💡 Invincible Tip - See the Mentors Around You (Issue #440)
Will you recognize them when you see them?
Join my next live Career Q&A session on March 27th! Send me your LinkedIn profile and I’ll select a few examples to give my feedback about how to improve them.
Everyone and everything can provide mentorship if you are willing to hear the message.
What do I mean by this? Well, George Saunders explained this concept exceedingly well in his article last year.
This section gets to the heart of the idea that mentoring is all around you. Obviously, it doesn’t just apply to writing.
If we try to consider all the experiences we have while writing as forms of mentoring, then….they will be. Rejection can teach us, acceptance can; an indifferent teacher can, as can a teacher who loves what we’re doing. A dry spell can teach us, a personal loss can, a brilliant, beautiful period can, a new love, a lost love – you name it. Our talent (we are going to assume) is always alert, absorbing everything, being altered and tuned by whatever happens.
Every wall we hit, every updraft we experience, every fragment of praise or hurtful rudeness is doing some work on our talent. It’s up to us, whether the effect is going to ultimately be corrosive or additive.
There are useful lessons you can glean from every good or bad experience. We also need people we trust who can help mentor us through the use of:
Some mentors may not have time to mentor you directly, but you can learn a great deal by observing their behavior. I’ve had many mentors in my life who were probably not even aware of their impact. They were successful in ways I dreamed of becoming one day, so I paid attention to everything they said and did.
Other “mentors,” if you can call them that, provided anti-patterns. For example, I worked for some truly terrible leaders in the past. I wanted to be nothing like them, so I observed their words and actions, and swore I would never be a horrible leader like that.
When you trust people who have achieved the success you desire for yourself, you are willing to accept their guidance. Some mentors have the time to provide direct advice they think will help you in your situation. Books and online resources have made it possible for you to learn from thousands of smart people all over the world. Also, some of the most useful guidance in my life has come from those who are no longer with us.
Coaching is a bit different from direct guidance. A mentor who guides you will often tell you what actions to take. A coach will collaborate with you to help create a course of action together. Coaches want you to “learn how to learn” since they know they can’t be with you providing guidance for the rest of your career (or life). My style is definitely more of a coaching model. I want you to learn how to guide yourself later!
Useful feedback doesn’t only need to come from people who are further along in their careers than you are. If you have trusted peers, colleagues, and that “inner circle of advisors” I always recommend, you have some great people who can provide helpful feedback when you’re trying to navigate important decisions. Make use of them! Just remember to return the favor and provide feedback when they need help, too.
Sometimes, we know exactly what we need to do and we are already taking action. But that doesn’t mean that the journey will be easy. Almost every significant change or improvement you make in your career and life will be hard. There will be times you feel like giving up. That’s normal! It’s in those dark moments of doubt that you need encouragement the most. Find those trusted people in your life who will lift you up and help you keep going. That’s one reason I created my career community! We encourage and support each other, even when no one else can or will.
Finally, the people you trust can help mentor you by holding you accountable. You already know what to do and you may even have a plan, but you’re simply not taking action (or you’re making slow progress). People who care about you want to see you succeed. They won’t coddle you. Instead, they’ll kick you in the butt and give you the push you need to keep making progress.
Mentors all around
Folks often mistakenly believe there is one magical mentor who will help them achieve outstanding success in life. If they can find this person, their troubles will be over.
Is that possible? Maybe.
But, do you want to keep waiting until you find your Obi-Wan or Yoda (sorry, nerd moment)? Who has time for that?
Life is too short to not take advantage of the many mentors who are already available around you. Seize those moments, build those relationships, and continue to grow every day.
Hi, I’m Larry Cornett, a Personal Coach who can work with you to optimize your career, life, or business. My mission is to help you take complete control of your work and life so you can become a more “Invincible You.” I currently live in Northern California near Lake Tahoe with my wife and our Great Dane. We’re still snowed in and lost power for about a week. Guess what I had to do a few days ago?