Mentor VS Role Model

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” – Plutarch

Something that I heard someone say recently is you are not married to your role model so do not feel bad if it changes, and it got me thinking about the differences between a mentor and a role model.

A mentor can be someone that isn’t necessarily similar to you at all. You can be in marketing they can be in microservices, but they started a company and you are about to start one, and you need some help.

They could know nothing about marketing, but they know everything about starting a business. You know about marketing, you do not need help with marketing. You have no clue how to start a business though. 

All too often when picking or trying to find a mentor we try to find someone doing exactly what we want to do, and although this isn’t bad I feel like this is a better place for a role model to be than a mentor. 

A role model is someone doing something, going somewhere, whatever it may be for you, but you want to be in their place. You want to take charge and make the decisions, have the fancy office, or the nice title. 

I believe that they are better for a role model because we are only human, and role models are a lot easier to change than mentors. If you want to become exactly like your mentor, chances are they are going to make some mistakes or do something that you don’t agree with. 

At that point, it will be rather difficult to switch.

So pick your role models carefully but your mentors even more carefully. Find a happy balance and know where you need help and where you want to grow. 

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