“Understand the value of a good mentor”…. It was one of the most valuable pieces of advice that I received when I graduated from university and began my career.
That advice was based on insight of the person that would become my first mentor, He continued… “You should always be seeking out three people that exhibit behaviors you admire, and whom you would strive to be like”… simple so far… the next step was to approach these individuals and simply tell them how you felt about them, what you desired from them, and ask them to serve in the capacity of mentor. From there, it was up to me to identify the relationship that I desired with my mentor, and to move that relationship along.
My relationships with my personal mentors have varied – I meet with some regularly ( weekly or monthly ), some discussions take place casually in the hallway, and some communication may occur via the phone or internet… but what remains the same, is my desire for honest feedback on what I’m doing, and how I can do it better… and they do not hold back! Some mentors may be more career focused, and some may take an macro approach – and this is one of the most interesting aspects of the mentoring process… that each relationship is unique, and that the benefits for each of the participants is different.
For the timid, let me tell you that the vast majority of the time, people are happy to help… some may require additional motivation later to keep on track, but I’ve only been told no once… and in retrospect, that was probably for the better.
If you’re interested, check out this video by Jared Matthew Kessler who writes a awesome blog!