We hear the word "mentor" thrown around in business all the time. But when it comes to actually finding a mentor to help us on our path to success, most of us are clueless about where to begin.
Why is it important to have a mentor? How do we know if they will give good advice, or are even interested in giving it? We sat down with Margaret Keene, the Executive Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi, who generously shared her tips for finding the right mentor for you.
"I very much am the product of learning and the wisdom of those around me"- Margaret Keene.
Why do I even need a mentor?
Margaret believes that life is too short to figure everything out for yourself. Instead of going it alone, she recommends finding an individual who has come before and achieved what you desire, be it creatively, financially or on a personal level. Learning from them saves you a lot of time and frustration.
How do I pick the right mentor for me?
Margaret admits that finding the right mentor can be difficult, but if you look closely you will discover that sometimes they pick you. To begin, she suggests looking for people who genuinely care about your career, your experience and your future. That bond and personal investment is the engine that drives the relationship. If your intuition suggests they are not interested in you or that you just don't "vibe", trust those instincts. A good mentor sincerely wants to help you and be in contact with you.
"They have to be someone you can call and say, 'I'm sort of at a cross road and need some help.'"
What does a good mentor do?
Often great mentors see things in you that you don't yet see in yourself. They therefore encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and try new things. We often overlook our own talents, but having someone who can spot them gives you permission to try (and sometimes fail) at developing them, which allows you to grow.
Should I only have one mentor?
In a word, no. There is often the belief that you should have only one mentor who holds all the answers to your problems. In Keene's view, this isn't the case. Instead Margaret recommends having several different mentors for different aspects of your life, often all at once!
There could be a mentor who has a family life your admire, a mentor who has achieved the career you aspire to and yet another mentor with the physical fitness you dream of. From each of these individuals, draw from their particular characteristics and strengths and piece together your own version of happiness and success.
Can I call my mentor whenever I want?
A mentor hasn't signed up for stalking! With the countless challenges of life, it's easy to become too reliant on a mentor. Margaret insists that you be very respectful of his or her time to avoid crossing the line.
If you need to reach out to your mentor, she suggests that texting is a great way of staying in touch without being too invasive. Other times, just recalling how they handled a similar situation is all you need to inform what decision you should make in your own life.
Do you need a mentor when you're already successful?
You betcha! Despite Margaret's tremendous success she admits that she is always looking for mentors to inspire her to grow and learn. No matter how successful you are, there are always things we can learn from others that take us to the next level.
"I think the greatest mentors for me were people who were changing, that were evolving all the time."