Why is mentorship important – and how to find a mentor for you?

Adventure movies, more often than not, focus only on the hero’s journey. But can you imagine any of those missions without the hero’s guide? It may be a famed magician, an ancient all-knowing professor, or a higher being that knows all answers – but either way, they are always there. Their participation goes from inviting the hero to the adventure to helping them decipher unreadable maps and gathering more people for their team.

It said that art imitates life – which may be right since mentors exist for different areas of one’s life. Especially in periods of your life where many changes happen simultaneously or when you have more questions than viable answers, having someone to look up to and support you is very helpful. 

A mentorship relationship is based on trust, accountability, and growth – your mentor, a more experienced person in whichever area you choose to receive support, will surely offer sound advice, connections, and structure; but you, as a mentee – are in the center of the development aimed with mentorship, and should be willing to work with your mentor to find the best decisions and overcome challenges.

This exchange of knowledge and experience works both ways: and that is one of the highlights of joining a mentorship program, either as a mentor or a mentee. The mentorship acknowledges that each experience is individual, and adding them – as opposed to a more classical “teaching” structure – is much more useful and results in better insights and actions. The mentors can update themselves and see different perspectives by creating a bond with an individual with a fresh perspective (and dreams without many restrictions).

Lina Herrera, one of the managers of the Mentorship Program at LALA, explains that for her, “the mentorship program is about empowering mentees to create impactful relations with people from multiple countries, backgrounds, and professions that will help them in their professional and personal development. This way, they can receive support in facing challenges, solving problems, and creating opportunities for themselves!”

Paloma Ribeiro,  also one of the program’s managers, adds that mentorship ”is a way to be inspired and to strengthen your dreams while learning how to make good decisions and think about your next steps, whether career or personal. It’s an amazing way to meet people who are really good at what they do and contribute to their network!”

Just like in the movies, your mentor won’t necessarily give you direct answers all the time – they will build with you and, for you, challenge your capacity! Still not sure if mentorship can help you? Here are some of its benefits, no matter what is your primary goal or aspiration:

  • An understating space: having a dedicated parcel of your time to build your projects and talk about them will make everything happen in a smother way;
  • Gathering meaningful network: you will be able to connect with your mentor’s web of support and work with professionals in your area;
  • Receiving Feedback: receiving an outsider’s view of your goals and actions and an opinion different from yours (biased) may be able to improve and change your ideas;
  • Accountability: working on your own sometimes needs more structure. Having other people orbiting your projects can create a more profound sense of purpose and, therefore, of responsibility;
  • Encouragement and support:  Gandolf and Dumbledore, besides doing most of the work and speaking enigmatically, were there to ensure their mentees felt empowered enough to take risks and transform their circumstances. Likewise, your mentor will support you.

Thankfully, you don’t have to wait for a famous mage to knock on your door to have a mentor – LALA can help you! LALA is a non-profit institution that aims to find, connect and develop the young leaders of the regions – giving them access to programs that build skills in leadership, entrepreneurship, social innovation, social-emotional learning, and critical thinking. One of the programs offered in LALA is the Mentorship one: You can find a mentor (either for your plans or your professional/educational aspirations)! Check out more about this initiative here.

Are you a young Latin American who wants to connect with incredibly talented and purpose-driven youth and is passionate about changing your surroundings? If yes, we invite you to apply for our Leadership Camps from June 1st to July 10th here!

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