An open letter to my mentors:
You have been a precious few and plentiful at the same time. You have encouraged me, pushed me, challenged me and occasionally put me in my place when needed. I don’t have to name names, you know who you are and I want to say thank you. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you.
You have given me opportunities that my resume didn’t support. You took chances on me when others wouldn’t have. You saw more in me than I saw in myself. I can attribute much of my success to you. Thank you again and I am forever grateful.
As a sales professional, two of the greatest gifts you can give yourself are accepting mentorship and providing mentorship whenever and wherever possible. Here are 3 ideas to help unlock the power of mentorship.
Be Accepting of Help
Accepting help is strength, not weakness. You are not better going at it alone. Do not be blinded by “I don’t want to owe anyone any favors” or the misguided mindset that somehow the win is sweeter if achieved solo. The win will always be more joyous when you celebrate it with others and thank them for their support and contributions.
Finding Your Mentors
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” -Yoda
My mentors have often materialized in the most unlikely of places – a chance meeting while giving a presentation, an unlikely conversation with a person on a plane, a friendly face at a new job. I’ve never been able to predict when I would meet a mentor but in hindsight, there was a strategy in the meeting even if I wasn’t consciously aware of it.
I put myself out there. I have conversations with everyone I meet. I value the art of networking and work to expand and improve my web of contacts. These lessons on networking are expertly described and explained in the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferazzi, and I highly recommend the read to anyone and everyone in sales.
Pay It Forward
While I still willingly and openly take the help offered to me, I am now in a position to serve as a mentor to others. I welcome these enriching relationships where I get to coach a newbie, give a new perspective to a sales veteran or provide emotional support to a sales professional on the highs and lows of this crazy profession called selling.
The time I spend mentoring others re-energizes me and gives me new insights on how to be a better coach, trainer, and all-around better person. The time I spend giving and sharing with others is often times the most rewarding part of my day.
We all have gifts and knowledge to share. So share. Share freely and with an open heart. Give your time generously to those who need it. My mentors have left me with big shoes to fill and I intend to do just that.
Who will you help today? How can you change the world?