As a young professional entering the business world, mentoring was a foreign concept to me. I had heard the term but didn’t understand the importance of it or more importantly, how to find a mentor. It wasn’t until I was blessed with the opportunity to connect with a leader internally who took me under his wing that I began to realize the value in mentorship. He taught me how to be intentional with approaching my personal development, utilizing a development plan, setting goals, and holding myself accountable. He was not there to tell me what to do or lecture on me on what I should and shouldn’t do, he was there to share his wisdom and advice with me. As a mentee, it is priceless to hear directly from a leader who has experienced far more than us and who is much further along in their career. To hear what has worked well for them, what they had to learn the hard way, and how they have developed themselves throughout their career.
Mentoring has become such a key part of my personal development because once I understood more about it, I have been able to be vulnerable and ask more people in my network if they would consider mentoring me and this broadened the knowledge and resources I now have access to. Maybe there is someone in a different industry or with a specific skillset who could provide a unique perspective to a challenge you are facing or a project you are leading. My life was instantly impacted in a positive way when I found a mentor since I had access to someone with more experience, exposure, and education than me. Someone who was eager to give back and help.
When it comes to finding a mentor, it can be challenging. You can’t expect them to come to you. I believe you first must have a relationship with someone who is servant hearted and who cares about you as a person. These are the people who are most likely willing to share their time and knowledge to invest in you. There are mentoring programs available inside many companies, and even some external programs in the community. I help manage and support the LatinXNA Mentoring Program and connect experienced leaders within the community to eager mentees looking to develop themselves. It is free to join and provides participants with all the training, resources, and support needed to have a successful mentoring engagement!
Mentorship has changed my life and I am eager to turnaround and leverage what my mentors have taught me to serve as a mentor to someone who may be where I was at.