In these lean economic times, we need to broaden our horizons. Just like an “interception” in football, we need to look for opportunities in non-traditional places. We can go to more networking meetings. Also, this is a good time to think about mentors.
This is a two-way street. Have a mentor. Be a mentor. You learn and grow from both.
Football players usually have a high school or college coach whom they look to as one of their first mentors. Sometimes it’s a veteran player on their team they really admire, who’s taken them under his wing. Whatever our football player goes on to achieve, he will almost always cite this mentor whenever he’s thanking people, usually right up there with Mom and God. Good company.
At the Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony every year, the honorees are moved to tears when thanking these mentors in their speech. Several honorees choose a mentor to “present” them first before they speak. More speeches, more tears, very schmaltzy. Yet another thing we women love about football.
Our football player also pays some of his success forward. He’ll start a scholarship fund for his high school football program. He’ll coach a local Little League team. He’ll set up a foundation to benefit people in need. Thus, he now becomes a mentor.
WE CAN DO THE SAME.
To find a mentor, look for people who have what you want to have and do what you want to do. Identify someone you can look up to, who challenges you. It’s usually best to seek someone of good character, someone who shares your values and ethics. Mentors can be a support and lend a listening ear.
Meet them, talk to them, ask them questions. Most people respond to someone who is genuinely interested in them. To establish yourself with this mentor, don’t be a pest. Ask how you can help. Volunteer for tasks they need done. People tend to open up to someone offering to pitch in and help move the ball down the field.
As for mentoring, you rarely learn anything really well until you teach it. By sharing your expertise, you’re forced to analyze it in a way you may never have seen it. It makes you aware of your strengths and weaknesses. As a mentor, you control the process in the mentoring relationships. Set the agenda to include:
- Getting to know each other: trust building.
- Discuss objectives of the relationship.
- Set up an agenda, time line and regular meeting times.
- Always schedule time to evaluate pluses and minuses.
Mentoring gives you a new way of approaching your own pursuits. You are confirming something out loud to yourself as you tell someone else, which throws a whole new light on the subject. So when you’re giving, you’re getting at the same time.
And you never know where your mentee will end up: Hall of Fame, Academy Awards, Nobel Prize. . . and they may end up thanking you!
About Mimi Donaldson
Diva Toolbox Contributor Mimi Donaldson empowers and assists people in realizing and achieving their full human potential. A renowned speaker, trainer and author, she’s been a consultant to Fortune 500 companies for more than 20 years, energizing and motivating people in companies such as Proctor & Gamble and Farmers Insurance on stress reduction, time management, leadership and communication. A Masters graduate of Columbia University, she previously worked as a human resources trainer for Northrop Aircraft, Rockwell International and Walt Disney. Mimi is also the co-author of two books, Bless Your Stress: It Means You’re Still Alive! (2006) and Negotiating for Dummies (1996). Visit www.mimidonaldson.com or call 310.557.0229.
To purchase her new book, Necessary Roughness: New Rules for the Contact Sport of Life, go to: http://www.mimidonaldson.com/asp/shop_books.asp
It makes a great gift!