You have goals, things you want to do in your life, stuff you want to achieve.
While it’s vital that you’re willing to do the hard work, know this: there are probably a number of people you already know who can help you on your way. We call these people mentors. What we do is based on mentorship but our mentors aren’t the only mentors you can have in life. In fact, having a number of different mentors who range from knowing you well, to being mere acquaintances can enable you to stay inspired, focused, and on track.
So who are these mentors and where do you find them?
Mentor #1 – Your Ally, Close to Home
This mentor knows you and knows you well. They know how important your career is to you and they care deeply about seeing you succeed. They also care about your overall wellbeing and happiness. Sound familiar? These mentors are often parents, grandparents, older (or even younger) siblings, best friends, and cousins. This mentor is someone who can remind you of the big picture goals you’re trying to achieve, they can give you that pep talk to help get you looking on the bright side again, and they can use tough love to point out when you’re off-track.
Mentor #2 – A Friend, NOT Your BFF
This friend knows your personality, what you’re like on a day-to-day basis but they’re not so close that they’re who you typically go to for emotional support. Their proximity as “close” but not super-close means they’re the mentor who will have a certain amount of distance i.e. perspective when you come to them for advice. While this person knows you, they don’t know that much about your business or the inner-workings of the industry you’re trying to break into. Rather, these mentors often have keen objectives of their own, stuff they’re trying to do with their lives. Friends who fit into this category are often students or hardworking, go-getter types who are invested in their own success. They should be the people who can give it to you straight and tell you when you’re spiraling out of control by working too many hours or when you’re acting stressed out, depressed, or otherwise different than your normal self.
Mentor #3 – Doesn’t Know You At All but Knows Business in General
This kind of mentor doesn’t know you personally and they don’t know much or anything at all about the industry in which you are building your career. These people are general “business people” and oftentimes their jobs are as managers, business owners, analysts or business coaches.
Because this mentor doesn’t know you and they don’t know much about the industry you’re looking to make your mark in, they can remind you of the big picture stuff that may be off your radar and when given the necessary information by you, they can help you weigh your options and guide you towards making logical decisions. These mentors can often be found online in forums like Quora and Ask MetaFilter. While the speakers at TED Talks can’t serve as one-on-one mentors, their talks can often be the source of information you can take and apply to achieving your own pursuits.
Mentor #4 – Your Competitor or Future Competitor
Now why on earth would you want to go to a competitor for advice? Because they’re the ones who share the same goal, have insider knowledge on what it takes to get there, and they’ll give it to you straight regardless of your feelings. Sure, communication with a competitor can be difficult. By definition a competitor will be looking to preserve their own best interests so yes, they can often be less than forthcoming. Nevertheless, a civil and balanced conversation where you both agree to pick each other’s brains can yield amazing results that far outweigh concerns about sharing information. And remember, not only the answers, but the questions posed by either of you can often throw a light on what needs further work or looking into. These conversations can be very inspiring for both parties. If you’re not comfortable conversing with a fellow competitor, connect with someone in another city or state.
Learn more about our mentored-apprenticeship programs in film, music, radio broadcasting, and the culinary arts: