Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Have a Mentor. Now What?

You hear about it everywhere-- at work, in books, on podcasts, and tons of other places in the social media world. The importance of having a mentor


We all have mentors in our life, both formal and informal. In our careers and our personal lives. We might not always give them the title of "mentor", but they influence us nonetheless. We call them mom or dad, friend, coach, running partner, boss, teacher, peer, and the list goes on. 

The questions becomes: How do we utilize them to become the best possible versions of ourselves?

It starts by building a relationship or recognizing the influence that your current relationships have on your life. Hopefully those relationships are positive, encouraging, and honest; and they challenge you to push yourself to new limits. These relationships should be filled with give and take. Even if you don't think you have anything you can teach your mentor, you can bet that they are also learning and growing through your interactions. 

There are a lot of great resources on key questions that you should ask your mentor. These could be in a formal setting with defined goals and limits; or more relaxed like during a run or over lunch. The point is to pick their brain, learn from their successes and failures, and move outside your comfort zone. If you stay stagnant, you might be good at what you're currently doing, but you'll never realize your full potential.

So call, email, or text your mentor. Set up a meeting and ask away!

1. If you wanted to create an environment where motivation can thrive, what's the first thing you would do?

2. What qualities do you look for in the people you spend time with?

3. What do you do to challenge your underlying beliefs, paradigms, and assumptions?

4. How and where do you find inspiration?

5. What do you do to live a balanced life?

6. What are some key books you feel I should read, and why?

7. Is this where you thought you would end up?

8. Who else would you recommend I connect with?

9. What professional organizations are you associated with, and why?

10. What used to be your biggest weakness?

11. How would you like me to follow up with you?

12. What mistakes have you made?

13. What are you trying to accomplish right now?

14. What can I do better?

15. How do you keep your feelings from clouding your decision-making?

16. How would you describe your personal work style?

17. What values are you committed to?

18. When is breaking the rules okay?

19. How do you show others you believe in them?

20. How can I help you?

You can go real deep with some of these questions. It's your life, your career, your choice. Make the most of it every single day :)

So tell me: Do you have a mentor? What types of questions would you ask them that aren't on this list? I'd love to hear about it!