Everyone from athletes to the FLOTUS has a mentor or an advisor. This person or even a team of people may consist of older family members, a teacher, a coach or upper management in your field. The need to seek out a person you can call a mentor often comes from the desire to gain some insight on your future decisions in terms of your career and overall life. You may go through many mentors over the course of your life and it is very important to value the time you have with them because their advice may help you make some key decisions.
As women, female representation is important when we are trying to figure out this crazy life and balancing work and potentially family life. There are many women who do both beautifully and there are many of us who stumble a bit because let’s face it, life is hard sometimes! For me, finding a mentor who can relate to me on all fronts will have a better impact on the way in which I make decisions.
On the other end of the relationship is you and there is great responsibility in being a mentee. Many of us in our late 20s, early 30s are still in the phase when we are mentees and it’s important that we figure out what our role is. Carefully choosing and seeking out a person that you look up to and that you can also trust to give you genuine, truthful and realistic advice is our responsibility. Once we have done that, the next step is to figure out how you will use this opportunity and time with this person. Determine some key questions to spark the initial conversation with your mentor that will set the stage for your relationship and in turn give you some good insight about your mentor as a person.
1. What has been your biggest failure and what have you learned from it?
Failures foster more life lessons than any successes can. Asking your mentor about the lessons learned from some of their low points throughout their career can tell you a story of how to overcome many things. Your mentor can potentially guide you on how to handle difficult people, how to make or accept tough decisions and even how to recognize opportunities all through failures.
2. What is the best way to prioritize my goals/my day?
I don’t know about you but the older I get the more hectic my schedule gets. Here, mentors can give you a glimpse in to how busy their day can be and how they prioritize each thing. They may use a planner to organize the list of things that need to be completed by the end of the day or by the end of the week. Others may focus the conversation on what time to wake up and a strict time to go to bed with accomplishments in between. And my favorite piece of advice is asking your mentor what and who to focus on each day; this may include staying off of social media between 9-5 or only committing to 2-3 clients meeting per day.
3. How can I begin planning for my next promotion?
This question can be tailor for your individual careers. Ask them how you should be planning for that “next level.” Goals are achievable through PLANNING! Seek advice about the methods that go in to different forms of planning which may include meeting the right people, maybe adding some more learning/education and/or determining the pre-requisites needed to go from assistant to manager or assistant editor to editor in chief for example.
4. How do I set myself a part from my peers? How do I stand out amongst the crowd?
The reason you have chosen your mentor is probably based on the fact that there is something about them that is unique. The goal is to be unique as well. Regardless of your career/profession, there will probably be others who provide the same services or have the same role. Ask your mentor the skillsets/qualities you need to adopt in order to be the front runner and the shining star!
5. What advice could you give me to succeed in my non-traditional career?
In some traditional careers such as banking and education, the career path is somewhat standard but for many of the millennial entrepreneurs, our career trajectory is not as straight-forward. Here, your mentor can give you some tips on untraditional ways of standing out within your field. This can include how to maximize your success using social media or how to brand yourself to your online audience.
Support throughout our careers is very important for success. Always try to seek advice and be accepting of it. Try out these first five questions and continue to build your relationship with your mentors![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]