YouTube is a great learning resource but I also believe it’s a dangerous place. Think about it — everyone out there is either an expert or a master of something. In fact, I’m yet to see a channel that’s run by an ordinary person who’s documenting his/her life as it is. While I’m pretty sure there are many out there, most are offering advice that’s useful but either obvious or not so verified. I mean, have they tried it on themselves? How do they know? There’s so much context missing from the equation.
That said, both you and I are sure to know a few channels that oozes authenticity and expertise. They’re safe to follow and learn from. But our learning shouldn’t be limited to the social media (YouTube just like FaceBook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is a social media platform by the way). If learning and mastery is important to us, we have to seek opportunities to learn from people in-person or at least virtually. But again, who you learn from is critical.
And no, I’m not talking about credentials or certifications one has racked up. It’s about commitment to the profession or the initiatives they are associated with. You should choose your mentors wisely and let me tell you, not everyone can teach you something that’s valuable nor should you expect the same. Unfortunately, this mostly is the case where the mentor isn’t compensated for their time.
Not that paid mentorships are perfect but I’ve seen people (the mentees) getting frustrated with free mentorships more often than the paid ones. These issues can range from the mentor not being clear about the directions or advice or worst — trying to coach the mentee when that’s clearly not what’s expected. Coaching is a completely different skillset from mentoring and shouldn’t ever be part of a mentor-mentee relationship.
That’s precisely why it’s important to shop around for mentors before you sign up for one. Yes, engaging with some of the best mentors will be expensive but you definitely deserve to learn from the best when your career growth is at stake. It’s a significantly small amount compared to the skills that you gain from mentorship.
I’m a huge advocate of having both a mentor and a coach (I have them both, despite that I’m an experienced coach!). It’s possibly the best career decision you will ever take. It’s not an expense but an investment towards your growth.