Updated: Aug 26, 2021
What’s the last piece of truly useful advice you were given? A piece of advice that went beyond being inspirational in the moment, and was something that you could take and turn into real action. The kind of action that would lead to you being able to level up in your career? If it’s been a while, then I’d recommend getting yourself a mentor. If you’ve got a mentor and things have stalled, it may be worth reinvigorating that relationship.
I was recently reminded by my mentor, that there is no one else like me. Sounds simple, but there’s more! There is not one other person on this planet, who has my specific experiences, skills and can do what I do, the way I do it. This is something that I should be leveraging professionally. These words reminded me of an exercise I did a few months earlier, Clifton Strengths. Gallup Consultancy developed Clifton Strengths after decades of research. Their research states that the odds are 1 in 33 million of someone else having your top 5 strengths (based on their unique list) in the exact same order. Understanding your strengths is a key step to your growth.
So a few months on, this reminder was exactly what I needed to hear at a very specific time to enable me to sharpen my focus.
It’s important to remember that your mentor isn’t there to just give you the answers...that will limit your personal growth, which makes active listening very important. I took this advice, and looked at myself as a new venture, and wrote out my personal value proposition. If you’ve not written a personal value proposition previously, I’d highly recommend it. Although value propositions are mostly used by businesses to show the uniqueness of their products and services, the process of writing a personal value proposition is a great foundation for your career strategy. Arielle.com is a great place to start, and has an article that asks some great questions:
What does the market need
What do you have to offer and
What motivates you
This is one of the things that I love about a great mentor, it’s the comments, stories, and questions that help you push yourself. And this is also why I think it’s important to have more than one mentor. I’m a learner, I love to learn and when you’re having dedicated conversations with more than one person focused on your development, you’re going to learn more than a thing or two!
I’m in a position, where I’ve been able to connect with some amazing people over the course of my career, and access is a barrier for many. Remember, when you’re looking for a mentor, you’re not looking for a guru, so be open. Be open to people who may not be anything like you and be open to people in different careers and industries. Don’t hold out waiting for access to the most senior person in your organisation. Consider a friend, who may be just ahead of you in a specific area and think about how you can grow together. Join a network, hey….join a book club; you never know who you’ll meet along the way.