What do Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and Luke Skywalker have in common?
They have all consulted mentors.
Oprah has paid thousands for the service but is on record as saying that one of her defining mentors was her fourth grade teacher, Mrs Duncan, who helped her not to be afraid of being smart.
“I think mentors are important,” she has said. “Nobody has made it alone.”
The father of the first personal computer to market, Ed Roberts, was an early mentor to Bill Gates.
Gates has said about mentors, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
Luke Skywalker was perhaps the luckiest of the trio, having been mentored by the fabulous Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Alec Guinness, who saved his life and inducted him into the ways of The Force.
My own mentors have been many and varied and have included the wonderful Dr Seuss, my mother, who taught me how to be happy, and my business coach.
The point is, mentors can and are anybody. They can be a pet, a child, a teacher, or someone you have never even met in person.
And they are relationships that you simply cannot force. The mentor and the mentee (yes, this is an actual word and it isn’t a brand of confectionary) choose each other. The relationship can be over in a minute or it can last a lifetime.
Mentoring is something I have been passionate about doing for start-ups and $60 million enterprises alike for many years. I get such a kick out of helping people grow themselves and then their businesses by developing everything from business plans to marketing strategies. But I know I’m not the right mentor for everyone.
This is why I created the Master Mentor Program. Every other month I present this, along with another three fascinating master mentors. The range of topics, has included online marketing, mindfulness, sales, conflict resolution, leadership. The knowledge, networks and sense of fun that are transacted during the program are simply awe-inspiring.
I invite you to my next Master Mentor Program. Visit http://mawaction.com.au/index.php/Gigs/master-mentor-program.html to secure your place, and may the force be with you.
* Mary-Anne is one of Canberra’s best connected business leaders. She kick-started the Australian Science Festival, National Science Week and the ICAN innovation festival, has won countless business awards, is a business mentor, event creator and sought after speaker.