach You

1. Tough Love—

One of the biggest things that your mentor can teach you is “tough love.” When I think about tough love, I essentially think of constructive criticism and calling someone out on their silliness when it’s necessary. A great mentor can dish out honest advice, no matter how blunt it may be, and they can inspire us to keep going even when the going gets rough…

Because, let’s be honest: Not all days are sunshine and rainbows, right? This is especially true for those of you that already know John O’Leary’s story from Episode 089 of the podcast.

It’s important that we learn to roll with the punches and to pick ourselves up from the ground each and every time we get knocked down. A great mentor can help you to do exactly that so that no matter what happens, you feel comfortable and confident enough to just keep going.


2. Better Communication—

If your mentor is someone that you actively bounce ideas off of and that you are in constant contact with (a friend, co-worker, etc.) then chances are, your communication skills are going to improve fairly steadily over the years – which is huge when it comes to being effective in the workplace and in finding the success you want in your career.


3. How to Develop Your Skills + Knowledge—

Mentors are so great when it comes to helping you to identify the skills and expertise you might need to succeed at work. They could teach you what you need to know, or they could provide valuable advice on where to go for the information that you need in order to move forward.


4. New Ways of Thinking—

Mentors make great sounding boards, and it’s always a great idea to bounce any ideas you might have off of someone that you trust. The more you open yourself up to your mentor, and the more you share your thoughts, goals and other plans… the more likely it will be for you to develop new ways of thinking, as well as new ideas on how to make your goals a reality.


5. Business Etiquette + How to Present Yourself—

If your mentor is someone you work with or even someone you have seen around the office from afar, then chances are you have already taken a few mental notes on their presentation in the workplace… And that can be so helpful, especially when it comes to “dressing for success” and making necessary moves as you continue to work your way up the career ladder.

Remember: Fake it until you make it (so the saying usually goes!) and pay close attention to the people in your life that you admire, and to what they have to teach you so that you can learn how to be the successful person you might imagine yourself to be in the future.



Who are the mentors in your life, and what are some of the things that they have taught you along the way?

Share your stories in the comments below… And check out Episode 089 of Productivity Paradox with guest speaker John O’Leary this week to learn all about John’s story and the importance of shifting your perspective no matter what you have going on so that you can cultivate happiness and find the success that you want to see for yourself in the future.



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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton