“The point is that when it comes to friendships and mentorships, you give what you get.” -George Ilian
Out of all the 11 players or factors, this is the one that is probably the most important but is rarely spoken about or taught.
Mentors play a crucial role in any career journey. Take any line of work- arts, entertainment, technology, politics, sports or business- and you will find a highly influential mentor behind every successful person in the arena. In fact, all great achievers will list their mentors as one of the top reasons they could set themselves apart from the competition. Yet, for reasons I don’t understand completely, it is not taken to be of very great importance in the corporate environment. It may be this way because most realize the importance of good mentorship very late in their careers, by when it’s too late to build a strong relationship or derive much guidance as a result of it. Another reason may be that people make the mistake of thinking they know everything when they progress far enough in their careers. Finally, good mentors are so hard to come by, that they are treated as state secrets by people who are lucky enough to have them.
I know that most corporates have some kind of mentoring program or the other. But I am not talking about those mentors who exist because of some process of compliance within the system. I am talking about the kind of mentors with whom you could have a really good friendship and who are genuinely interested in your growth. You would be really lucky to get such a mentor in the normal course of affairs. Most often you will have to work hard to find someone who is good. But if you manage to get one very early in your career, then I can guarantee you that you will outshine your competition. Why is it that mentorship is so effective? It’s because your mentor will guide you through the optimal path of success, which they would have learnt from experience. It will save you a lot of time and tears to learn from their mistakes.
Although your mentor can be from outside the organization, it is always better if they are from inside, as every organization and its practices can be fairly unique. So do your career a massive favor and find a great mentor if you don’t have one. It will take time, but once you find them, you will thank me.