I’ve experienced this myself, the effects of great mentors. Having been on both sides of the spectrum, once as a mentor and twice as a mentee, I’ve learned the value of truthful guidance in achieving your goals. In my time spent in Italy working with the artisans at various corset ateliers, I was taught about the power of constructing the foundation of a solid silhouette. Similarly, my teachers in business taught me about building a marketable and sustainable company, which are two solid foundations of running a successful brand.
Key attributes of a mentor are that they are passionate about their job, and that they believe in you and your goals. Empathy and truthfulness are also extremely important qualities, as they will be helping you build and shape your future. You may think that your passion and drive will take you places – and they will – but to become a dynamic, insightful and effective leader you will have to allow yourself to be led and you must listen. You should be challenged and inspired by your mentor and they will inspire you.
And isn’t it nice to know you don’t have to do it on your own and that there is someone in your corner? Mistakes will be made and you will learn from them. The insight of someone who has made their own mistakes, and who has seen and experienced failings of their own, yet risen above them, is valuable and pragmatic. A good mentor is to teach you how to persevere when you are wanting to give in.
Here are some additional pointers for you when conducting a search for a mentor, and these apply no matter what stage of your career you are at. Suggestions that I found successful are:
- Surround yourself with people who are more experienced than you, smarter than you, and don’t be intimidated – what they can teach you is of the utmost value. Knowledge is power.
- Network, always network. When networking and you meet someone that is a possible candidate, set up a time to go for a coffee. Suggest a time and place that is convenient for them. And be sure you follow up with a “thank you” after the meeting – good manners and proper business etiquette is always remembered.
- Seek like-minded industry professionals who can bring a fresh perspective to your vision and help you grow.
In today’s competitive market, it bodes well for you to nurture and build on the skills you have – realize what your niche is – what separates you. To have a good mentor to teach and help you see your potential while guiding you down the path to success is worth everything – invest in yourself!