How to Get a Mentor in 3 Steps: Third, Connect with Courage

courage mentor Training with Courage Ellen EnsherIf mentoring is so great, why doesn’t everyone do it? In twenty years of doing research and working with clients, I have noticed that people don’t get involved in mentoring or mentor training often times because they are afraid. Being a courage mentor means being there to help those in need of assistance. How do you overcome the fear of reaching out and making the connection?

Courage Mentoring

Typically I have found that almost everyone has some fear of connecting and this is true for bright young undergraduates as well as successful executives. The reasons for the fear might be a little different but it is real. Courage mentors are the one thing that can help guide in the right direction. One way that I have found that is helpful, which is well supported by psychological research, is for individuals to develop their own courage ritual. So, for some people, it is a song they sing or listen to on their way to an important meeting or a networking event.

Courage Ritual

For others, the courage ritual might be a phrase or quote that they read before reaching out to others. Some people have a spiritual practice, a form of prayer, or meditation. Still others might even have a physical routine such as a power pose, which has shown to increase confidence level. Recently, I have asked professionals and students to share with me their courage rituals and here are a few:

• Sing Roar by Katy Perry. “I got the eye of the tiger, the fighter, dancing through the fire.”

• Listen to I Can by Nas “I know I can be what I want to be, If I work hard at it, I’ll be where I want to be”

• Call Mom.

• Deep focused breathing with 5 breaths in and 5 breaths out.

• Say a prayer and visualize victory.

• I repeat this to myself “Courage is being scared to death.. and saddling up anyway…”
John Wayne

• I recite movie lines to myself: “I am the King of the World!” and “You talking to me?
You Talking to Me?”

• I clap my hands and say this” I can do it, There’s nothing too hard for me, Just get up and do it”

• I punch things to release my adrenaline and then I pray

In conclusion, I would love to hear from you. What are your fears about mentoring? Do you have a courage ritual and what is it it? How do you find a mentor?

You just read Part 3 of this series. This completes the serie of this mentoring guide. Click below to read the previous parts of:
How to Get a Mentor in 3 Steps in 3 Weeks


About Ellen Ensher

Ellen A. Ensher, Ph.D. is a Professor of Management at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, USA. Dr. Ensher has an established expertise in mentoring programs and career advice, and is a frequent key note speaker and workshop leader for conferences and public and private organizations around the world. Google +
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4 Responses to How to Get a Mentor in 3 Steps: Third, Connect with Courage

  1. Mark McNamara says:

    I listen to lose yourself by Eminem and dance to it. Or yell PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON a few times up into the sky.

  2. Rachel Leisten says:

    I found the blog post about finding your own Courage ritual very intriguing. I have trouble personally connecting with people on a real level. Meaning that I’m not a shy person when it comes to my friends but I typically am not one to open up when it comes to group situations in which I don’t know anyone. My main fears about mentoring are related to personally being a mentor and training people. I work at the school newspaper as the Business Manager and sometimes I struggle in telling people what they need to get done that day because I don’t want to come across too bossy. It helps when I think about the alternative which is doing it all myself. It also helps knowing that I am training and teaching someone how to do something completely new that will most likely come in handy later on in life.
    I don’t have one specific courage ritual that I use every time I need to be motivated and encouraged. I would say that music is the main component I use in my own courage ritual. Upbeat songs are very helpful to me. Since new music is always coming out, my courage ritual song is always changing. Currently Waves by Kanye is the song that gives me courage to be a mentor. I have many different mentors in my life but the one that comes to mind is my dad. My dad owns his own business so he has influenced my passion for business management. He has taught me a lot about running your own business and I see him very motivated by his career even after 20 years. Without my dad as my mentor and supporter I don’t know if I would be interested in the major I have today.

  3. Luke Chapman says:

    4/7/2015

    I think most people, especially college students, fall victim to the fear of connecting. Whether it be a presentation, interview or meeting, feeling anxious and nervous is natural. The problem is that everyone knows how illogical this fear is. Everyone knows its ok to fail, or to embarrass yourself but yet lots of people are afraid of it, myself included.

    I remember the first time you mentioned the idea of a courage ritual I immediately thought the idea was quite silly. However, as the class went on I realized myself, and college students in general are probably the most in need of a good courage ritual.

    When I was younger and when sports were everything I had a great pre-game ritual. Firstly, I would show up way before everyone else. It made me feel ready, and a step ahead. I also had multiple pre-game playlists and stretching routines. This routine became so consistent that I never felt a lack of courage, I was always ready. I suppose the goal of a courage ritual is to no longer need a courage ritual, and just be courageous. Obviously much easier said than done.

    Some of the best advice I have ever received was from a family member visiting from Japan I had never met. We were at a wedding and within a minute of meeting me he told me “Over-preparation breeds confidence.” These words really hit home for me because I think it exemplifies the most important thing for me moving forward in my professional path, which is the quality of my work. Despite whatever nerves I get, if I am consistently prepared than courage and confidence will follow after a while, just like it did when I was younger. I think that in the mean time as I work to improve the quality of my work its important for me to be open with my friends about what makes me nervous. I find that saying things out loud is the best way to recognize an issue and come up with a solution.

    My article:
    https://hbr.org/2011/04/how-to-build-confidence/

    This article from the Harvard Business Review focuses on the importance of preparation in confidence but it also highlights on another important aspect of developing courage, and that is understanding you can’t know everything, and that it is more than okay to reach out for help. So although it’s important to be “over-prepared” in the words of my family member, its just as important to realize you will never be perfectly prepared.

  4. Rachel Leisten says:

    I found the blog post about finding your own Courage ritual very intriguing. I’m not a shy person when it comes to my friends but I typically am not one to open up when it comes to group situations in which I don’t know anyone. My main fears about mentoring are related to personally being a mentor and training people. I work at the school newspaper as the Business Manager and sometimes I struggle in telling people what they need to get done that day because I don’t want to come across too bossy. It helps when I think about the alternative which is doing it all myself. It also helps knowing that I am training and teaching someone how to do something completely new that will most likely come in handy later on in life.
    I don’t have one specific courage ritual that I use every time I need to be motivated and encouraged. I would say that music is the main component I use in my own courage ritual. Since new music is always coming out, my courage ritual song is always changing. Currently Waves by Kanye is the song that gives me courage to be a mentor. I have many different mentors in my life but the one that comes to mind is my dad. My dad owns his own business so he has influenced my passion for business management.
    The following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX3LjUdT6Qw, by Valuetainment connects to the above blog post because it teaches you how to find and keep a mentor and the blog mentions that people are afraid to get involved in mentoring. After reading this blog and watching the YouTube video it makes me think about how people actually get into mentoring as an occupation and what drives them to want to be a mentor.

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