Friday, April 8

Finding Mentors: Who Is In Your Corner?

Over the last several weeks, I have taught many businesses classes at Middle Tennessee State University and the topic mentioned often is mentors. Students are encouraged to find mentors prior to graduation to help navigate through their early professional years. Many of these students do not know why or where to find such great leaders. Here are a few ideas to make sure you have someone in your corner:

Photo courtesy of sokolokophoto

1. Been there and done that. Mentors have often travelled the same path you are embarking on. If you have the opportunity to save time, money, and heartache, why not seek the help of someone who has been there before. If you ask for help, mentors are more than willing to give you sound advice.

2. They are everywhere. People will usually avoid finding someone to help them out on life's journey and many times say, "I don't know where to look." Mentors can be found around every corner. Teachers, Professors, Managers, Supervisors, Church Members, Friends, Business Owners, Coaches, and Counselors are leaders who are willing to help others out.

3. "I need help." It is that simple. Ask for help. Tell them your goals, dreams, and aspirations. Thank your mentor for their time and be punctual to phone and in-person meetings.

4. Be honest. If you do not give all of the facts and information for a mentor to help you out, you are cheating yourself and your mentor. Be honest about everything. Trust is key for this relationship.

5. More than 1. I have several mentors. Each mentor provides several different and unique charateristics that I am able to learn from. Not only does this help my professional skills, but it also builds my network.

Take the time to write down the names of people who are in the positions or at the level you want to be at. Call or email them and ask for an appointment. And finally, get a notepad and start listening.

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