Lifehack 101, no one does it all alone. If you consider your daily routine, at some point, you are usually listening to your favorite podcast (s/o: Side Hustle Pro by Nicala Matthews Okome), following influential people across social and let’s not forget about our celebrity mentors. A few of my favorites: Oprah, Beyonce, and Phylicia Rashad. To me, they represent all we can achieve in our personal and professional lives, when we live fearlessly.
This same motivation is absolutely needed and necessary at work. So often, we feel like we have to separate our personal and professional lives. That is 100% impossible to do. You are who you are, no matter where you are. So using similar life hacks at work = winning. That said, strategically engaging with people who have been where you want to be and have gone where you want to go at work is the secret sauce to career success.
Said another way, mentor and mentee relationships are essential to career progression.
You are probably thinking, how do I find the mentor that is right for me? Or stepping out of my comfort zone makes me uncomfortable. Or, once I find a mentor, how do I reach out and get connected?
Don’t worry, as your virtual mentor and self-proclaimed chief connector, I’m going to bless you with gems on how to increase your career progression and corporate currency, with the help of mentors.
First things first, let’s find a mentor.
The best place to start is where you work. Pending your company’s size, location and focus, there are various ways to go about selecting a mentor. I recommend reaching out to your HR department to understand if there is an existing mentor, mentee program. If there is one, there will be a running list of the participating mentors and their availability.
From there, identify two people you are interested in connecting with, one mentor that is in your area of expertise and one that is somewhat removed from your day to day lane but close enough to provide meaningful insight. Reach out through email and once the connection has been made, you’ll be on your way to scheduling your first session!
Big piece of advice here, this person cannot be your boss. Trust me, you need to be able to have real-deal conversations without the manager-employee boundary getting in the way.
So now that we have the where down, let’s discuss the why. According to Black Enterprise, there are 5 main reasons why mentors matter. I’ve added the TL; DR version below:
- Accountability partner – they hold space for your goals and remind you of your self-made commitments
- Save Time and Energy – you can skip the mistakes and get straight to the gems
- Reduce the Learning Curve – overtime they’ve developed efficient ways of working than enhance growth, now you can learn those too
- Help Avoid Costly Mistakes – wondering how to keep the job you want, they’ll tell you the why and the how
- Follow A Blueprint – all the while, they’ve been taking notes to one day help someone in your shoes
I’m adding one more reason why mentors are important, you can leverage their social capital and currency in a way that influences your upward mobility. In 2020, social currency and advocacy are essential ways that your career can catapult beyond your expectations.
With these tips, I can guarantee that there will be a shift in your career, so much that you’ll need to read my negotiating your salary like a boss blog post!
Now that you know why mentors are important you have a responsibility to reach back and bring others along, keeping the legacy of collective growth alive.
As Tiffany R. Warren, founder of ADCOLOR, always says, we rise up to reach back.
How will you take these learnings and give back? Comment below.
*although the pictures above highlight Digitas as the hosting space for our mentorship moment, views are my own.