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  • Mentors – Both Formal and Informal


    Do you have one or more mentors?

    My one regret from early in my career was I did not seek out mentors. I regret not having someone who could guide me when there was a fork in the road. I have encountered multiple of these forks in my career, and I did not always choose the best path.

    Today, I have multiple mentors. I have a business coach. I have multiple mentors that support me in different aspects of my business. I also mentor others.

    Some of these relationships are formal, but most are informal.

    Why would someone be willing to be one of my mentors?

    I am often asked, “Why would someone be will to be one of my mentors?”

    It is a compliment. When I mentor someone, I get that good feeling that I have helped them.

    Think of it as a gift. By allowing someone to guide and help you reach the next level, you are giving them a gift.

    Formal versus informal mentors

    I have multiple informal mentor relationships. These are people in my tribe or fan club who I can go to when I need advice or a favor. We do not meet on any regular basis.

    Just last week, I was in the process of moving my website to a new service provider, and I needed advice on how to proceed. I reached out to one of my mentors and I got really solid advice.

    I have several informal mentors that I can go to for help with PR, sales, networking, etc.

    I have formal relationships with several mentors. One is my business coach. Another is the provider of the Birkman Assessment which I use with all of my clients. I pay my business coach and my provider, but these are still mentoring relationships.

    Most formal mentoring relationships will have a regular schedule that you will follow and clear goals that you are working to achieve.

    Finding Mentors

    You first need to determine what areas you need help in. You can then target people who might be able to help in three areas:

    • Work – Look for leaders in your workplace
    • Outside of Work – Look for leaders in the industry or discipline. They do not necessarily have to be located near you.
    • LinkedIn – You can take the same strategies that I recommend in the Targeted Job Search to find mentors.

    Early in my career, I had a team leader explain to me that, when he took a new job, he sought out those who knew what they were doing AND were not jerks! It is the second part that is critical. Find those that enjoy helping others.

    Marc MillerCareer Pivot

    Check out my book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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    Marc Miller is the founder of Career Pivot which helps Baby Boomers design careers they can grow into for the next 30 years. Marc authored the book Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers published in January 2013, which has been featured on Forbes.com, US News and World Report, CBS Money-Watch and PBS’ Next Avenue. Career Pivot was selected for the Forbes Top 100 Websites for your Career. Marc has made six career pivots himself, serving in several positions at IBM in addition to working at two successful Austin, Texas startups, teaching math in an inner-city high school and working for a local non-profit. Learn more about Marc and Career Pivot by visiting the Career Pivot Blog or follow Marc on Twitter or Facebook.

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