mentors

You Made a Difference

Coming home recently after spending time with some amazing people in my network, I felt particularly blessed. Somehow, I find myself at this point in my career surrounded by people I admire, respect and value. They have all contributed to my success and my happiness in different ways.  I want to acknowledge just a few of them, though anonomously for their privacy. They will know who they are.

One of the first, most important of these, is the first manager of my professional career. She believed in me when I didn’t have any experience in the field of HR. All I had was a bit of  education and part-time experience in the legal industry. She saw something in me, and took pride in bringing it out. Thanks to her, I learned a LOT, and gained confidence in my abilities. I also got promoted, based in part on her recommendation.  Working with her was the springboard for my career.

Second were my leaders at SunTrust. Without fail, they were leaders of the highest quality. Ethical, encouraging and always pushing me beyond my comfort zone, to my benefit.  Though they were my managers, they were also my mentors.

Another is a woman with whom I’ve crossed paths many times in many ways, first as a graduate student, then as a trusted network contact and confidante, then as a colleague and leader, and as a mentor.  She taught me the true nature of networking and allowed me to get my feet wet in business development. Her spirit and competitive zeal motivate me.

I am also thankful for those current and former colleagues who referred business to me as I was just getting started in my consulting practice.  All of my business has come from referrals, so what they did for me cannot be overstated.

Last but not least, my students who I taught or coached. It’s a joy to be involved in your journey. I am inspired by all of you.

Thank you again to all those named and not named who touched my career. You made a difference!

Now, who do you need to acknowledge and thank in your career?

 

Career Wellness Checkup #17

Do you have a mentor outside your organization?

Last week, we discussed internal mentors and why you should have one.  Having a mentor outside your organization is also critical.  Why? Simply because they are not part of your corporate culture.

  • They will have a different view and can provide you perspective you wouldn’t otherwise have. Plus, it’s good to know what’s happening ‘out there’.
  • They have no skin in the game. They are not competing with you internally; they have no conflicting agenda that might shade their advice to you.
  • Life changes, business changes. If you should leave your company by choice or not, you need contacts and advocates and sounding boards who are not attached to your company and all the emotional baggage that may come with it.

Career Wellness Checkup #16

Do you have a mentor inside your organization?

Mentors are an important factor cited in study after study on career success.  If you are committed to your career success, you should not ignore the power of mentoring.

I’m not talking about waiting for your organization to tap you on the shoulder and offer you a place in a formal mentoring program (if it even has one).  A mentor can be formal or informal, long-term or short-term, broad or narrow-focused.  Yes, I’m using the term ‘mentor’ very broadly.

Formal mentoring programs can offer fantastic opportunities for growth, but what if the tap never comes?  And, even if it might some day, why wait?  Whether you use formal or informal channels, make having a mentor from inside your organization a priority.

Having mentors inside your organization is important because they are operating in the same world you are. They will be more familiar with the corporate culture, policies and processes, which can be of great help to you in navigating them. They also may end up serving as an advocate for you internally, and goodness knows, we can never have too many advocates.

CWC #11

Do you know who the power players are on your team? You know, the people who always seem to get their way, who make things happen. They are often the “emotional leaders” of the team, regardless of the formal position they hold. Perhaps you’re one of them. If not, and you want to be more effective or  influential in your business, consider getting to know them better.

  • They can be fantastic allies. When you need support for your project, see if you can sell them on the idea first. You may set a wave in motion that can carry you forward. Or, find out they have concerns that could stop the project.  Better to find out and address those concerns early.  
  • They can also be fantastic teachers, even without knowing it. Take a good look at these folks. What do they do that works so well to motivate others, above, below or around them? Maybe there is something you can learn and integrate into your mode of operation. (I call people like this “mentors from afar.”)

Think about it: What power players do you admire and what can you learn from them?