Many (most) people would choose access to Google over access to a great mentor, and understandably so. Google, and its essentially-infinite library of resources, is an incredible tool for gaining knowledge and learning stuff. We all lean on it in our everyday lives.
But, there are a number of things that Google does not – and cannot do. Things which are critically important to generating tangible value in our lives. And these things are the driving force behind the reasons that mentoring will always be better than Google.
Yes, better than google.
Google has way too many opinions
Have you ever been midway through an argument with someone, when you both begin furiously googling targeted queries to prove you were right? Of course you have. And I bet you found that credible source that perfectly aligns with your argument.. only to be refuted by your friends also-credible source which aligns with their side of the argument.
Well, that’s the problem. No matter what you search for on Google (and when you search you are always suffering from confirmation bias), you will always find your answer.
In contrast, a good mentor doesn’t try to find your answer. They try to find their answer to your dilemma. When you ask a mentor a question, they are looking for holes in your thesis, position, or argument. They are vetting your idea in a way that Google just can’t do. Google’s achilles heel will always be that the mentee or ‘information seeker’ will always be searching for the answer they want to see – to the question they want to ask.
Google provides information – it doesn’t create action
Google is the world’s largest filing cabinet of information made easily accessible and highly relevant. It does this really well. And yet, what most people need isn’t more information. It’s action.
A person’s appetite for information is never satiated. You can research how or how not to do something forever; but until you actually get started, it’s all kind of superfluous. Google is your worst enemy when it comes to hoarding information and encouraging inaction; there is always something more to learn, a new insight to gleam, or a new opinion to digest.
Alternatively, in the world of mentorship, you combine your current information (likely more than enough) with your gut instinct (which is more accurate than you think) and get started. Your mentor helps you believe in what you’re doing, pull the trigger, and improve your execution, leaning on their own pitfalls and mistakes to ensure you don’t make the same ones.
Google doesn’t hold you accountable
Once you are started (if you ever stopped googling), Google doesn’t do anything to hold you accountable for your action or lack thereof. In fact, all Google does is make you question your decision by searching for and finding the reasons that you shouldn’t do something. And to make matters worse, the most disruptive ideas, technologies and companies often go against the most commonly held perception or most ‘relevant article’, adding to your dismay.
While a mentor on the other hand, does hold you accountable. They check in on you, they want updates, and they want to see you follow through on your vision and ambition. As humans, our weakness isn’t not being able to think about stuff, as thinking is an involuntary thing we all do at least 15 hours a day; our weakness is not getting stuff done – or giving up too soon.
Google is a distraction
When you want to get something done, Google might not be the most efficient path. In fact, it might be just about the worst. Google is the deepest, darkest rabbit hole that’s ever existed. It implores you to keep searching – and keep clicking – and do anything BUT start that word doc or powerpoint presentation.
In contrast, no matter fun-loving your mentor is, you are going to touch base on what’s going on personally and professionally. You are going to take an action step or plan away from the conversation or meeting.
So next time you want to get started, sit down with a mentor away from Google, and tell them you want to start. They will make sure you do.
Google doesn’t know you
Finally, and most importantly, your mentors will know you. They will know all of your quirks, instincts, and desires – and cater their mentoring accordingly. They will make you work on your weaknesses, play to your strengths, and ensure you’re more likely to succeed.
Google doesn’t know you. It knows your cookies, your search habits, and your personal details, but it does not cater its messaging to get the most out of you. Unless you’re talking about getting the most money out of you, in which case its advertising and re-marketing efforts very much do cater to you.
But if you are looking for honest feedback, catered support, and to be held accountable for your action or lack thereof – get a mentor. He or she will be far more valuable to you than Google (Don’t worry, you can still use Google as well).