On finding a good mentor – for teens

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Entrepreneurial Strategies for Success

The Business of Life Series

Produced in association withlotto_logo






Topic: Shape who you are

 Why it is important to seek mentors in the pursuit of career and academic goals

If we believe that others and our past control our destiny, then we are helpless puppets motivated by fear.

Banana Moments

Banana Moments

The truth is that life is a series of choices, and at any time we can change our lives for better or for worse through these choices, big and small every day.

This from Mr. Everitt’s Secret: What I learned from the World’s Richest Man, by Alan Cohen.  p.55


“There are two ways you can change your life…You can change your environment or you can change your mind. Sometimes you can change your environment. Always you can change your mind. It’s the one thing you always have power over. Successful people find ways to shine right where they are.” 


Photo: Rob Boudon (Flickr)

Photo: Rob Boudon (Flickr)

Support for good choices is the company you keep.

If you are hanging out with people who are not making the choices that support your goals and dreams, then you are not set up for success. You will likely become distracted.

 One strategic way to ensure that your choices reflect your goals and objectives is to find a mentor.

 Dr. Susan Weinberger, President of the Mentor Consulting Group,  is an expert on mentoring. She says that mentors are important to help you identify and achieve your purpose, and fulfill your dreams.

 Mentor “Support” Role                           

  • Non-judgmental                                           
  • Do not impose beliefs                                      
  • Do not monitor and supervise                           
  • Cheer leader for your activities

Mentors are encouraging. They listen to your heart’s desires and they help you by providing guidance and clarification of your goals and objectives. They help you affirm your talents, skills and objectives.

Photo: J.C. Rojas (Flickr)

Photo: J.C. Rojas (Flickr)










“You should first decide what interests and qualities you would like a mentor to possess. What kind of personality would best match yours. Then make sure that a mentor is caring, patient, a good listener, willing to commit to the relationship, be an advocate and more than anything else, likes kids.” Dr. Mentor (Susan Weinberger)


A mentor does not tell you what to think, but helps you think clearly about what really matters. Good mentors help you achieve your objectives, and remain behind the scenes. They listen and they help you find your direction by offering advice based upon personal experience and wisdom.

Dr. Susan Weinberger, the Mentor Doctor

Dr. Susan Weinberger, the Mentor Doctor

Dr. Weinberger points to the Michael Oher story in the movie, The Blind Side, as an excellent example of informal mentoring. ” The Tuohy family never went through a criminal background check, nor did they have assistance from an organization or agency with their mentoring,” said Weinberger, which she notes is essential for a non-profit to succeed as a formal mentoring resource, such as Big Brothers and Sisters.

 Weinberger likens The Blind Side example to that of a neighbor who offers a listening ear with milk and cookies, so did the “Tuohys offer Michael their heart and their hand in a non-judgmental way.”

How to select a mentor

Identify someone in the field in which you wish to succeed. You may find someone through an organization like Big Brothers and Sisters, or in your family and friend network.

Photo: paloma.cl (Flickr)

Photo: paloma.cl (Flickr)

  • Be specific about their abilities and achievements that are attractive to you.
  • Ask for a meeting, and introduce yourself as someone who admires and respects them for their accomplishments.
  • In your interview, clarify that you have the same beliefs and values.
  • Is this someone you can really relate to? Does (s)he share your values and beliefs? Does he offer expertise that you crave to embrace? Does this person easily converse with you about her expertise and share freely?
  • Is he really interested in mentoring you? Can she devote the time needed?


Banana Moments

Banana Moments

Recommended resources:

  Mr. Everit’s Secret: What I Learned from the World’s Richest Man

 Big Brothers and Sisters

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2010: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers


Photo: Christy Benz

Photo: Christy Benz

Joanna Jullien jullien@surewest.net

Joanna married her high school sweetheart and over the  past 25 years they have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from UC Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture) and has over 20 years experience as a professional manager in information technology, manufacturing, energy and environment.

Joanna writes on parenting in the 21st century, as she has observed and personally experienced many strains on the parent-child relationship with the advent of the Internet, mobile phones and popular culture.

Smart Money For Smart Schools     Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner

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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna (jullien@surewest.net) and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.