A feel-good Friday post: The magic of mentors

September 26, 2008 at 1:29 pm (inspiration, Personal Growth)

I had dinner with one of my favorite mentors last night (Nicole Rodrigues of Voce Communications), and it reminded me of how essential it is to have mentors guiding your professional life, no matter what industry you work in.

I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to hear from someone older, wiser, and more experienced than me. All of our dinner conversations over the years have given me invaluable guidance about planning for the career path that will bring me to my goals and dreams.

I have so many mentorsĀ  it might seem ridiculous to some – about 10 total – but in my mind, you can never have too many. Especially when mentors can come to you from so many different areas of your life: Your parents, significant others, close friends, colleagues present and former, teachers and professors…the list continues on.

The important thing is to make sure you always have someone you trust that can be an advisor, sounding board, and all-around rock as you navigate through the treacherous waters of life.

In particular, one piece of advice Nicole gave me last night really resonated with me: Think of every step of your career as a stepping stone toward your ultimate goal.

Your first priority is to figure out where you ultimately want to end up, and every decision you make in your career should support that vision. A lot of times it’s easy to get mired in the day-to-day grind, and before you know it, months and then years go by in the blink of an eye. How do you know you’ll be where you want to be? The only way is to consistently evaluate your life and career goals and make sure you’re staying on track.

Getting a mentor is step one. Good mentors will give you candid and honest advice and look out for your best interest whether you’re going through a rough patch or celebrating your successes.

Need a mentor and don’t know where to start? There are a lot of resources out there, but here are a few of my faves:

I’m also a big believer in paying-it-forward, so I try to be a good mentor to my friends and colleagues as well. I want to be just as open and available to others as my mentors are to me, especially because the newcomers of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Building those relationships early will always come back to you with positive karma.

[The above image, I Will Give You An Advice by ambergris on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]


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