Do You Need a Mentor?

When I was young, I never thought I did. I was sure that I knew what was best for my career and that I could figure things out by studying more, reading more, and learning more. Probably I had some trusts “issues” somewhere in my past, but I didn’t want to put my career in anyone else’s hands.

Over the years I’ve doled out advice to a number of people when they’ve asked, and they’ve come back to thank me. I even was in conversation with a few groups this year and two separate people (different people/places) spoke out in the group, crediting me as a mentor to them.

That surprised me, but it made me stop and think about what I’d asked them and how it had influenced them, based on what they told me. Apparently I had been a bit of a mentor. When someone recently asked me if I’d be a mentor to them, listening and offering advice, I agreed.

Mentoring

Those of us with kids try to mentor them. By definition, mentoring is a more senior person (in experience) providing advice or counsel to a more junior person. This has nothing to do with age, and a mentor in one area might be a mentoree in another.

Looking back I think my career would have been more successful if I had had someone to help guide me, bounce ideas off, and get advice about the directions to take. I’ve had a good career, but I felt like I’ve stumbled in many ways. Fortunately my wife has helped, and my business partner has taught my a lot in the last 6-8 years.

If you are looking to grow your career, I would look around and think about someone that you trust and have a good relationship with that is a more senior person. It could be your boss, a colleague, or even a neighbor. Ask them if they would help you, and see what they say.

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