Getting mentors who were bigger, better and badder than me at an early age was probably the best business decision I ever made.
If you’re not around people who are playing a bigger game than you – you’re not in the right place.
But simply because you’re around the right people doesn’t mean you’re going to fully benefit from them if you don’t know the best course of action to take.
One of the best ways to get ahead in business is by finding someone to mentor you. A mentorship is more than just instruction; it’s an interactive relationship that provides you a firsthand education in what it takes to get ahead. However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, a mentorship can be a waste of time or the end to a friendship.
So always begin a mentorship with clear expectations. You may feel like it’s inappropriate to begin with a mentor by telling them what you expect, but this is far better than wasting their time because they never had a clue what you wanted from them. If your mentor is unable or unwilling to provide you with what you need, thank them for their time and look elsewhere.
While many people may volunteer to mentor you without any hopes of receiving anything in return, that’s no reason not to repay them in some way. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to show your gratitude. If you can think of a way to repay them, professionally, that will probably be very appreciated.
However, the best way to show your appreciation is by valuing their time. So, long before you take on a mentor, make sure it’s something to which you can truly dedicate yourself. Canceling a meeting every now and then is reasonable. Doing so constantly or showing up unprepared or uninterested will do more harm than good. You also need to be certain you have enough time outside of your meetings to follow their advice.
If time is not a problem for you, then perhaps you’re doing yourself a disservice by only taking on one mentor. There’s no rule that says you can only be mentored by one person at any given time. As long as you can give each mentor the time it takes to make the most out of the opportunity, take on as many as you can.
In order to get the most from a mentor, it’s important you have goals set out and that you plan far ahead in order to reach them. They should be made aware of these goals, as well. Don’t forget about their input. Part of being a mentor means helping you with your goals even when they concern the mentorship as well. Always view a mentorship as something you both have equal say in and you’ll get more from it in the long run.
Although a mentorship may seem like an easy enough thing to benefit from, you still have plenty of work to do.
But trust me, it’s so worth it.
And remember: If you’re the biggest fish in your pond…your pond is too small.