Mentorship is one of the best ways to nurture your career. Lisa Lannon, co-author of ‘The Social Capitalist’, says having a mentor is a critical part of a successful business strategy.
“A good mentor helps inspire you, push you, drive you and helps you connect to others,” she explains. “They help you open your mind and help prepare you for everything that’s out there.”
A key benefit to having a mentor is that they are already established in your field. Consequently, they know a lot more about the industry than you do – and a lot more people.
You know the saying, it’s not what you know but who you know? With a well-connected mentor, their network becomes yours.
This is a huge part of the mentor/mentee relationship. For example, Lisa tells the following story about when her husband, Josh, met one of his most influential mentors, Chris Spencer:
“[Chris] was the founder of the treatment centre that Josh had gone to for rehab. He saw something in Josh and started planting the idea in his head that he could do something great and possibly even open his own facility one day.”
“Josh decided to take Chris up on his mentorship offer and that started the 16-year relationship we have with him.”
“We still call him up and pick his brain about the industry and the trends. We never worry about sharing information with each other because in the industry that we are in, addiction is the competition, not other facilities.”
Chris’s belief in Josh gave him the confidence to build his business, which is now a highly respected organisation focused on addiction and PTSD recovery for veterans.
Wouldn’t it be better to learn from someone else’s mistakes than your own? Mentors have been there before and can share their wisdom.
“I can’t tell you how many times I have said, ‘If only I had someone that warned me about the consequences’,” Lisa says, “or ‘If someone would have given me advice, I would have done things differently.’”
A mentor can save you a lot of time (and expense!) by helping you make better decisions from the start.
A mentor can give you access not only to their network and their experience, but also their knowledge of the industry. They may be aware of opportunities you’ve been missing, or maybe they can get you a plus-one to an important industry event.
These are opportunities that you won’t have access to without them—which is, in itself, an invaluable resource.
Lisa explains that she met one of her most significant mentors, sales and leadership trainer Blair Singer, at a seminar:
“Years ago, I was at one of Blair’s leadership trainings and had a huge roadblock that I could not find my way around. But somehow, Blair was able to help me realise what was holding me back.”
“It wasn’t easy. I was vulnerable and had a room full of strangers watching me go through the process with Blair, but the work it took and the clarity it brought me was well worth it.”
Seminars bring together experts in specific fields, which makes them a fantastic place to make connections that can propel your personal and business development forward.
Those connections may not come from where you expect, either. We get feedback all the time after our events that the people in the room were as inspiring (if not more!) than those on stage.
Who says a mentor has to be someone you’ve met in person? When you read a book or an article that speaks to you, why not reach out to the author?
“[Robert and Kim Kiyosaki] were probably the first real mentors that Josh and I had,” Lisa says. “We were given ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ one day and it opened our eyes to the business world.”
The important thing is to start: reach out, attend lectures, participate in a community. You never know where it may lead.
“The Kiyosakis continue to be strong mentors to Josh and me even today,” says Lisa. “We are grateful every day to continue to learn and grow from their guidance.”
Try finding a seminar near you – we’re always adding new events, or look for a professional organisation in your community.Why Professional Women Need to Support One Another