What Archie Andrews Can Teach Us About Choosing Mentors / by Tze Hern Yeo

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I never thought I'd learn something useful from a teen drama until today.

And from the CW series Riverdale no less. No one was more surprised than me.

In the latest episode of the series, we see Archie trying to take control over the state of affairs in his crime-ridden town.

Archie goes on to consult two main sources: His father, Fred Andrews, and business tycoon, Hiram Lodge.

This is where things get interesting.

Fred advises his son to let the police do their job, while Hiram offers the view that sometimes it's best to take things into our own hands.

No prizes for guessing who Archie ultimately listened to. (Spoiler alert: Not his dad)

I couldn't help but wonder how easy it was for Archie to heed the advice of someone he barely knew.

By doing so he went on to haphazardly execute a plan that could prove disastrous down the road.

It didn't bother me that Archie took the wrong advice. (This gem of a show gives us plenty of that in spades.) Instead, this raised a bigger question in my mind:

Why do we pick the wrong mentors?

In our professional careers, having a mentor is incredibly useful in getting insights and sound advice on charting our path.

But are we making the effort to choose the right ones?

Sometimes we get distracted by a potential mentor's power and status without considering how their skills can benefit our growth. 

This often blinds us from seeing the value in potential mentors who can provide us with a strategic partnership.

It's all about getting the right fit.

One important thing to look out for in choosing a mentor is their experience.

And not just any experience. I'm talking about experience tied to your field or an area you're interested to explore.

Do the research. Find out how this potential mentor's background can help you further your goals. 

Before approaching anyone for mentorship, ask yourself if this person is someone you think can help you grow as a leader in your industry.

Choosing a mentor doesn't just stop there.

You need to build authentic relationships.

Having a mentor isn't a way for you to leech off their contacts and experience.

Mentorship is a two-way street.

It's important that you are challenged by your mentor but at the same time, you have to put in the work and give back to them.

You need to show your mentor that you also bring something to the table, be it through your insights or personal experience for their learning as well.

Did Archie make a mistake in choosing a mentor?

It's too early to tell for sure. (I could go on about how the Lodge Family makes me suspicious but that's for another post.)

As for the rest of us, choosing a mentor requires deliberate planning and thoughtful consideration

Before you do anything else, be sure to first take a step back and think things through carefully.

And try not to get yourself killed like Archie.