While using your gut as a mentor can be a great plan, it’s certainly easier said than done. For the longest time, I was hearing and reading that I needed to find a mentor, yet I couldn’t find one. Why couldn’t I find a mentor? Was I not worthy of being mentored? Did I not think that anyone else had the right advice to be my mentor? As discussed in my previous post, I eventually realized that I could be my own mentor, but it took me even longer to realize I was truly the best person for the job. So, what do you do as your own mentor? Just recall the basics of what it means to be one and you will already find yourself on the road to success.
1. A mentor helps you find the career you love. Before I found my way to recruiting, my job was a terrible fit (I knew 2 weeks after starting). Unhappy and unsure of my future, fate and my father introduced me to the book What color is your parachute? by Richard N. Bolles. From the moment that book was in my hands, my career path was changed. I just thanked my Dad recently for helping change my life!
Bolles leads you through a self-discovery process to get you thinking about what you really love to do. Do the exercises and be honest with your answers, no matter how silly they seem, and you will start understanding what you were born to do. I wrote that I love to meet people, talk to people and help people—just tapping into those simple (perhaps obvious) insights was the key to finding my recruiter calling.
2. A mentor helps you manage the speed bumps in your career. After 5 years in a Senior Recruiter role, my manager asked me what I wanted next. I didn’t know how to answer and not because I didn’t know what I wanted to do—I did. I loved recruiting! The challenge for me was finding an alternative route in a large corporation that encouraged and championed promotions. That’s usually a positive for most, but it wasn’t for me. I was always told that I was a rock star recruiter, but when I was encouraged to move up and take on more senior tasks, I realized they were not my forte and I wasn’t performing well, nor was I happy.
This is the time when knowing your strengths and committing to honoring them is most important. And remember, sometimes the things other people think are your weaknesses may just be your greatest strengths. For instance, one time when I was pretty young, the dentist told my mom that I had a small mouth and she responded, “You could have fooled me!” Yes, I do have a big mouth, and that certainly wasn’t going to be the last time someone insinuated how much I like to talk. However, this is one of my superpowers as a recruiter. Learning how to cater to your strengths, rather than to your weaknesses, will set you free. So, I went back to my strengths and set myself free by opening my own recruiting firm.
Of course, starting a business isn’t an option or desire for everyone, but perhaps if I stayed true to my core strengths in recruiting, I could have been more clear with my managers and carved out a different path within the organization. Listen to your gut and don’t follow anyone else’s path. You could build your own path within an organization, just as much as you can by starting your own business, if you know yourself and stay true.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what your strengths are, try taking the Strengths Finder Test or just connect with me—I’ve been told that I’m pretty intuitive at figuring out what people’s superpowers are.
3. A mentor helps you stay motivated throughout your career. These two audio books (narrated by their hilarious authors) are my self-mentor bibles that keep me going Zig Ziglar’s How to Stay Motivated: Developing the Qualities of Success and Jen Sincero’s You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life.
Everyone needs encouragement, positivity and light in their lives to keep them motivated. I am no different and I’ve listened to these books over and over. For those of you looking to conservatively explore different motivational strategies, stick with Ziglar to start. For those of you who need a serious wake up call and a good kick in the rear end to get going, listen to Sincero . I love them both and I need them both. Ziglar helps me to think differently and become a better version of myself. If I had a mentor other than myself, I’d try and get him. Sincero is the friend who tells you that you have food stuck in between your teeth. She tells you the cold, hard reality of why you’re not where you think you should be. You cannot listen to either of them without laughing, and laughing helps you learn.
While being your own mentor may seem daunting at first, plenty of tools out there can guide your inner mentor. Like anything else that involves self motivation and work, it’s a continuous process that requires your attention, focus and time to unlock your true potential.
What tools have you used to get you to get you closer to your dreams?
About the Author
Melissa Pacheco is a partner at Chameleon Collective specializing in executive recruiting. Through her years of experience, she combines a deep knowledge of all aspects of recruiting, an extensive talent network, an intuitive skill for assessing individual capabilities and an understanding of complex client needs. Marketing, creative, and technology are her areas of expertise, and she’s demonstrated an ability to recruit successfully for hard-to-fill positions and organizations going through significant change. Before joining the Chameleon Collective, she spent the last 10 years at SapientNitro & Digitas, recruiting in a variety of areas, from Executive Searches, Campus Recruiting and Mergers & Acquisitions. At SapientNitro, she introduced new technologies to the company’s recruiting efforts, expanded social media outreach, consistently exceeded recruiting targets, and helped the company win the Talent Board’s 2014 CandE Award for great candidate experiences.