Where and how can I find a career mentor?
Many of my candidates have asked me this on several occasions.
Mentors are amazing. They boost our careers. Everyone should need a mentor.
The tricky part isn’t finding a mentor - they’re lots of talented people you meet daily. The difficult stage is getting these talented people to take you on as a disciple.
My friend once highlighted to me that I was surrounded by mentors including some really talented entrepreneurs. Why was it that such successful people go an extra mile into helping me? I guess when you put learning above all else, including your instant comfort, it feels amazing to help such people and almost psychologically rewarding.
I once had a candidate, Stephen, share this story with me.
I provided Stephen a lucrative proposal to take up this more high-ranking position at a competitor. His boss, and mentor, advised him to accept the offer. After much pondering, Stephen rejected the offer. Stephen explained to me that he wasn’t prepared to “cash in” on his talents. He was learning at an incredible rate working under his current boss and mentor. He was not ready to let it stop.
Stephen made me further understand his point with an analogy to tricycles and bicycles. Tricycles are stable; that was the senior role on offer at the competitor. But nobody sets speed records on tricycles. Bicycles are unstable; they will topple over if you stop. But unless you are ready to put up with a pinch of insecurity, you cannot go faster and further.
My point is that we are all surrounded by potential mentors. If you show that you really want to learn from someone, and put that learning above your direct short-term interests (higher salary; promotions; increased security) then you can prompt their instinct to want to have a apprentice.
When you pass on what you know to someone else, you are enjoying a sort of immortality, and that is delightful.
I am certainly grateful to have mentors around me, from whom I learn every day! Are you?