With all the hype directed at the Boise State vs. Virginia Tech football game on Sept. 6, I was reminded of a great lesson in business and career development. If you want to be among the best, you must consistently compete against the best.
If you’ve ever played a sport, you’ve most likely experienced the skill development that occurs after consistently playing against better opponents. When you’re challenged to play “up,” you learn, adapt and grow as an athlete. The same is true in business and career development.
Surrounding yourself with motivated and successful people will help challenge you and enhance your career, propelling you to another level of success.
Participating in a mentoring relationship will facilitate your development by helping you learn from the past successes and failures of others. You’ve heard the saying, “Those who fail to remember the past, are sure to repeat it.” Learning from the mistakes and successes of others can save you time and money in your career and business pursuits.
The following three suggestions will help you start your path to forming a 360-degree approach to building life-changing mentoring relationships.
1. Identify people at the “next level.” Start by finding a person you respect in your current or desired future industry – someone you want to emulate. Ask yourself, “Who do I respect and want to learn from?” Identify this “next-level” person and learn how you can achieve his or her level of success.
Want to be a CEO? Start meeting with current CEOs and learn from them. Want to grow your business from $5 million to $20 million in revenue per year? Start meeting with owners (in noncompeting industries) to learn how they’ve achieved successful growth.
2. Create a Master Mind group. Napoleon Hill’s concept of an economic Master Mind Alliance is a great format to follow. No one person has all the right answers. Surround yourself with other motivated individuals who can help you achieve your goals. Be clear in your intent and make sure the group is designed to benefit all members.
Charles “Tremendous” Jones once said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Surround yourself with others you trust who are committed to helping you achieve your goals. Have regular weekly or monthly meetings over coffee or lunch to share insights, challenges and failures.
3. Give back and be a mentor. As the phrase goes, if you want to learn something, teach it. Look for others to share with and you will learn more about yourself. To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, every person you meet is your superior in some way and can teach you something.
Become a better manager by mentoring other young managers. Practice your presentation skills by teaching others to deliver better presentations. Get involved by assisting others.
Can’t find someone to mentor in your workplace or industry? Be a mentor to youth in your community by volunteering with your local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
When building a 360-degree business mentoring plan, a few great places to start include local and national business organizations, associations and community groups. For example, Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, exchange clubs, city clubs, chambers of commerce, nonprofit boards, and young professional organizations are full of potential talent.
Groups like the Boise Young Professionals have dedicated programs to develop young talent. Check out the “b|wise” mentoring roundtables program at www.boiseyp.org for more information.
Talented individuals are all around you. Your company’s board members, senior management team, investors, rising stars, and new hires all present ample opportunities to develop a 360-degree network, thus helping you achieve more of your business and career goals.
Boise State’s football team wasn’t handed a top five ranking overnight. They earned it over time. They moved to another level and so can you. Start now. Stick with it. Take charge of your business and career goals. Reach higher with the help of others through a 360-degree business mentoring plan.
Ben Quintana is the Director of Public Relations and Leadership Development for the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. He is the founder of Boise Young Professionals and continues to oversee the direction of the program.