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“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself ‘…I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Those powerful words of wisdom were written by Eleanor Roosevelt in her book, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life.
Though I never met Eleanor Roosevelt, I consider her one of my mentors. I reflected on Mrs. Roosevelt’s words every day as I earned a college degree while supporting myself financially.
I posted a card with her words on the mirror of the tiny room I rented near campus.
Her words inspired, motivated, and encouraged me through long days and demanding projects. It wasn’t easy, but I knew that gaining an education and earning a college degree were pivotal to my future.
Eleanor reminded me then, as she does now, that whatever challenge life or work presents to me, I can do more than I have ever imagined.
Every leader and emerging leader should find a variety of mentors, because you cannot grow into your full potential on your own. You will go further, faster with a mentor.
“But,” you might say, “it’s hard to find a mentor.” You’re right; there simply aren’t enough qualified people who have the time or commitment to be your mentor. Many people believe the only way they can be mentored is by one person with whom they meet regularly.
No so! There are mentors and mentoring opportunities all around you, and they come in many forms. The most successful people in work and life intentionally seek mentoring advice from a variety of sources.
Here are just a few examples of the variety of mentors in your life that will provide guidance, inspiration, and personal development advice. Seek them out, and they will:
Renew your perspective on how to overcome challenges and self-limiting beliefs. That’s what Eleanor Roosevelt has done for me through her words.
Give you “been there, done that” advice. Have you ever viewed a TED Talk that gave you reassurance about your work? Popular business author Daniel Pink has listed his Top 5 Favorite Talks on how to find greater success at work. Millions have changed their perspectives by putting these ideas into action.
Give you hands-on coaching to improve a key business skill. I recently spent four days at the SCORRE conference, where I learned a new paradigm for creating powerful communication.
This conference is unique in several ways. Perhaps most importantly, every attendee is organized into a small group and assigned 2 or 3 experts to coach them through the process of taking what you’ve learned and developing 3 presentations to give onsite.
As an executive and manager, I’ve written and spoken for years, yet the SCORRE conference gave me concentrated time to take my skills to a whole new level. Conferences are an essential way to get mentoring from a variety of individuals at the same time.
It sounds obvious, but many leaders don’t seek enough outside counsel. They do it alone, and miss out on perspectives that help them recognize and seize opportunities or overcome setbacks.
How do you grow as a leader and benefit from the variety of mentors around you?
Be open and intentional. Commit to at least one form of mentoring every day. Trust me; it will change your life.
“Commit to at lease one form of mentoring every day” – @cdmerrick CLICK TO TWEET
You may already have a mentoring relationship with someone you admire, or maybe you are looking for one. By taking advantage of all the mentoring opportunities around you, your mentoring relationship will be even more valuable.
To realize the most impactful mentoring relationship, you need to be prepared. Do what you can with other forms of mentoring, so that you can focus on what only your relational mentor can do.
Some people believe that the main benefit a mentor provides is in making introductions and opening doors. That is important, but you need to prove yourself to earn those valuable introductions. Availing yourself of other mentoring will prepare you and guarantee greater impact.