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Don't you know who you are? The Power of having a Mentor

Updated: Jul 16, 2019

The Johari Window

(Image adapted from McShane, et al. 2016)

There are things about me, that I know, that you know. There are things about me, that I know that you don’t know, and there are also things about me that I don’t know, that you know, and I don’t know. It’s called the Johari Window, a model of mutual understanding that encourages disclosure and feedback to increase our own open area and reduce the blind, hidden and unknown areas (McShane, et al. 2016).

The question is this: how do we uncover the unknown areas, that we don’t know about, that others do know about?

The bottom line is that you need a mentor, someone who is willing to guide you, who can observe what you’re doing, in life and in business. The best kind of mentor is someone who has achieved what you want to achieve, someone who has the experience. You see, someone who has the experience, will never be at the mercy of someone with a theory. You could pay anyone out there, with the current market saturated with ‘life coaches’ and that’s not really what we’re talking about here.

What we’re talking about is this: the fact that you really need to find that one person who you can model, and that kind of relationship is generally earned, not bought. The classic example is the Karate Kid movie, where the young disciple is not entitled to the mentorship, they earn it. The answer to that is, when the student is ready to learn, the teacher will appear. If you’re not quite sure where your mentor is, maybe you need to take a look at your inner self first and understand whether or not you’re actually ready to learn, grow and prosper into the person you know you have the potential to be. You have to be willing, and able, to change and sometimes that’s no easy task.

The issue we often see here is - it’s not really the answer you’re really looking for is it? And why do you think that is?

It’s because most often people are looking for something that is easy, something that doesn’t take a lot of effort. The fact of reality is that when you pay for something, you switch your psychology to ‘I’m entitled to that now’, but in reality, how many people do you know who have a gym membership, but don’t look like Arnold? You’re absolutely kidding yourself to think just because you paid for the membership, that you’re going to transform. You have to think beyond the product, the end-state, from which you currently need to change from, in order to get to. Think more about your ‘why’, and understand that in order for you to grow, you’ll need to be humble enough to ask someone for their help to uncover perhaps what you never knew about yourself, but which will ultimately lead to your greatest successes in life and beyond with the right mentor.

So where to from here?

We suggest you use this article as a prompt, seek first to understand your why, then seek to uncover what it is you need to do, in order to achieve your true potential. Find someone whom you respect, someone you can model for your own success, seek them out, earn their trust and respect, and develop a mentoring relationship in exchange for your humility in order for you to grow to be the person you have the potential to be.

At Critical Alpha, we wish you all the best in your future endeavours.


McShane, S., Olekalns, M., Newman, A., & Travaglione, T. (2016). Organizational behavior: Emerging knowledge, global insights. (5th ed). North Ryde, N.SW: McGraw-Hill

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