As a career professional, you are probably used to handling things on your own, but sometimes, you need some guidance. Enter: your mentor. Mentors are often overlooked, but they can be the people in your life that make all the difference. If you don't already have one, it's time to start considering how you can find someone to mentor you.
In this post, we will explore the reasons why having a mentor is vital for and provide you with some tips on how to find one.
There are many ways to find a mentor. You can join networking groups or find mentorship programs. However, mentors tend to develop and happen naturally through genuine, authentic, and vulnerable conversations.
My first mentor, a career professional in people development, taught me a lot about human nature, leadership, and why culture is important in organizations. On the other hand, my latest mentor has over 20 years of experience that's relevant to my current role as chief of staff. In both cases, I didn't go out looking for a mentor. The advantages of this approach have been incredible because they're someone outside of my daily work life, and their fresh perspective is invaluable and genuinely helps me be better at my role. They give it to me straight and answer the phone when I call.
"A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, thank you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you." - Bob Proctor
Having a mentor is essential because they help you protect your integrity. Not only are they sounding boards, but they also hold you accountable and enable you to thoroughly walk through scenarios. They help you focus on being the best you that you can be, which allows your executives to be successful as well.
Another benefit of having a mentor is that they provide you with career guidance. They can help you set career goals that align with your personal values and your company's objectives. They can provide you with insights on how you can improve your chances of getting promoted or advancing to a higher position. With a mentor, you have someone who understands your career aspirations, helps you plan for the future, and provides guidance on how to get there.
Having a mentor also means that you have someone who can help you navigate office politics. You interact with different personalities and work with different departments. Sometimes, it can be challenging to navigate the political landscape of the office. A mentor can help you understand the nuances of your office's culture, guide you on how to handle delicate situations, and help you build the relationships you need to succeed.
Lastly, having a mentor means you have someone who can share their experience with you. Their experience can provide you with valuable insights into how to handle certain situations. They can share with you the mistakes they've made, the challenges they've faced, and how they overcame them. With a mentor, you have someone who can help you navigate your career with wisdom and empathy.
Here are some of my top learnings from my mentor relationships
The importance of hard work
No matter what field you want to succeed in, you'll need to put in the hard yards. This was something that my mentors instilled in me – they showed me that if I wanted to achieve something, I needed to be willing to work for it. They also taught me that success seldom comes easy, and that it's often the result of years of dedication and determination.
The power of networking
One of my mentors once told me that it's not what you know, but who you know. And this has definitely been true in my own experience. Through networking, I've been able to meet some amazing people who have helped me further my career. I've also been able to make valuable connections that have led to new opportunities.
The importance of being proactive
In today's competitive world, it's not enough to just sit back and wait for things to happen – you need to be proactive and go out there and make things happen. My mentors have always encouraged me to be proactive in my career, and this has definitely paid off. By taking the initiative and pursuing new opportunities, I've been able to achieve more than I ever thought possible.
The importance of taking risks
In order to achieve success, you need to be willing to take risks. This was something that my mentors instilled in me – they showed me that sometimes you need to take a leap of faith in order to achieve your goals. And while there's always a risk involved when taking risks, my mentors taught me that the rewards can be well worth it.
The importance of sticking to your values
They are are barometer in all you do. When something feels off, it usually is. Trust that little voice, your intuition and don't compromise. When you make up your mind, stick to it and be a person of their word. And lastly, no matter way, be humble. Honestly and humility are virtues that will take you far in life (and your career).
In summary, your mentor is the person who believes in you before you even see the potential in yourself. They're the one who will push you out of your comfort zone, challenge you to be better, and celebrate your achievements as if they were their own. Having a mentor can make a huge difference in your career and your life.
We've talked about the benefits of having a mentor, from career guidance and protection of your integrity to navigating office politics and gaining valuable insights. But let's not forget the intangible benefits - having a mentor can provide you with emotional support and encouragement when you need it most. They can be a trusted confidant, a sounding board, and a source of inspiration.
So, if you don't already have a mentor, it's time to start looking for one. Don't limit yourself to formal mentorship programs or networking groups - sometimes the best mentorship relationships happen naturally through genuine conversations. Look for someone with experience and expertise in your field, someone who shares your values and can provide you with honest feedback and guidance. And don't be afraid to reach out.
Remember, having a mentor is not a sign of weakness or incompetence, but a sign that you're committed to learning and growing. As the saying goes, "if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." So, find your mentor and start on the journey to an even more successful future.
See you online, you incredible human