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Self confidence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become self confident, you need to do three things.  1) Become and optimist.  2) Face your fears and act.  3) Surround yourself with positive people. 

Mentors are positive people by definition.  It takes a positive person to give of himself of herself to help another learn, grow and succeed.

The term "mentor" comes from The Odyssey.  Odysseus entrusted the care of his son, Telemachus, to Mentor when he set out to fight the Trojan War.  The best mentors will help you learn and grow by sharing their knowledge and wisdom with you.  In this way, you can benefit from their experience without having to suffer the consequences of gaining that experience firsthand.  

You’re never too old to benefit from a mentoring relationship.  I am 58 years old and I am working with a mentor 20 years younger than me.  I’m working with Mike Litman because he has specialized knowledge I don’t have and I can accelerate my learning, by taking advantage of his knowledge and wisdom.

What makes for a good mentor?  A good mentor…

M  Motivates you do accomplish more than you think you can.

E  Expects the best from you.

N  Never gives up on you or lets you give up on yourself.

T  Tells you the truth – even when it hurts.

O  Occasionally kicks your butt.

R  Really cares about you and your success.

I don’t know about you, but anyone who motivates me, expects the best from me, never gives up on me or lets me give up on myself, tells me the truth, kicks my butt when I need it and really cares about me is a pretty positive person.  I want as many of those kinds of people in my life as I can get.  Mike Litman is one of those people.  That’s why I rely on him.

You can enhance your self confidence by mentoring others.  It’s never too early to become a mentor.  We all have something to give.  The sooner you begin giving the better.  If you’re in college, you can mentor high school students.  If you’re a recent graduate, you can mentor others still in school. 

Mentoring is a great way to serve others.  The more you serve others, the more confidence – and success – will come your way.  Besides that, you’ll find that you’ll grow by mentoring.  As you reflect on your life experiences and distill them into some nuggets that you can share with others your knowledge will become wisdom.

Focus on the person you are mentoring.  Its’ not about you – it’s about him or her.  Accept him or her for who he or she is.  Help him or her proceed at his or her own place.  The best mentoring relationships are guided by the person being mentored. 

Mentoring should be a positive experience for both of you.  Never treating someone you are mentoring as incompetent or incapable.  Rather, think of him or her as someone lacking in experience who needs guidance – exactly where you probably were when you were in his or her shoes.  Don’t criticize.  Help the other person think through the consequences of his or her behavior and to identify more positive ways of handling difficult or troubling situations.

The common sense point here is clear.  Successful people are self confident.  Self confident people surround themselves with positive people.  Mentors, by definition, are positive people.  Find people to mentor you whenever you are engaged in a new activity.  Give back by mentoring others.  The more you surround yourself with positive people, the more self confident you will become.  By being a positive person, you will help others build their self confidence.

That’s my take on mentoring and self confidence.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.