You read about every successful person and one essential factor to their success is the role mentors play in their respective lives. The rule of thumb was to find a person with more professional experience in your field (typically older) who offers you career guidance, advice and assistance from a real-world point-of-view. For this relationship to work, there needs to some sort of back and forth interactions between the mentor and the mentee.
This old mentor-mentee relationship usually entails establishing specifics around both mentor and mentee’s schedule. Meetings were either formal or informal, and information was often exchanged for critique or discussion. Growing up in Nigeria in the 90s, I cannot claim to have had an abundance of mentors. In fact, aside from sports personalities it was a challenge to identify world class professionals from this part of the world. The very few from this part of the world were so elite, it was practically impossible to establish constant interactions with these class of professionals.
That said, since the beginning of the twenty-first century, two main factors have changed the traditional mentor-mentee relationship. Foremost, there is a growing inter-disciplinary nature of the general populace. Professional growth is not necessarily linear these days. People change career paths and are more open to pursuing their interests and convert those interest into careers. For instance, your college professor could be a fitness coach when he is not tutoring, your bank teller may run an online book club and own a coffee shop on the side.
Secondly, the growth and popularity of social media has made it easy for both potential mentors and mentee to circulate valuable information. For this reason, the need to create personal interaction with ones potential mentor is diminished, since you have constant access to their work and personal life through social media. Hence, the traditional mentors are being replaced by role models.
Myself for one, I am a Sports-Business Researcher with interest in screen writing, comedy, fitness, politics and reading. My “traditional mentor” is Sports- Sociologist, Professor John David Horne.
John Horne. Author, co-author, editor and co-editor of numerous books, edited collections, journal articles and book chapters on sport and leisure in society. He was made a Trustee and Deputy Publications Director of the British Sociological Association in 2013.
Having said that, I have a few role models who have informed my various interests. Aaron Sorkin,
Screenwriter, producer, and playwright. Works include the Broadway plays A Few Good Men and The Farnsworth Invention; the television series Sports Night, The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and The Newsroom; and the films A Few Good Men, The American President, Charlie Wilson's War, The Social Network, Moneyball and Steve Jobs.
Journalist, author, and speaker. He has written five books, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (2009), a collection of his journalism, and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (2013). He is also the host of the podcast Revisionist History.
Political activist, businessman, columnist, and political commentator. Uygur is the main host and co-founder of the The Young Turks (TYT), an American liberal/progressive political and social commentary program.
Stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and pod caster. Featured in Breaking Bad and The Heat. Also creator of Netflix animated sitcom F Is for Family. His stand-up specials include; Emotionally Unavailable, Why Do I Do This? Let It Go, You People Are All The Same, I'm Sorry You Feel That Way and Walk Your Way Out. Burr also presents The Monday Morning podcast and the Thursday Afternoon Monday Morning Podcast weekly.
Author of five New York Times bestselling books. The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Lying, Waking Up, and Islam and the Future of Tolerance (with Maajid Nawaz). Harris also presents The Waking Up podcast.
and Chimamanda Adichie.
Author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, The Thing Around Your Neck (story collection) and Americanah.
Fortunately, access to their works has informed some of my decisions. On a number of occasions, I have had to tackle issues by asking; what would Cenk do? What would Sam do? What would Malcolm or Chinamanda write here? What would Aaron do? What would Bill do (or say in Bill’s case)?
And while we are on the topic, allow me to prescribe some role models .
Charlamagne tha God
Symone D Sanders
So let us raise our glasses
to our “traditional mentors”. You have chosen to see the world beyond yourselves. Your time, patience and tolerance of us is shaping the world.
to our role models, keep raising the bar, we are watching, and we intend to raise it even higher.
and finally, to the mentee. Keep crawling towards knowledge. Soon, you will walk in wisdom.