People who can articulate the best, run companies.
This advice was given from a Russian man holding 3 PhDs in areas such as nuclear physics who owned 36 patents for his company. Despite all of his education, he knew that he would never run the company that he worked for and urged his intern to focus on communication skills.
This story was shared by the elder of two gentleman from the company that I interned for during their chat on mentorship. Knowing what areas of yourself to develop and focus on in order to succeed is the benefit of having a mentor.
What is a mentor and why do I need one?
A mentor is typically someone with more experience than you that offers their advice. You (yes, you) need one because these are people that can offer you insights or even a roadmap on how to to get to where you want to be in life. If you ever come upon a block, or start to feel stagnant in your career, they can provide you with ways to maneuver out of that.
How do I get a mentor?
“Never. Eat. Alone.”
This piece of advice was emphasized throughout the talk as the concept is that every individual you meet can be a “mentor” even with just one conversation. By eating with others and developing relationships, you will be able to create connections that may eventually become an long-term mentor. You never want to outright ask someone to be a mentor, but rather follow up with them after your meetings and continue to grow the relationship. If you’re wondering where to find a mentor, the answer is everywhere. Your colleagues who have worked longer than you, the person that you meet in the lunch line, professors, bosses, literally anyone!
Who should be my mentor?
The ideal mentor would be someone that has achieved something or some position in life that you also want to achieve. However, you don’t want to limit yourself to only seeking out mentors that look like you (i.e. same gender and race). Instead, you want to seek out mentors from many differing backgrounds as they will offer multiple perspectives. Why would you need multiple perspectives? So that you can be exposed to new ideas and ways to solve problems. Sticking with a narrow viewpoint can actually be detrimental as you won’t open yourself to the many ways to go about solving a problem.
A piece of parting advice
In some way, shape, or form, we have all had mentors that have guided us in our lives. We may not have recognized it, but they’re present. Just because we have these relationships come to us naturally doesn’t give us an excuse to not actively seek other mentors out. Mentors can offer guidance and save you time and frustration on your life path. Can you imagine wasting 5 years of your life trying to build something when you could’ve had a 10 minute talk with someone telling you that it’s already been built? That’s what life without targeted mentors is like. So go out there, build relationships, and never eat alone.
peace + love