Why You Should Find a Mentor
Katherine Graham, the late owner and publisher of The Washington Post, said her mentor was Warren Buffet, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. Steven Leveen, co-founder and president of Levenger, said his mentor was Stanley Marcus, chairman emeritus of Neiman Marcus. Who’s your mentor?
Talk to any notable businessperson, and they probably had a mentor. In fact, aside from your spouse, your parents, and your children, it may become one of the most important relationships in your life. Mentors help you define your personal and professional philosophies, develop skills and abilities, and provide counsel as you lay out your plans. An effective mentor should be an outstanding role model whose guidance you are honored to follow—someone you’d like to emulate. It is a completely honest relationship with someone willing to show you the ropes, help you to understand your goals, and assist you in developing the plans to achieve those goals.
Selecting a mentor should be a deliberate process that takes into account that person’s success, character, and the common ground the two of you hold. What’s more, you want to learn from someone who is not only the best at what they do, but who also has succeeded with intelligence and integrity.
It’s also important to realize that mentoring is a two-way relationship, where there are interests and aspirations you share. You benefit from the mentor’s counsel, ideas, and life experiences; they benefit from the process of teaching and sharing. A true mentor will take satisfaction from seeing you achieve your potential. A truly caring and skilled mentor doesn’t look at you for what you are now, but sees what you will be and understands the role they can play in helping your realize your dreams.
But understand that a mentor’s time is valuable, their attention is sought after, and their interest is not to be taken lightly. Mentors became successful by exercising good judgment, and it’s up to you to make sure their investment in you is worthwhile. They are looking to help people who are driven to succeed. They are looking for passion, commitment, and willingness to learn.
Source: Adapted from Your First Year in Real Estate by Dirk Zeller (Prima Lifestyles, 2001)
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