The Importance of Mentorship

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The role of a mentor is so important on the road to success! A successful mentor has the ability to shape the life of his protégé, and that’s exactly what mine did. I was nineteen years old when I met my first mentor, David Shillingis. Had I not met him and not had him as a mentor, I’m sure my life would have been quite different today.

My family had always told me that I’d be good at sales because I had ‘the gift of the gab’ but finding the right sales job proved to be a challenge. I managed get an interview one day with a well-known office equipment company and was interviewed by David. He gave me a pen and asked me to sell it to him. I must have said something right because he offered me a job on the spot and the rest as they say, is history. That day changed the course of the rest of my life.

I’ve spoken before about how my mentor provided training to a group of us from 6:00am until 7:30am every morning. The job was in London so it meant me waking up at 4:30am and leaving my house no later than 5am every day. If you weren’t there on time you weren’t allowed in, but because I found the training so inspiring I was always front and centre.
The best mentors are the ones that have a vested interest, and David always made a point of checking in on me every day. That’s not to say that he wasn’t pushing me and working me hard as well. Every day I had to knock on one hundred company doors and get one hundred introductions. Then once I was back at the office I had to call all of them and try and book a meeting.
I was always the first one in the office and the last one out. This was my life for eighteen months, and at the end of those eighteen months I was the only trainee still standing. To this day I’m still very proud of that fact.

Today, more and more businesses are latching onto the concept of using mentoring as a professional development tool. By empowering young staff members, businesses are seeing a dramatic improvement in productivity and efficiency. I’ve mentored countless young sales professionals throughout the years and many of them have gone on to become hugely successful millionaires. Believe it or not- behind every successful person, there’s a mentor who helped them along the way!

But what makes a good mentor? A good mentor needs to be more than just a successful individual. A good mentor needs the desire and drive to actively develop other people. If you truly want to inspire other people you’ll have to reflect and share your own experiences, including your failures. Great mentors are the people who are constantly trying to better themselves. They’re teachers, advisors, do-ers, planners and achievers. And they don’t just talk-the-talk, they walk-the-walk!

Just like there are characteristics that make a successful mentor, there are also certain traits that make a good protégé. What makes a good protégé? Effort, appreciation, dedication and a whole lot of drive are at the top of my list, but if you truly want to make the most of your mentorship, then read my top tips below:

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  • Be willing to ask for help: I’ve met a lot of people who want to do things their way and don’t want to accept advice from others. I was also like this before I met my mentor. I thought I knew it all, when in fact I was far from knowing anything at the time. Respect people who have been in the field for longer than you. Ask them questions and learn from their success stories. You won’t be sorry!
  • Be ready to try new ideas: It’s never easy stepping out of your comfort zone but don’t expect to get a new result by doing the same thing. Mentors are there to offer suggestions and ideas. Try as many new ideas as you can!
  • Accept constructive criticism: I’m the kind of person who says it how it is. If you want to grow, then you’ll have to stop being offended and start using the constructive criticism offered to you to your benefit- not detriment!
  • Be personally responsible and accountable: The only person responsible for you is you! Blaming others will never get you far in the work force. Be honest with your mentor. No excuses.
  • Be ready, willing and able to meet on a regular basis: Just like you can’t expect to eat sugar on a diet and lose weight, you can’t expect to learn from your mentor if you aren’t there to take notes. I met with my mentor every single day for more than eighteen months. It paid off big time for me, so imagine what it could do for you?

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