I do (and I don’t know where I would be without them). I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have people in my life that have pushed me to find mentors, develop relationships, and really take their advice to heart.
Here’s the thing about mentors: they’ve been around the block a time or two. They’ve been in business, had a job, kept a job, quit a job, started a company, read more than me, lived more days than me, had hardships in life that they’ve grown from, experienced children and dogs and second homes and wealth or lack thereof.
If you do the math, everybody clearly cannot have three mentors. But you can. The reason? Well first, most people are not going to try to have one mentor, let alone three. Second, almost everybody wants to connect with another human being. Almost everyone wants to have a mutually beneficial relationship.
Let me give you an example. Mid Ramsey is a VP with Athens First Bank and Trust. I had no idea who he was or what he was all about when the Leonard program told me he was my assigned mentor. It didn’t matter. Everyone has life experiences to learn from – it just so happens that Mid and I have been able to connect. Why? Mostly because I put in a lot of effort, and I continue to go see him every month. Is he incredibly busy? Absolutely. Does he still fit me in for an hour on his schedule every month? Absolutely. I can’t tell you what he has gained from the experience, but I can tell you that he has been invaluable in my learning and growth. I can talk to him about anything – organizations, class, friends, family, faith, my future career. And he always has some sort of insight for me or questions to ask to make me dig deeper.
The best part is that you don’t have to limit yourself to one mentor. I only have one Mid in my life, but I have multiple mentors – people I look to for advice and guidance for any and everything (particularly the situations where I don’t know what the heck I am supposed to be doing). The best way it’s ever been described to me is by Mr. Earl Leonard – always have a personal board of advisors. What a great perspective. I have a personal board of advisors that has helped me through the (relative) hardships of college life, and I have formed relationships that will last for years to come.
My challenge for you today? Go find a mentor. How? Look around you. Ask your parents or colleagues. Shoot an email to your boss and see if they have an hour to spare every month. Connect with an advisor. Network with friends and family to find someone in your (future) industry. You have absolutely nothing to lose by trying. In the worst case, someone will tell you that they don’t have time. In the best case…. well, you’ll have a friend and a mentor that you may one day grow to love and feel a genuine connection to. The real question is not why, but why not? As Nicole would say, what’s the worst that could happen?