In our latest issue of 4Ward! Magazine, In Focus looks at 14 Action steps to kick-start your career in 2014 and with that came some dare challenges...
One of which is the: Identify Your 20 Minute Mentor challenge, you can read about it here on page 10
As young professionals with so many questions at the beginning of your careers, it is essential for you to identify a few people in your field of interest to talk with and ask specific career or business questions. Asking the right people the right questions could mean a serious game changer in your work life.
However, it rests in your hands as a young professional to go out and create such opportunities.
So what is a mentor?
The best way I can explain this is to share with you, what my mentor once told me:
He said “You don’t know what you do not know”. It sounds quite simple and logical right?! ... Until you really start to think about it.
For me, this is exactly what a mentor is actually about. Someone who can help you think of the things you, as an inexperienced young professional, won’t think about yet, and through this you also learn how to ask the right kind of questions while you're building on your knowledge and work experience.
A mentor is supposed to be a little tough on you so don’t expect to be spoon fed. In fact, if you are serious about your career, then you will know that unless you do the work and train yourself you will never be able to stand on your own feet and make proper informed decisions, because you let others do it for you.
Use your career plan and work through it to find out which are your five most important career or business questions.
How to find a mentor
The best way to choose a mentor is by watching the person in action and seeing how he/she operates and achieve their set goals.
Afrikaans AYP’s can also listen to our talk on 93.4fm Radio Namakwaland on: Jou Loopbaan Mentor
If you feel inspired by them and believe you will learn something important from them, then the person might just be the right mentor for you.
The idea for now is that you find a few people that you know to talk to or that you know of only on a professional level. This way you can eliminate the emotional factor.
Remember that friends and family may mean well when they give advice, but it will almost always be safe advice because they care about you. But you are not looking for safe answers; you are looking for the real deal about your current career plans and goals.
It could be someone who works in your office building or perhaps your friends' parents own a successful business or maybe it’s the local restaurant owner. Whatever it is you are interested in doing there is always someone else who is already doing it and who will gladly help you.
Introduce yourself, say what it is you would like to do and then ask him/her
Now, when you come across someone who says ‘no’ to helping you, do not take it personally. Rather see him/her as your greatest mentor as this will teach you perseverance to continue until you have found the right answers or persons for your career quest.
Remember, the faster you get through the ‘no’s‘the closer you come to the ‘yes’s ‘.
Talk to a few people and get different perspectives, objections and advice based on your plan and goals. Then work through all the answers and decide on the most suitable next steps you need to take.
Do not be disappointed and give up if you do not find the answers you want to hear. In fact, you should approach the situation with a clear mind, and not ask the kind of questions based on what you want to hear, but rather ask the hard questions that is based on what you need to do to move forward with your goals.
Then when you find someone with whom you work well with and are able to give something in return, like weekend work or half day assistance at the office, ask if he / she would mind being your mentor for a certain period while you build on your skills and work experience, especially if you're a young entrepreneur .
We’d like to challenge you to find your 20 minute mentors and share the experience with us in the comment section below.
Tell us how you did it and how they were able to help you?
If you haven’t found a mentor as yet, then tell us who you would like as a mentor and why? 4
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