When you think of mentors, what pops into your mind? Maybe a higher-up colleague who trains in the newest team member or a college student who supports and encourages a high school friend throughout the years? To me, mentors are individuals who follow us through many more stages of life. In fact, I still rely on my greatest guides to bring me upward from where I’m at today.
Mentors Are Needed at Every Stage
As Harvard Business Review states, “CEOs need mentors, too.” The faces behind this intriguing study followed a multitude of business people from their entry into the field to the top. They found that most received mentorship early on, but the trend died down as their positions rose. However, the individuals still felt the need for mentorship as they grew. They needed someone who had “been there, done that” as they arose to face new challenges in their daily careers.
How did the CEOs find what they were looking for?
By reaching out to field experts who’d gone before them, even though they worked for separate corporations.
My Experience with Mentorship
As a business owner, I of course need to reach outside of my walls to gain understanding from others who’ve accomplished similar tasks before me. Throughout the process of building businesses, selling them, and starting again throughout the years, I’ve learned that every aspect of my career is simpler and more successful when I have someone leading me along the way.
A few reasons for this:
I respond well to mentorship
I appreciate the added support and encouragement
I’m able to learn effectively from those who’ve gone before me
I sincerely value all of the information I’ve learned from these incredible individuals throughout my career
One of my most significant mentors, John Gamba, recently hosted me as a guest on his Webinar, an experience I’m grateful for and hope to have more of in the future.
John helps me grow professionally with advice over coffee and opportunities like the one mentioned above, but he also helps me excel in other unique ways.
Most recently, he recommended a powerful book, “Letters to a Young Poet,” by Rainer Maria Rilke — a resource that’s made a lasting impact on my life as a whole.
Great mentors don’t just tell you what to do, they put things in your hands and in your head to help you learn and grow on your own terms.
Finding Your Ideal Mentor
So, mentors leave a lasting impact, but how do you find them?
Begin by expanding your professional network, following inspirational individuals, and reaching out to them when the time feels right. You may be surprised by their desire to help other entrepreneurs and business owners excel past a point they were once in themselves.
The study we looked into above recommends looking for these characteristics in new mentor relationships as well:
Someone who is 10-15 years ahead of you in the business world
Someone you can trust — and who trusts you, too
Someone who will work with set boundaries and confidentiality agreements
Someone who’s willing to schedule time to meet with you
Someone who inspires the work you want to achieve
No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, finding a mentor is the perfect next step to take. Remember the benefits, consider inspiring options, and set out to form a lasting relationship that will lead you to even greater places in the future.