If you didn’t already know, mentors are the single most valuable resource a young professional could hope to enjoy…aside from actual experience.
Starting off isn’t easy. Mentors make it easier. If you are able to create meaningful relationships with older, more experienced professionals, you’ll certainly have a leg up on your competition.
A mentor provides you with…
- Their experiences. Now nothing can replace the value of actually experiencing something yourself, but it’s also extremely valuable to have the advice of someone who’s been there before. Your mentor has seen what works and what doesn’t. Let them help you make some right decisions.
- Their network. If you have a mentor, it’s because they believe in you and they want to pass on their experience and knowledge to a worthy younger professional. This means that they’ll probably trust you enough that they’d be willing to recommend you to their connections. Their network is probably much greater than yours, and can be invaluable to a young professional. Remember though, sometimes you have to ask.
- An “in” at networking events. Working off the last point, if you’re in the same area as your mentor, as I currently am with two great ladies Beth Harte and Gloria Bell, your mentor is a HUGE resource when it comes to networking events. Those events can be awkward for young professionals who don’t know that many people. Beth and Gloria have both been amazing to me, introducing me to everyone they know at networking events in Philly.
- Their knowledge. I don’t know it all. Shocking right? Especially while working for a start-up, I’ve been asked to do things that have just drawn a smile and a nod from me while thinking “how the crap am I going to do this?” Well amazing mentors like Arik Hanson, Danny Brown, and many others have always been there to teach me the things I need to learn.
- Their support. This may not sound like a great resource, but for me, it’s been amazing. Starting off in your career is tough. You always feel like you’re catching up to learn as much as others, you often don’t have the answer, and you’re afraid to do or say anything wrong because any misstep could destroy your career (not true, but the thought occurs). Having an older, experienced and respected mentor there to support you and reassure you of the things you’re doing well helps you get through some of the tougher times.
How have your mentors helped you?
You can view all Mentor Monday posts here. It is a series where I feature people that have helped me when I needed it, whether or not I asked for it, and whether or not they even realize it. I am extremely thankful for these people, and would not be where I am today, or where I will be tomorrow, without them.
BUT since I’m starting to run out of mentors, I will also be mixing in posts about mentorship in general…
Feel free to join in and thank your mentors for everything they’ve done every #mentormonday.