Do you ever wonder what qualities distinguish those who are leaders in their fields from those who are just average? There are many characteristics that these individuals embody – self-belief is top of that list.

Belief is a characteristic prominent in most successful people: Belief in oneself, belief in one’s ability to achieve goals, and in one’s worth. Leaders seem to know that success is a team sport and that success leaves clues. They have mentors and they have teams. They surround themselves with winners.

In every walk of life, one of the most frequently asked questions is “How do I get on the road to success?“ There are many possible answers to this question, but the one that has been proven to be effective, over and over again, is that of learning from those who have dropped success clues along the way. To succeed, one must learn from those who have already paved the path, those who have generated the grand ideas, laid out the vision, assembled a plan and fought the adversities that lay ahead of any great success.

So what exactly is a mentor?

We all have what it takes to be a mentor because, through the journeys of our own lives, we’ve had experiences that have taught us lessons that could benefit others. Whether we like it or not, there are always people looking up to us. Gandhi understood this better when he said, “My life is my message“. What message is your life sending? Most mentors never set out to become mentors; they found themselves in this position as a result of the message their lives were conveying. There are people all around us – family members, friends, famous people, ordinary people – who inspire us, who make us want to be more and do more.

Characteristics of great mentors

  • Service to others – Great mentors are winners in their fields because they understand that we help ourselves more when we help others.
  • Inspiration – Their lives are a positive message to the world through their deeds.
  • Self-belief – They don’t need other people’s approval before they can believe in themselves.
  • Teachers and doers – They teach mostly by doing.
  • Goal achievers – They never stop until the goal is achieved. The plan may change many times but the goal posts never shift.

Characteristics of great mentees

  • Clarity of vision – To identify the right mentor for you, you must be clear of your destination.
  • Goal setting – Make your goal a MUST (achieve) and take massive action.
  • Win-win Thinking – Don’t just be a taker, think of ways you can be of value or service to your mentor.
  • Fire in the belly –Be unstoppable when you charge towards your seemingly impossible goal.
  • Patience – Your mentor is busy so be patient.
  • Persistence – Never give up on your dream.
  • Reading – Read inspiring stories and biographies of other successful people.



Siya Mapoko is an independent marketing specialist, founder of MRI, author and professional business speaker. He has over 12 years experience in scientific business research fields Chemistry, Drug research, Investment analysis, Equity trading and Entrepreneurship. Siya is a regular contributor of Kasibiz Mahala.




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