One of the things that has helped me in my career is having good mentors. I have had several mentors over the year that have played different roles.
Why is a mentor important? Because a mentor speeds up the growth process. They help you get better at something that without their guidance it would take longer to improve. One of the most precious things on earth is time and if you can do something to help you speed up the time it takes to achieve something or learn something new, you will be able to utilize that time doing something else.
Mentors aren’t a one size fits all approach. Seeking different mentors at different points in your life is important. You may not even realize that someone is becoming your mentor at the time and other times you seek specific mentors. Here are a few examples of mentors I’ve had:
The Mentors You’ve Never Met: I’ve had people tell me that finding a mentor can be hard. The truth is that I have many mentors that I’ve never met. Anyone can have a mentor by picking up a book, watching a video, or listening to a podcast. Understand what you want to learn and find the best at it. This isn’t just for business. When I wanted to learn more about Mobility to help prevent injuries, I turned to Kelly Starlett. I watched his videos and bought his book, When I wanted to learn about Real Estate Investing, I listen to Bigger Pockets podcast. When I wanted to figure out how the heck to make a Thanksgiving dinner, who do I turn to… The Pioneer Women! For personal development I read a lot. I enjoy learning from many authors but some of my favorite right now are John C. Maxwell, Jocko Willink, Rachel Hollis, Brene Brown and Daren Hardy. These people have no idea who I am, but I have learned a lot from them.
The Mentor that helped me believe in myself: I remember a specific conversation with one of my mentors that will probably stick with me for my entire career. He was asking me about my career aspirations. I was about 4 years into my role with Eaton and I first told him that I wanted to eventually be a District Sales VP (ironically, I am in that role now). His response, “Think Bigger.” I mentioned a few other roles I was interested in and he kept responding that I needed to think bigger. He saw something in me that I wasn’t quite able to see at the time. By him believing in me, it gave me confidence and helped me believe I could achieve big things in my career.
The Mentor I have that teaches me on parenting, work life balance and being a better wife: This person has been a life saver to me. She hired me into my company so I will always have a special place in my heart for that. She is a person that has set me straight and can ask the right questions to help check where my head is at. I’ve known her for over 10+ years and the last 5 the conversations are less about career but more about parenting. Finding balance can be hard at times but remembering your core values is key. We’ve talked about the mom guilt, the challenges of both spouses being driven and having careers, and all the challenges that come along the way. Whether you work full-time or you stay at home, find a mentor that has walked in your shoes. Often times we feel like we’re on an island but in all reality, many people are going through the same things.
Being a good Mentor
I believe in making people better. I have been blessed with good mentors so I try to be the best mentor I can be. I found a few key items in mentoring:
- Listen. Be present and give them your attention.
- Help them see things that they maybe can’t right now.
- Be available and welcoming. We all get busy and it’s hard to find time but if you commit to helping someone, be there for them when they need it most.
At the end of the day, if we all invest in people around us and make them better and they make their network better, we’re going to make the world a better place 🙂