When a young, eager entrepreneur approached me at a speaking engagement and asked how I got to this point in my career, I looked right at her and said. “I found a mentor.” I think she was expecting me to say that I took a bunch of classes or got some fancy degrees or started public speaking on a street corner and got picked up by an agent. “Finding a mentor helped me get to where I am today in five important ways,” I told her. I explained that:
Mentors point out your weaknesses
Many times, we surround ourselves with people who tell us how great we are. And all this can be great for our self-esteem; it leaves no room for growth. To reach the next level in your career through mentorship, you need to find a mentor who is going to tell you the truth. Someone who will be able to identify your weaknesses and present them to you with grace and courtesy. Successful business leaders don’t hang out with people who tell them what they want to hear. Successful business leaders hang out with people who can carefully and tactfully address their weaknesses and create a plan to work on them.
Mentors build on your strengths
Just like addressing your weaknesses is crucial in getting to the next level, so is building on your strengths. You probably already have a pretty good idea of what your strengths are, but a mentor can help you see them in a new perspective. A mentor’s job is to identify your strengths and continue building on them. When a mentor can identify your strengths and give you ideas and guidance on how to improve upon them, you are next level bound.
Mentors teach you something new
One of the most obvious advantages of working with a mentor is learning from their experiences. You will get the most out of your mentorship experience when you acknowledge that there will always be someone who knows more than you do. Being a good listener and being willing and able to learn from their mistakes can be priceless in advancing your career.
Mentors offer outside perspective
Sometimes being too close to a problem or decision makes it difficult to come up with a solution. Your mentor can serve as an extra set of eyes and ears on an important issue or decision. When it is time to make an important decision that may impact the trajectory of your career, having a mentor to offer outside perspective is extremely valuable.
Mentors connect you with people
Chances are, your mentor knows a lot of people who could be instrumental in the next step in your career. Building a professional relationship with a mentor is the link between you and other valuable impact players in your industry. One of the most significant advantages of finding a mentor is stepping into their network and having access to their connections.
This week, my challenge for you is to:
- Order SWIM! If you haven’t already
- Connect with your mentor and ask them to identify your top 3 strengths and top 3 weaknesses