Everyone needs a mentor, no matter where they are in life. It doesn’t matter how old you are or whether or not you’re already where you want to be—there is always room for growth and improvement.
I have several mentors who have made a tremendous impact in my life. After struggling for a number of years as a lost leader, I’ve grown a lot as a person through their insightful guidance and advice. I’ve learned everything from strategic career planning, authentic networking, and building my personal brand, to achieving an abundant mindset while living with passion and purpose.
Here’s what I learned about how mentorship serves to be beneficial for everyone:
Holds You Accountable For Your Goals
Find a mentor who will encourage, motivate and challenge you to live beyond your wildest potential. A mentor who will help you set realistic goals that align with your purpose. One who will dive deep and ask you personal and thought-provoking questions that will enhance your focus, clarity, and self-awareness. Your mentor is your accountability buddy; someone who will guide you to stay on track from distractions and limiting beliefs.
Before graduating from university, I met with a mentor regularly to discuss my dreams and goals in life. We discussed actionable steps, and I received honest and constructive feedback throughout my journey. Eventually, my mindset shifted, and I became braver and more confident with every step I took. I continued to put myself out there and shared my vision, passion and work with the world.
Provides Opportunity to Share Industry Expert Advice and Resources
One of the most invaluable experiences of mentorship for me was building the connection over coffee meetings and informational interviews. I’ve reached out to others in-person at conferences as well as online, requesting to meet or talk for further connection. From these meetings, I learned more about their industry, company, position, and background as to how they got to where they are today. Preparing for and asking the right questions allowed me to learn more about various career opportunities and resources for career advancement.
The year I graduated from university, I wanted to gain internship experience for a specific industry. I attended my first conference and spoke to many people. I followed up with them, and one individual in particular complimented me on my exemplary networking skills, and we met for coffee. Through our conversation I was offered an internship on the spot—it was indeed one of the best opportunities I created for myself. I learned a lot from that internship, and he became my mentor and a strong reference for my work position overseas the following year.
Helps Expand Your Network
Sharing your vision, accomplishments, and struggles will help you build your relationship with your mentor. Every time you connect with someone in-person or online, whether or not they will become your mentor long-term is not important. Through every conversation, you will develop new skills, share knowledge, and learn from different perspectives. Be open and vulnerable in-person and online and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’d be surprised who will notice you, offer to help, promote you, or even introduce you to someone in their network. Genuinely ask for introductions and offer to do the same. Your network will expand and so will your mastermind group of like-minded, ambitious individuals who share similar visions and mindset.
My current mentor, Dr. Jean Kim, was a connection I made a few years ago when I reached out to ask her for teaching advice. She had the opportunity to read my online blog post one day, where I shared my work overseas experience. She was impressed by my work, and the year I returned home I was offered the opportunity to join her team at the Live Your Potential (LYP) Program. She genuinely believes in my potential and my ability to provide valuable content for the LYP community. Today, she continues to support my work, promote me, and introduce me to her network.
The power of mentorship is that it’s an investment in your personal and professional development and is mutually beneficial for both parties involved. Find a mentor who is a role model and inspiration, someone who will invest in your growth and well-being—you’ll accelerate to greater heights with the help of others. Find a mentor but become one too—and pay it forward.
Stay tuned for Part Two of our Mentorship Series: “How to Stay Connected With a Mentor.”
Originally published on Live Your Potential (January 29th, 2018)