Written By: Ellis Orlan, CPA (IL), CGMA, Partner, Fuller Landau LLP, Toronto, ON, eorlan@fullerlandau.com, Futurpreneur Canada Mentor

The most important lesson learned from a mentor, was that it was acceptable to admit that I didn’t understand what he was saying and to explain the direction or concept further. In other words, I had to communicate with him even when I was unsure of myself and was not able to comprehend what he was conveying. When I had a task that became overwhelming, I was comfortable letting him know. I learned to view this as a way of advocating for myself and doing what was best for my work, instead of internalizing it as a sign of weakness, I realized that showing vulnerability and being honest are signs of strength and maturity, not weakness.

When I was honest about my weaknesses, my mentor provided me with tools and guidance in order to improve them and to grow professionally. I also learned that being vulnerable led to more self-awareness on my part and the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. I always recall my mentor telling me: “You’re easy to mentor because you are willing and open to learn new concepts and admit what you don’t know.”

I’ve always known that ego is a dangerous three letter word and those with large egos are not willing to show vulnerability and better themselves. My mentoring experience was invaluable and I thank my mentor every day.

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