What Makes A Mentor Figure So Important In The Life Of An Artist?

Mentorship is one of the biggest informal schools where people get to develop themselves into becoming a better version of themselves. This will hopefully bring them closer to what they dream to be. Whether you have at one point in your life or another had a mentor or not, certain things remain constant. At some point you must have looked up to a figure as your role model. In the adult world, a formal mentorship program may be initiated as part of an Artist Portfolio Development. This is simply aimed at helping such a creative individual or group be the best version of themselves. Simply put, in the adult world, role models can become mentors, helping young creatives forge their path into greatness.

The Importance of Mentors in Early Years

The childhood years are characterized by most people looking up to their parents or other significant figures in their lives, trying to learn as much as they can, and making moves to imitate certain areas of their lives that appeal more to you. These select individuals whom we have developed a specific fondness for playing an important role in shaping how we walk, talk, and may also, by an extension lead us down a path of interest, one which may later become a career choice or hobby.

With such growth as this, chances are high that as you begin to experience the real world, you tend to gravitate towards people who have been successful in the line or career path which you have chosen, thus initiating the concept of mentorship. Mentors are regarded as individuals who have gone ahead of you to experience certain things that can be used to help you shape your career and life. Mentors listen closely to your challenges and offer guidance, provide options, and in some cases, offer solutions that are specific to the problems which may have appeared to be a barrier.

Mentors allow newbies to download their experience, thus giving them a better chance at success at an early stage. There are several reasons why an artist needs a mentor, some of the most important reasons are discussed below:

Gain invaluable knowledge from their firsthand experience

One of the biggest advantages of the mentorship program for anybody is that they are exposed to the firsthand experiences of these people who have gone before them and have made difficult decisions in trying times. Receiving feedback on your work and professional insight will only contribute towards making your art better. Also, through mentorship programs, it becomes easier for you to become aware of certain areas where you are lacking, thus creating a chance to improve on these areas to become the best version of yourself.

According to a Gartner study, people who had mentors were promoted five times more than those who had no mentors. As an artist, you may or may not care about promotions; however, having an experienced artist mentor by your side is more likely to help you attain the next level of skill more quickly than otherwise. 

In essence, having a mentor provides you with the support and push to make certain decisions which originally may not have occurred to you. You can benefit from the lessons they have learned along the way, master different techniques, and also solve problems faster with a mentor by your side.

Engagement is one of the basic keys to better practice and better people

Mentors understand the certain challenges that are peculiar to your career path and this allows them to notice derailing mentees and call them into order. With constant engagement with firsthand experience and expertise, it becomes easier for you to build a level of motivation and confidence that commands respect in your field.

In essence, through constant engagement with your mentor, you get a chance to replenish your motivation bank and this will, in the end, help you to remain focused on the goal at hand. A mentor in a similar field as yours will know more about feeling demotivated and how to overcome it. They might even help you the most at a point when you feel like quitting everything and forsaking the life of an artist. With their encouragement, an artist won’t feel so alone and isolated even when they are at a low point in their career. 

A recent study conducted by ATD revealed that formal mentoring programs have led to higher employee retention and employee management with the numbers shooting up to as high as 50%. Even if an artist has an informal mentor, they are more likely to feel good about their career choice.

Personal support

Having a mentor not only shapes your professional life but also helps to raise your level of engagement, your practice and your personal life. A mentor has most likely experienced a lot of testimonials and this can be used to help you better shape up your life, offering their network and connection to make processes faster and easier.

With their experience, a mentor can introduce you to new people, inspiring experiences, and also provide moral support along the way. With a trusted senior by your side, you will always have someone to talk to. The life of an artist can sometimes be a lonely one, with even old friends and family not understanding your problems. A mentor will listen to your problems and offer viable solutions; even if they can’t provide a way out, they will clearly map out the options in front of you at the moment. This will help you think clearly; even more so when you have someone’s support all the time. 

Common misconceptions about mentoring

While mentoring has helped several artists shape their skills and talents, some common misconceptions are deeply rooted in the mind of most mentees. These misconceptions, when not tackled early can lead to friction between mentors and mentees. Below are a few of the common misconception you should be aware of:

  • Mentoring is all about me
  • Being mentored requires my passive participation more than an active engagement
  • I need to wait for a mentor to seek me out
  • I need to ask a mentor to take me under their wings upfront while I find if my skills are applicable.

The truth is that anyone who wants a mentor will probably have to seek them out. Fortunately, there are several online programs and other ways in which you can find a mentor for your career path as an artist. 

Getting mentors the right way can help you improve your life. Why not start seeking one out today?