Looking back on my business career, I wished that I would have had a mentor. How much more could I have accomplished by having someone to better guide me?

That statement is the myth of the mentor. Myth you say? It certainly sounds reasonable to me.

I think the myth comes from my thinking that if I had had a mentor, I would have actually listened to him or her.

As I think back, although I was definitely confident in myself, I can safely say I wasn’t secure. Isn’t confidence the same thing as being secure? I used to think so but what I did was use my confidence to mask my insecurity.

Confident people who are not secure don’t need help or advice, their plans are clearly better than anyone else’s. Confident and insecure people don’t need to listen to other ideas or solutions because their way is the best way. Confident yet insecure people look at others, shake their head, roll their eyes and think “they just don’t get it”.

Confident yet insecure people think they are the smartest person  in the room even when they are not. If their ideas are challenged they have a tendency to belittle the challenger instead of offering sound reasons for refuting the challenger’s ideas. They rarely answer direct questions and have learned to obfuscate by either not answering or answering a question with another question of their own.

If something goes awry, instead of taking responsibility for their actions, insecure people always look for someone or something to lay the blame on.

Confident secure people seek out advice and help. They are secure enough in themselves to want to search for better and more ingenious ways. Secure people are open to other reasoned ideas that may be better than their own. When they make a decision they own their decisions. They do not blame others if there is a problem and they do not have the need to always take credit when things go well. When asked a question they answer it in a direct reasoned manner they do not have a need to obfuscate.

To this day, asking personal and business friends for help is difficult for me. This is true even when I know that fundamentally, people like to help. I certainly know I enjoy strategizing with others about their personal or business plans and directions.

The moral of the story? Don’t make the mistake of thinking being confident is being secure.  This way, if you are blessed with having a good adviser, you may actually listen to and benefit from listening to them.