What is an apprentice?
Apprentice: A beginner, a learner.
Mentoring and Apprenticing is Masterminding.:
An apprentice is someone who acknowledges his or her need for information on a particular subject and then actively seeks it out.
Life has always been about learning. We spend a great deal of time allowing ourselves to be influenced in order to learn things that will help us make better decisions, behave more appropriately, satisfy our curiosity, or fulfill needs. Each of us learns in unique ways, but everyone learns. It’s something we do naturally.
This innate talent makes us all apprentices. As apprentices we can take advantage of something else we do often: connect with other people. Humans are social creatures. When we interact with other people, we have opportunities to learn and grow.
The information age has made much of the need for lifelong learning—and rightly so. As we continually move toward an information and service-based economy, we must consciously and continually expand our knowledge as well as discover new ways to simply find and organize information. In many respects, the mentor–apprentice relationship ideally suits the demands of this environment.
Anyone who’s ever typed in a keyword search on the Internet can tell you that the potential number of hits for that word can number in the thousands or millions. The mentor–apprentice relationship can resemble the advanced search function on the Internet. Mentors can help us refine our search in order to find what we need more quickly.
But mentors are more than a sophisticated search engine. Because they have experience with the issues that confront us, they can help us analyze the potential outcomes of different options so we can make decisions that best suit our needs. In this respect, they are like good friends who provide support, comfort, and assurance as we make difficult decisions and analyze our options in an ever-changing complicated life.
At findamentor.org we believe mentors can guide us through the labyrinth of information we confront each day and help us make decisions with a greater degree of comfort and confidence. Think for a moment about how you reached the point in life you’re at right now. You arrived at this precise moment because of a chain of decisions you made. Had you made different decisions, you would be in a different situation right now.
Perhaps, overall, you’re happy with the decisions you’ve made. Perhaps you want to more consciously direct your life in order to reach specific goals. Whatever the motivation, when we have a strong desire to reach specific goals, we will at some point need the assistance of others.
The difference between understanding that we need the help of others and acknowledging that we could use the assistance of a mentor, is very small but very important. The first scenario we often do without much thought about long-term goals and specific results. The second scenario is for those of us who want more consistent, goal-oriented advice.
When making a business decision that seems complicated, I consult people who have experience with situations like the one I am encountering. I value the words of people who have faced making similar decisions in similar situations.
While building a cellular telephone business, I consulted two people for every major decision I made. I consider both of them business mentors. One was three years older than me, and the other was fifteen years older. Neither was in the cellular phone business, but both were extremely effective and successful business people.
When having difficulty relating with someone or communicating about a particular issue, I consult a different mentor—an expert communicator. She is the same age as me but has better communications skills.
I use mentors because I trust their opinions on the matters at hand, but it doesn’t mean I seek their advice for every aspect of my life. I have yet to meet someone that I am willing to let influence me in every respect.
We can have many mentors. No one person has all the answers. Several mentors can provide several different perspectives. Often this variety of viewpoints is advantageous. Sometimes, however, too many opinions confuse us. Sometimes we don’t want anyone else’s opinion before making a decision. We’re willing to live with the consequences of acting on our own intuition. Mentors are useful to an extent that we alone determine.
At findamentor.org, we offer people the opportunity to take a more active role in deciding their futures. We do not believe the mentor–apprentice relationship must be scripted for measurable outcomes that do not acknowledge the needs of the whole person.
We do believe that each mentor–apprentice relationship is unique and that each participant is motivated by the need to learn or the need to share experience in order to facilitate learning. There are, however, some guidelines for receiving the greatest benefit from the mentor–apprentice relationship.
GOOD APPRENTICES . . .
- Desire a mentor-apprentice environment that is safe, comfortable and built on trust.
- Have a strong desire to learn.
GOOD APPRENTICES WILL . . .
- Ask many questions.
- Practice listening.
- Answer questions truthfully. When the truth is withheld, even a little, the information provided by mentors may be different than it is when the whole truth is shared.
- Challenge what they hear and see.
- Filter information consciously before accepting it as true and right for them.
- Respect mentors' desire to help.
- Respect mentors' need for privacy and their time constraints.
We are all apprentices. We all have something to learn. We also are all mentors. We all have experiences to share. We are all networking. Is your net catching the information necessary to take you where you want go?
Thanks for reading.