How To Succeed In Business And Life:
The Must-Have Mentor
Part 10 of a 10 Part Series
People often ask me for tips on how to be successful at work. Some people assume I’ve had things come easy in my life and in my career, and that’s what has led to my success. I want to be very clear: I have not had things easy. I’m grateful for my circumstances though, because they’ve helped me to be successful at work and in life.
Growing up as one of four kids with a single mom often left me feeling “less than” other kids who had much more than I did. My mother worked really hard at multiple jobs just to keep food on the table, but even as a child I was able to see clearly that some people were successful, while others were not. I watched others and I tried to determine what I needed to do to succeed.
As an adult, I promised myself that I would never struggle financially the way my mother had. I decided to outwork everyone and put myself on the fast track for success—in all aspects of my life.
I’ve hand-picked my top 10 easy tips for helping you outshine others and set yourself apart for this blog series, How To Succeed in Business and Life. With each tip, I’ll address in detail how to become more successful in all that you do.
Tip 10: Choose Your Mentor. Hang On Tightly.
Most people know that they should have a mentor, but they don’t know how to land one. I currently have a few different mentors and have had many over my life and career. As I got older, I realized that a mentor is someone that you want to get guidance from, but you also need to deliver something back to, in return.
One of my mentors just liked to leave “footprints in the sand,”; he wanted to impact younger generations and that’s why he loved giving advice and direction. Another mentor of mine is someone that I wanted to help me, but I didn’t think he had the time to do it. I knew his schedule and would call him early in the mornings when I knew he was alone in the office. I would bounce things off of him, then always ask, “Is there any way I can help you?” One day, he realized that I could help him understand some of the challenges that his female employees had and how he could better communicate with them. As such, I brought him value.
Communication is key with a mentor. You need to stay on their radar and make them feel interested in you. Sharing your fears, asking direct questions and letting them know what you are working toward and how they can help are all good ideas.
No busy professional wants to be contacted by someone who says blindly, “Can you mentor me?” That sounds like a daunting task and can mean so many different things! Every mentor in my life didn’t even know they were my mentor until they were fully vested in me: They knew my goals, my struggles, my interests. We formed a personal connection and then I began seeking them out as a mentor. By then, it was too late for them to back out!
Now I have an arsenal and team of people I can call on for direction, support and advice. And that feels good. Whether they’re helping you succeed at work or in life, find a mentor who is interested in helping you be the best you can be.