Hey there everyone!!
Finding and receiving mentorship has transformed my life in ways some find remarkable.
At age thirteen, I was the first person in the Toronto Board of Education to participate in Co-Operative Education (working in the job market). There I met Peter who would become my first mentor. My job was to do computer programming; however, I found great fascination in learning about business.
Peter was the owner of a relatively small company and noticed my broadening interests. He took me under his wing, explaining some of the ins and outs of daily business. Peter introduced me to many of his clients and invited me to various trade shows. This experience was invaluable, causing me to become even more passionate about technology, business and everything else that I was learning.
Peter and I remain friends to this day. Sometimes people are shocked when I mention to them how I co-developed a U.S. patent in the biomedical industry while I was a teenager. The secret, of course, is that I had a great mentor and wisely chose to follow in his footsteps.
At age sixteen, I was serendipitously introduced to Dan. Dan and I developed a strong friendship with our mutual interests in technology and business. We conjured up great new business ideas together and sought out venture capital. Initially I thought, “Who is going to listen to a teenager, (who is blind) about a business idea — let alone invest millions of dollars in it?”
Thankfully, Dan wasn’t in the same category. He was much older than me, having a Masters in Business Administration with lots of experience in the oil industry, business and politics. Dan helped to increase our credibility with potential investors. More importantly, Dan was my resource for knowledge and information that can only be acquired through experience.
We did it! We got $1.5 million in capital and started an exciting new venture. What was the secret? It was my willingness to listen and appreciate the wisdom of a mentor.
I never knew that I would want to be in business for myself. I grew up on welfare, so there weren’t many opportunities for me to find role-models that I could follow. I wouldn’t even know where to start if I wanted to learn about operating my own business. What would I need to learn first?
Raymond Aaron is co-author of Chicken Soup for the Canadian Soul and was my mentor while I produced my best-selling book, “A Dictionary of Distinctions.” Raymond says: “Sometimes what we most need to learn, we do not even know we need to learn. That is the huge benefit of a mentor.”
In essence, mentors don’t help us learn about things we don’t know — that we can acquire from a textbook. Mentors help us learn about things that we have yet to realize that we don’t know — things outside of our current consciousness, things we haven’t thought about yet…
And, that’s why the mentorship is invaluable.
Let’s love the world together…
Danish Ahmed, blind visionary