6 Minute Career Climb Tip of the Day: Never buy in to limitations. Instead, find ways to make things happen. Wow. 6 Minute Career Climb: You, Inc. hit a nerve, not just with me who can say with 100% certainty that my career has suffered because I never had a mentor, sponsor, or advisor.
Watch the video here:
I remember friend Chief of Surgery, who I met as a local reporter, listening to my frustrations that my dreams and ambitions were not moving fast enough or gulp (!) had stalled. "You don't have a mentor, do you," he gently chided over wine.
Ummm. No, which made me identify with @Ana, founder and editor of a blog and website and former television producer: "I now I need a mentor, but have a really hard time figuring out how to get one. I've been kind of 'making up' my new career as I go and don’t really have anyone to go to bounce ideas off. I have plenty of amazing friends I can trust and that push me ahead, but missing that essential piece of someone way ahead of the game that can guide me. Is it the same when you work independently as it is when you’re part of a larger corporation?"
Good question: Identify your board members using both these 6 strategies that draw from Fortune 500 companies and women's Sixth Sense:
- Observe: whose success do you admire at your company, in or outside your field, through professional and alumni organizations, neighbors? What's her/his style? What does s/he like?
- Audit: or conduct a thorough background check: What are her/his creds, trajectory, connections?
- Balance: what are members' strengths. Does your board cover all your career bases?
- Approach: Time Warner exec Daisy Auger-Dominguez warns against asking, "do you want to be my mentor?" But approach your potential board members, who are just that and not mind readers. If someone says no, it's best to find out soon.
- Nurture: genuinely, this relationship: Did an article or an event catch your eye that might interest this person? Treat to lunch, coffee, dinner, and offer your expertise. The best relationships are reciprocal.
- Network through your passions: @Marisa, a journalist, independent filmmaker, musician, and actor writes, "What helped me beyond my wildest imagination was getting actively involved in organizations that allowed me to be surrounded by my peers, and learn from them while fulfilling my passions. When your peers see what you're made of - your energy, your skills potential, your commitment, creativity, passion and your authenticity, they will embrace you."
@Carol, a retired professional, says she had "wonderful" and long relationships with male and female mentors: "It is a two-way street. You should be willing to reach out of your comfort zone if you are a minority in the workplace. I have to say that there was never a formal moment of asking someone to be my mentor. It just happened because of the warmth that was felt on both sides so the feeling develops that you know you can ask for help or feedback confidentially and receive it."
I never experienced what @Carol did, nor was I "chosen." I don't think it was because the people I identified as potential mentors are bad people or didn't believe in my potential. They just didn't choose to invest because they were too busy. After all, it's easy to say, "Way to Go!" It takes time to reflect: you really blew it, this is why, and while you're learning, this is the key to recovering. And if they are in a position to go to bat for you, they'll do it.
Board of You, Inc.
That's a lot to ask of one person, which is where the idea of creating a board made up of mentors, advisors, and sponsors of You, Inc. The idea is that those who sit on your board will guide you at different stages in your career. Daisy uses the metaphor of shoes: your sandals are for everyday, your sneaks will help you go the distance, and your stilettos are the fancy schmancies with the clout and contacts to take you to the top.
Social Media Consultant @Blanca is inspired to jump start Blanca, Inc.: "Most of the time, we think of a board when someone has a large organization. Your sharing this video and interview with Daisy gave me some great thoughts for projects I would like to implement soon."
The chair of Marisa, Inc., shares, "Never buy in to limitations - instead, find ways to make things happen. Always visualize success, declare your goals, be bold and keep networking (I promise it will eventually come naturally.)"
Building the board of You, Inc. is going to take time and effort, both in short supply as we multi-task. You already invested in your education and getting your foot in the door. Why retire from your career just as you're crossing the threshold?
Next 6 Minute Career Climb:
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Please share: What are the secrets to your professional success?
What career topics would you like TWLC’s 6 Minute Career Climb to tackle?