“The Best We Can Be” — Up Your Ante with a Mentor

“The Best We Can Be” — Up Your Ante with a Mentor

We understand that in sports there is a great coach behind every great player, and we celebrate these folks, but in work we somehow forget their importance. We leave behind what we learned in school athletics and approach our professional lives without giving much thought to coaching (or mentoring) or where to look to continue to build our skills and abilities and be the best we can be.

— Maynard Webb, Forbes

“The best we can be.” Isn’t that the goal?

Think back to someone who really impacted your life in a positive way. Maybe a parent, or a middle school teacher, or a trusted older friend with good listening skills you sought out at a confusing time of your life. Think about how you felt when good advice was given, grievances were aired, or you felt you learned something incredibly valuable.

In every case, a mentor brings something to the table that the mentee is lacking: experience.

To find the right mentor for you, have an honest conversation with yourself about your weaknesses. (If it makes you feel better, list your strengths first — lead with the positive!) Could you use some help with public speaking or giving presentations? Does your team feel adrift with you at the helm? Are you seriously talented at sales but pretty hopeless at marketing? What do you need to become the best you can be?

Once you’ve sorted that out, you’ll want to approach someone in the field who has the time, energy, and inclination to give back. Think about it: a mentor has already arrived at the place you’re dreaming of going and has the potential to take you on a journey you never could have imagined. He or she can give you encouragement or kickstart you in a direction and then continue to inspire you as you move forward.

And a good mentor is not a short-term thing: he or she is someone who will remain in a position of trust for the rest of your life. Who knows, you may even get a job offer or a valuable networking opportunity down the road as a result of that connection.

Don’t forget that in order to maintain the quality of a mentor relationship, you need to give back. A good (and smart) mentee is always ready for any task assigned by the mentor, no matter how seemingly trivial at the time. Or you can simply ask how you can offer value in return for their time and effort, as well as show your appreciation in more tangible ways. A thank-you card or email never goes amiss.

If finding a mentor the traditional way doesn’t pan out, you can always contract with someone for business coaching. You’re probably used to paying an expert for their knowledge, whether it’s home maintenance, car repair, or legal advice; this time, it’s simply making an investment in yourself and your future.

If you need legal help, don’t hesitate to contact me at the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Small Business Attorney. Phone: 720-258-6647. Email: elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.

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