Build Your Personal Board of Directors
It’s no secret that a mentor can be a terrific resource as you navigate your personal career path. Some organizations assign mentors and other relationships develop naturally when like minded people hit it off. If you are your own boss, or don’t have a company to connect you with a mentor, you can and should pursue mentors on your own.
Seeking a mentor starts simply with asking for advice from a trusted professional who has been there and done that in your industry. Start by asking for information and advice and see how the relationship develops. You will know when you have made an authentic connection with someone and taken the relationship beyond colleague to personal guru.
Mentors help to improve upon your strengths and guide you along your path to success with inspiration and resources that come from experience. A mentor can also help you set and accomplish your goals. Mentors will guide you and offer practical ideas about how you might do things differently. We all need at least one mentor that can speak candidly and offer constructive criticism, even when we don’t want to hear it.
Mentors should help boost your self confidence and empower you to achieve and overcome obstacles. But don’t think that you need one perfect mentor to help you on your professional way. In reality, life is full of mentors that can advise you day-by-day, sharing important bits of wisdom incrementally over time. I encourage you to take a close look at the many people in your life and reflect on how they may actually be mentoring you right now. Build your own personal Board of Directors, your personal posse, to guide you in your career pursuits.
You can gain a wealth of support and resources with a team. Sometimes these relationships develop organically and sometimes you need to take the driver’s seat and ask others for help. No matter which, mentors volunteer their time and experience so always show them your respect. Listen, don’t argue – and always follow-up with a personal thank you note or gesture of gratitude. The mentor relationship is powerful and valuable, so cultivate it wisely and be mindful of how you can help others and keep the circle of wisdom continuous by becoming a mentor yourself.