Hello SOTGC community,
How many of you have a mentor? How many of you have gotten promotions, raises, or achieved the accolade you wanted because of their help? Studies show that people who have a professional mentor are more likely to get that raise, that promotion, and to achieve their professional goals. But the key is finding the RIGHT mentor for YOU, and to be CLEAR about what you want so that they can help you.
Step 1: SEEK her/him out, and follow up. The person you choose as your mentor might or might not work in your organization. The key is to always be on the lookout for people you meet, who you admire and respect for what they have accomplished, and who share the same morals and ethics that you do. These are going to be people that are VERY busy, so it’s up to you to recruit them to be your mentor. So remember to follow up and repeatedly touch base (this doesn’t mean a call or email every day because that is called “stalking” not “following up,” but if you reach out once and they don’t get back to you or don’t immediately set up a meeting, feel free to keep trying every week or two unless they say otherwise.)
Step 2: Be VERY clear with them on what your goals are. I have heard that men ask their mentors for help on “getting promoted” and women ask their mentors for “things they can do to improve themselves.” I honestly think they are BOTH asking for the same end goal…but the way they ask is different, and directness is the only way to get what you want in your career. When I appointed my mentor to myself, he was my boss at the time so didn’t really have a choice ;-), I let him know I wanted him to mentor me. I let him know that I wanted to make Presidents Club and Rolex Club and I wanted him to help me get there. What this INDREICTLY said was “help me grow and better myself.” But BECAUSE I was so clear on the end goal, he was able to do all these things…and my second year into surgical device sales I hit both those goals.
Step 3: Understand that you will have MANY different mentors during your career. I think where some people get stuck is they pick a mentor, this person helps them get to a certain level in their career, and then they stagnate. It’s OK to pick a new mentor once you’ve hit your goal and you get to a point where you need a new perspective or experience to guide you. This doesn’t mean you cant’ still be friends. My first mentor Jeremy is no longer a direct career mentor, but I still call him for advice when I need it or even just for a friendly voice. The only way we can grow and continue to reach new goals is to have MANY people helping us with various degrees of experience, outlooks, and perspectives.
Step 4: Once you’ve achieved some success, pay it forward. This means, if you see someone in your company or that you meet during a networking function that you can see A LOT of potential in, reach out to them. See if they have a mentor, and if not volunteer to help them. Meet up with them for coffee or lunch every few weeks and give back what was given to you. You’d be surprised at how much YOU yourself will learn and grow when helping someone attain their goals. My motto is: ALWAYS ask because help won’t just be handed to you; and ALWAYS repay the gifts and opportunities that the Universe (or whatever higher being you believe in) grants you.
Main Photo credit: www.mynewhustle.com