This is something I want to share with the world.
Don’t stop right there. You can take a rest but don’t quit. You have to put your heart in the game and keep playing like it’s nobody’s business.
I find it interesting to know that we can grab wisdom from a lot of books, messages and podcasts. But what happens if you wake up one day and for some strange reasons you can’t find any? Ever thought of that?
Inside our hearts and mind is the everyday wisdom and encouragement we need to make it. I believe we can be outliers if we really stick our heart so hard to the game. A lot of people will keep telling you why you can’t do it but hard work with determination never failed any body and you can ask Ben Carson, a dumb kid who rose to greatness or a young Harvard guy who chose to drop out to start his own business…and no doubt that became a Gate to his greatness and believe me or not that was going to pay the Bill. I am talking about Bill Gates. I think I can go on and on and talk about a lot of people who are making it. What these people had in common wasn’t luck or status. Ben Carson wasn’t a rich kid but Gates was. What these guys had in common was the everyday thing we forget to see OPPORTUNITY. Ben Carson had the opportunity to visit the community library after school everyday when his mum insisted he and his brother does so. He didn’t like it but He grabbed it! And that became the turning point of his life. Gates began programing at an early stage. He sacrificed most of his night so that he could use a computer at the University of Washington because that time was the only time he could get unlimited access to the computer.
Look around you and find what is staring close at you and grab it! Look far and stretch a little bit and hold unto it. My friend Nesta wrote an article some time ago about how to be lucky and he made profound statements in there. You can create your own luck everyday and I bet you can. You only have to look hard enough and grab that opportunity. Sometime ago I was thinking what I could do with my talent and passion for writing if facebook or whatsapp didn’t exist. Or there was nothing like wordpress to blog about any of the amazing things i share a lot of the time. But I am glad such opportunities and many exist for people like me who aspire to be amazing writers someday and I am happy to share with the world what I have. I have had people say that I don’t want to post anything because people might not like it or comment on it. Well I have something to tell you and it is what I got from the book Outliers. What I want to call the 10000 hour rule.
“And what’s ten years? Well, it’s roughly how long it takes to put in ten thousand hours of practice. Ten thousand hours is the magic of greatness.” – Malcolm Gladwell.
So who cares if people like it or not? The truth you’ve got about ten good years to be a progidy and if i were you i will forget about everything now and start the journey.
Finally i want to share an inspiration i came across this morning…
Aim for the stars and you will reach the moon. Whoever said this obviously forget to tell you that you will need work your butt off to build a rocket first.
Be an Outlier!
“Everyone has a level of influence that can be harnessed for greater good” – Bernard Kelvin Clive
A brand ambassador is a person who is engaged by a company/brand to promote the brand – giving it more visibility, value, and reach to increase the Return-On-Investment (ROI).
begin with, a brand ambassador should have some level of influence – Either paid or volunteer brand ambassadors. They Must be loyal, they must be genuinely interested in your brand and they must be willing to live by the brand’s values and code of conduct.
Here are the 5 Main Roles of a Brand Ambassador in the acronym B.R.A.N.D.
1. Believe in the Brand:
Brand ambassadors’ first point of calling, connection and communication are to believe in your brand. They are to buy into the brand. If they don’t believe in the brand, there is very little they can do at the core and cry of being authentic in this age.
2. Represent the Brand:
The role of a brand ambassador is to represent the brand whenever they can and wherever they find themselves. An ambassador becomes the mouthpiece of the brand, in words and in deeds; to positively project the image of the brand in every way possible.
3. Authenticate the Brand:
A brand ambassador’s role of authenticating the brand implies making the brand more likable, real to consumers to enable them to trust the brand and attract more clients. In essence, they humanize the brand by articulating it genuinely.
4. Nurture the Brand:
To nurture the brand is to help the brand grow to reach more people, to create more loyal consumers. Brand ambassadors are to bring in more leads and to replicate themselves creating more ambassadors in their circles of influence.
5. Defend the Brand:
This means to protect the reputation of the brand. Stand in the gap of constantly proclaiming the goodwill of the brand, where others want to defame the brand, an ambassador quickly steps in with the truth. Where there has been a misconception about the brand, miscommunication of the brand and even instances where the brand has erred, the ambassador sets in to resolve issues effectively to elevate the brand’s image.
In all, a brand ambassador is to help the brand dominate in various areas and ways they can use their influence.
In conclusion, Brand ambassadors can either be volunteers or paid individuals to represent the company in various ways. A staff of a company can become a brand ambassador, and I personally advise firms to invest in their staff to make them brand ambassadors, it pays huge dividends. The scary thing is having a staff who doesn’t believe in your product and services but only exchange his/her time for salaries. It’s a sure sign of losing your credibility and sinking your business.
I strongly believe that companies should focus on having both internal(staff) and external brand ambassadors. Consider a staff brand advocacy training program ( HYPERLINK “http://bkc.name/consulting” BKC Consulting).
HYPERLINK “https://www.bkc.name” Bernard Kelvin Clive is an Author, Speaker, and Trainer, Ghana’s foremost authority on Personal branding and Digital Publishing who hosts the #1 ranked Business & Career Podcast in Ghana/Botswana.
He is a Lifestyle Entrepreneur, Personal Branding Coach and Brand Strategist at HYPERLINK “https://www.bkc.name/consulting” BKC Consulting with over 10 years of experience in digital publishing, has offered consulting services to hundreds of writers, poets, authors locally and internationally to self-publish their books. He is an Amazon bestselling author of over 30 published books.
There is a group of people who like to think of themselves better off than everybody else. Not a new thing actually except; this group I have in mind take things a little too far when they start looking down on others as having an inferior life. The idea that others must want what they want and live like them or consider themselves worse off is what I consider a step above absurdity.
The guiltiest of this group is the creative bunch –mostly the artistes who spend their day inside basements and garages taking sporadic showers, wearing untidy clothes while puffing on anything within reach all day in the name of creativity. For a time, the world needed some kind of an affirmative action to make space for them until they gain recognition and acceptance. For they themselves are considered oddballs by other groups. If you have lived as long as I have, then perhaps you have encountered the artist who mocks the office worker and his routine 9–to–5 confined-to-a-desk lifestyle. It is lifestyle the creatives consider stifling and lacking the orgasmic sovereignty of blissful imagination and creativity. “I will just die behind that desk” he says. This view would have been understandable to a reasonable extent except they pontificate that the routine lifestyle is bad for everyone. They also commit a fatal error when they assume that within the realm of “bank-telling” and “figures-tinkering” of accounting, there is no creativity and imagination.
Not all can stomach the drifting performances called the dream life that everyone must want to live. They forget that it is the difference in what we do that makes it possible for them to enjoy such things as a simple meal—without which their creativity will suffer. The creative goes to the bank and cashes money made possible by a teller who spends his or her day in what the artist might call an excruciatingly numbing routine job that would kill him in a day. What will happen if all the routine people, the very people who make the world tick, decide to be creative people who hide in a basement all day sipping a strange mix of concoctions and puffing on unidentifiable things? I hear you saying a recipe for chaos.
There are those to whom the dream life is to sit at counter, counting other people’s money all day. They too are entitled to the blissful reward that comes with what they do. Others may not necessarily understand his. The artist in doing his work needs patronage, support, sponsorship etc. When he puts his creation out there, he needs buyers who have earned their money by doing painful routine work. When the artist performs, he needs a large applauding crowed to feel relevant. The routine people after a hard day’s work look for relaxation with their family and friends so they patronize works of art. They decorate their homes with paintings and sculpture all to the benefit of the artist and the larger system.
The accountants, receptionists, bank tellers, statisticians, factory workers, clerks, drivers, security guards, police officers, nurses—the list is endless. They are the unsung heroes of the system who keep pushing day after day to make many things possible for those who want to be superstars or live what they call a dream life. They deserve our appreciation and respect. They need to know that things work for all of us because of what they do. They may not become superstars, never write a book and never travel the world. They are under no obligation to do these things. We do not all have the same dreams and we are each built for a different purpose. God in his infinite wisdom has made us in this manner— each one to his own journey.
But one thing is certain, we are dependent on each other for one thing or another and as the Apostle Paul illustrated in Chapter12 of the book of 1st Corinthians, no one is more important than the other as no organ of the body is more important than another. And like the Maslow wrote; “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.” In that same vein, a teller must tell if he or she is to be at peace with the self. There is no tragi-comedy or absurdity that surpasses a person functioning in a role other than that for which they have a natural predisposition.
So next time you see a person in shirt and tie slaving to make your life easy be sure to show some appreciation. Their dreams may not be the same as yours, they may not have ambition according to your standards, but they are serving perhaps a greater purpose than your so-called ambition. You do not have a better dream; just a different one. Shout out to all the ever smiling staff at the Airtel offices around the capital, always there to replace my sim card every time I lose my phone (and that’s one too many too times). I really don’t know what I would have done without them. #spidup
Note: The SPiD-UP® Performance Recognition Program was recently officially launched here in Accra. If you know anyone you think deserve recognition for their performance regardless of their occupation and position, you will be making the world a better place by nominating them for recognition. Click here to nominate now.
Author Branding: It is the process of positioning an author as the center of attraction and influence, to be the preferred choice in a given theme, style, category, niche or genre. An author brand focuses more on the author than the books; it ensures that the author’s personality (style of writing, themes, genres) encourages readers to pick his/her books over any other author.
Author Branding is a powerful phenomenon that famous and well established authors used to keep their brands top-of-mind and gain added advantage in many ways.
In an age where brands (personal brands) have become very powerful in every sphere of business, I strongly believe that upcoming authors and writers who desire to make great impact in their writing careers should consider author branding as the preferred way to go.
Here are 5 Main Reasons Why You Must build an Author Brand:
The number one benefit of creating an author brand is that it establishes you as an expert, an authority in your chosen field; you become the go-to person. Try this, go to Amazon.com, or your local library, you will notice that every expert has a tag of a genre, category or theme. John C. Maxell will appear in the leadership expert, Nora Roberts – romance fiction. They are noted as an authority in those areas and they command great respect and influence. This makes their books the preferred one by people who might have not heard about them; this is referred to as Authority Marketing.
There is a huge competition among authors and books at the marketplace, with thousands’ of books released yearly. Many authors and books get wiped away by the competition and never get a fair taste of neither prominence nor money invested. With an author brand, you can easily stand out from the crowd to achieve the attention needed. In this case, your brand does the marketing.
In an age where people can easily publish contents and become authors, it is quite difficult to filter through to get great books and authors to follow. Your author brand will position you as a credible author which will attract to your business credible publishers to work with. Your readers and followers also get to trust you and you become a trusted icon in your field leading to media trust appearances.
Have you noticed how readers rushed in for every release of the ‘Harry Potter’ series? Yea, that is it! J.K. Rowling’s author brand is so powerful that it has built a tribe; raving fans and followers of her books. This can only happen with the influence of an author brand; it builds its own fan base and loyal readers. People who will just be waiting for your next book release, they will go to every extent just to get your books.
Book publishing does not come cheap; either electronic or print books, they all demand a huge investment of time and money. So, will it not be rewarding to have your hard work paid off with some profits? Sure! Even though authors publish books for many reasons, getting returns in terms of cash is rewarding. At the peak of your author career and brand, it will require less effort to get your book selling. You would have had a loyal following, your authority and influence held in high-esteem, your books begin to drive sales automatically bringing in more royalties.
I hope this will inspire you to begin your journey of building your author brand which will open many doors beyond your books.
For coaching and consulting contact HYPERLINK “https://bkc.name/bio” Bernard Kelvin Clive
Bernard Kelvin Clive is a Personal Branding Coach/Brand Strategist at BKC Consulting, Lifestyle Entrepreneur, an A HYPERLINK “http://amazon.com/author/bernardkelvin” \t “_blank” mazon bestselling author of thirty published books. Ghana’s foremost authority on Personal branding and Digital Publishing who hosts the #1 ranked Business & Career HYPERLINK “http://www.bkc.name/itunes” \t “_blank” Podcast in Ghana/Botswana. He has helped hundreds of writers, poets, entrepreneurs, pastors locally and internationally to self-publish and built author brands. Tel: +233244961121 | HYPERLINK “http://bkc.name/” \t “_blank” www.BKC.name
- CLEAR PURPOSE
Influential personal brands have a clear purpose, which is the most important pillar of powerful brands —for without purpose and a clear direction of your life, brand and business, you will be building a fake brand.
The purpose should speak clearly to your promise of value. Your USP — Unique Selling Proposition.
- INNOVATIVESuccessful personal brands are agile, they are innovative and they are adaptable to change. They understand that brands and consumers do evolve so they adjust to the changing trends and times while staying relevant.“Innovation and technology drives my business” – Selorm A. Betepe
- AUTHENTICInfluential personal brands understand that the best way to succeed is just being themselves. The world is tired of celebrities who ain’t themselves, they soon fade. Be your best self.“Remember it’s OK to be yourself.” – Richard Branson
You must be different to stand out!
The most powerful personal brands are the difference makers, they just don’t fit in, they break rules and set new standards. They have the philosophy of trail-blazers – either they are the first or among the best. Simply Creative!
“…purge mediocrity” – Nana K. Duah
Bernard Kelvin Clive Personal Branding Coach/Brand Strategist at BKC Consulting, Lifestyle Entrepreneur, Amazon bestselling author of thirty published books. Ghana’s foremost authority on Personal branding and Digital Publishing who hosts the #1 ranked Business & Career Podcast in Ghana/Botswana.
…what you must do to fix it.
“Know your limit and circle of influence; you are not called to meet the needs of everyone” – Bernard Kelvin Clive
In summary this is it:
1. You are trying so hard to impress people. (BE YOURSELF)
2. You are on too many social media platforms, yet not active. (FOCUS)
3. You don’t provide any value; less valuable content. ( CONTENT MARKETING)
4. You wear too many hats; obsessed with titles without substance. (INTEGRITY)
5. Your bio(about you) is not well written, full of errors and no call to action. (CLARITY)
6. You keep spamming and stalking. (PERMISSION MARKETING)
7. You don’t have a website or a well branded social media page. (WEBSITE)
Bernard Kelvin Clive Personal Branding Coach/Brand Strategist at BKC Consulting, Lifestyle Entrepreneur, Amazon
Skype ID: bernardkelvin | Tel: +233244961121 | www.BKC.name
Change people are a special breed. The resistances they face in their missions are not easily surmountable and it will appear there is a valid reason for this. One can only imagine how things will be if everyone could just get up and at will, change the way things are? Chaos! Our world is a predictable one. Perhaps because of its infinite layers of cycles that in their own rights give meaning to the axiom “what goes around comes around”. Solomon in his divine inspired wisdom observes; “there is nothing new under the sun” – Ecclesiastes 1:9
People are not as complex as they might seem at first glance. Ok I should save that for my people dynamics class. Before I get back on track however, let me just say that people are ALWAYS frightened of what they cannot explain and if they process it as a threat in any form, they will fight tooth-and-nail to stop it. You can take that to the bank! For years I have struggle with this—I never understood why people will fight you even when all you are trying to do is help them. Well, that’s simply because they don’t understand two things; the first is why the change and second; what the ultimate outcome will mean for their self-preservation. A majority of people are incapable of making the right connection and fear gains grounds. But this also serves a purpose as we will soon see for it is this fear, that the much needed resistance will be generated.
For the most part, we are all social scientist in our own capacities. We want to see something work repeatedly so we can be sure it will continue to work even if we stop paying attention. Once we have accepted it, any agent who attempts to change it is a threat. Well, he is trying to take away the predictability we cherish so much. This may sound like a good idea. Yet it is within this sphere of thought that our most perilous vulnerabilities are hosted. If there is one thing I agree with Robert Green on, this will be it. It has to count for something that he made a bestseller out of telling the world that we are predictable and that we actually prefer it so. And he was right when he thought we will buy the idea and list him among the rich and famous for it. He is a master social scientist of his own.
If you ever tried to change something and did not meet with any kind of resistance, you need to start worrying. Something is fundamentally wrong. The system needs resistance to ensure that it is not tossed around in all directions by the ever present tides of ideas that it generates. Yep! The ideas come from within because the agents of these ideas are also products of the system. Their role is to ensure the incessant improvement of the system as a means of ensuring its continuous existence—this is vital as stagnation has no place in nature. You are either going up or coming down. Growing or dying—for or against. Christ captures this beautifully in Mathew 12:30.
The role of a group I will call average people is to test the change idea for integrity. This is the role of resistance which manifests itself in several forms. Among them; opposition, rejection, isolation, hatred, the list is endless. A system that does not have a resistance system has little or no chance at all for success. The “resistance” do their job in two ways; They first test the idea to ensure that it will bring the vital improvement need to keep it in existence. The second is to ensure that the change agent has what it takes to sustain the idea once it has been accepted. This is done by first evaluating the credentials and track record of the agent. When the resistance cannot validate the credentials of the agent or the integrity of the impending change, it narrows the gate. This is often the case when the change or idea, it’s methods or intended outcome seem too complex for the average mind. Real change ideas are often intended for the good of the larger society. Unfortunately the average mind cannot see beyond the self and is therefore unable to comprehend the larger scope of the change. This makes the case for resistance even more robust necessitating more effort on the part of the agent if he is going to break through. Real Change agents have the persistence to carry the idea through even in the face of the stiffest of oppositions and what-have-yous.
Interestingly, the power of this system is largely dependent on the averageness of average people who for the most part will be the main beneficiaries of the impending change. It is also the reason why they eventually become the main defenders of the change once it has become the status quo. Often this will take a lot of work and time but the agent once he understands this, knows that he must persist. Because resistance in the larger sense is doing a legitimate job and therefore any positive change must embrace it and work with it for the two, in the larger scheme of things, have shared objectives. The strength and integrity of an entity is dependent on the rigorousness of the tests it has passed. The more rigorous the test, the better the outcome. It is why factories have testing and quality assurance units. It is the reason we have standards and certifications. It is what Paul meant by having you work passed through fire -1 Corinthians 3:13.
You only have to go back to the likes of Hitler and imagine how things would have panned out without the resistance that put them out of business. Your idea is but one out of an infinite number of tides seeking to determine the direction of the boat. The strongest and the most persistent ideas, if they are truly useful for the system will eventually cause change and enjoy the protection of the average. You will find if you look closely enough; that it will be fatal for all of us to be change agents and be left with no resistance unit whatsoever. Average people perform a very vital role and for this reason, no matter how hard and wide we teach the idea of change, change agents will always be few and average people will be in the majority. It is a necessity.
Real change agents are equipped with special abilities that help to survive the integrity test of the resistance. Like Tyler Perry said and I rephrase; your dream itself must come to believe; so that no matter how frustrated you are, something inside of you just won’t let go even if you wanted to. Many dreams have died a still-birth because the agents did not have this special ability and that is how we know that they are not meant to cause change. If you think average people don’t have dreams or change ideas of their own, think again. They do, they just do not have what it takes. May your dream believe enough to never let go even if your whole being wants to. #spidup
A skill is basically the ability to do something well, to be great at doing something.
My question is what are you great at or what are the things that you want to be great at doing?
A research conducted and published by LinkedIn in October this year, outlined the top 10 in-demand Skills for the coming year and beyond.
Catherine Fisher, the researcher, stated that “While some skills expire every couple of years, our data strongly suggests that tech skills will still be needed for years to come, in every industry. Now is a great time for professionals to acquire the skills they need to be more marketable.”
I believe this is the more reason for young executives to get more skills while they can to always stay on top so as not to be drowned by the noise and competition.
Find the hottest, most in-demand skills around the globe:
Note that these are technical and computer related skills.
1. Cloud and Distributed Computing
Cloud computing, also known as on-demand computing, is a kind of Internet-based computing, where shared resources, data, and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand. It is a model for enabling ubiquitous, on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources.
The point is that, because of the massive amount of data being stored and used globally by companies over the internet, cloud computing provides a better alternative to storage – scalable storage, cheaper, remote access to data, etc.
2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
Data mining is a process used by companies to turn raw data into useful information.
What will be the use of all these data collected by organizations if they cannot be analyzed and put to proper use? Experts in this field would be required to make meaning with data.
3. Web Architecture and Development Framework
Website architecture is an approach to the design and planning of websites that involves technical, aesthetic and functional criteria. As in traditional architecture, the focus is on the user and user requirements. This requires particular attention to web content, the business plan, usability, interaction design, information architecture and web design. It also includesdeciding technology stack, site map, and navigation system of website.
4. Middleware and Integration Software
Middleware is a general term for software that serves to “glue together” separate, often complex and already existing, programs. Some software components that are frequently connected with middleware include enterprise applications and Web services
5. User Interface Design
User interface design (UI) or user interface engineering is the design of user interfaces for machines and software, such as computers, home appliances, mobile devices, and other electronic devices, with the focus on maximizing usability and the user experience.
6. Network and Information Security
Information security, sometimes shortened to InfoSec, is the practice of preventing unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, inspection, recording or destruction of information.
Security is one of the top needs in organizations today, services and skills in this area is in high demand.
7. Mobile Development
Mobile application development is a term used to denote the act or process by which application software is developed for mobile devices, such as personal digital assistants, enterprise digital assistants or mobile phones.
Take a course to learn how to develop a mobile and web app.
8. Data Presentation
In the field of math, data presentation is the method by which people summarize, organize and communicate information using a variety of tools, such as diagrams, distribution charts, histograms, and graphs. The methods used to present mathematical data vary widely.
9. SEO/SEM Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) primarily through paid advertising.
In an age where if Google can’t find you, you virtually don’t exist, it’s imperative to have experts in these areas to help companies be visible and accessible via the internet with ease.
10. Storage Systems and Management
Storage management systems consist of data storage devices and storage management software that provide online and near-line access to data, as well as archival storage of data. A typical system consists of online hard disk storage, writable optical disks, and tape backup systems.
HYPERLINK “https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3XYOLW/” Skills Every young Executive Must Have by Bernard Kelvin Clive
Call 0244961121 to order copies or HYPERLINK “https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3XYOLW/” https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3XYOLW/
- By Bernard Kelvin Clive is a Personal Branding Coach/Brand Strategist at BKC Consulting, Lifestyle Entrepreneur, A HYPERLINK “http://amazon.com/author/bernardkelvin” \t “_blank” mazon bestselling author of thirty publishedays
- books. HYPERLINK “http://www.BKC.name” www.BKC.name
*6 Factors You Must Consider When Choosing a Mentor*
Working with a mentor can increase your chances at promotion by a factor of five, but that doesn’t mean you should jump into the first relationship that comes across your path. Take time to evaluate the opportunity, your willingness to commit and your potential mentor. Choosing the right mentor is critical. You’ll have to do the legwork to decide if this mentor is right for you. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.
*1. Determine exactly what you need.*
What skills do you need to learn right now versus in a year from now? Career development is never linear, the same mentor who can support you today may not have the skills to help you five years from now. That’s why you need to analyze your current development needs before your future ones.
Your mentor needs to help you succeed in the present before grooming you for the future. Tackle your professional development one step at a time. A 12- to 18-month timeline for a mentor and mentee relationship is often most effective.
*2. Weigh the mentor’s strengths and weaknesses.*
Especially as they relate to your style.
Don’t bend over backward changing your work style to accommodate a someone else’s lessons. You can spend your energy in better ways. Nobody is perfect – not me, not you and not your potential mentor. Is this person going to complement your style or clash with it?
Look for these qualities to start:
Honesty and practiced communication skills
Lifelong dedication to learning.
*3. Are your world views and philosophies aligned?*
You can’t force this. Take a good, hard look at your proposed mentor’s outlook on life, your field and company’s values before committing. The odds of finding someone who matches you 100 percent are slim and a moot point if you are going to grow into an -improved and therefore different — version of yourself over time. Focus on life philosophies, such as: learning, determination, thoughtfulness and trust.
*4. The mentor must be a good listener.*
Mentors are like hiking guides. They haven’t always experienced the same paths that you have taken, and they shouldn’t spoon-feed answers to you even if they have. Instead, they need to help mentees overcome their challenges without taking the reins directly. This comes back full-circle to empathy and communication skills – in the form of listening.
If this person helps you to develop your own answers with insights rather than just their own strong opinions then you may be on to something. On the other hand, a mentor who does most of the talking and turns away your ideas regularly is a poor bet.
Ultimately you want someone who knows when to give you a reality check, who can tell you to go for it when the time is right and who helps you to reflect on the most important lessons – even if it means the occasional setback. Your mentor needs to let you scrape your knees now and again to let you learn from your failures, but also pull you back from the edge of the precipice when you’re about to step off the edge. And this mentor-to-be can’t do any of that without practiced listening skills.
*5. Does this person challenge you?*
They should. You won’t learn anything new if your mentor doesn’t get you to consider new perspectives. Keeping in mind that your mentor should share broad philosophies with you, think very carefully about this person’s ability to bounce ideas back and forth with you too. You want someone who shares similar threads of experience with you – be it the approaches they took or the challenges they overcame in the past.
Younger people can make the mistake that mentors know better simply because they claim seniority. Those mentors rarely ever succeed, even if they think otherwise. But it’s important that anyone seeking out a mentor understands the difference between someone who deliberately teaches mentees by challenging their stances when it counts instead of dismissing their ideas routinely.
*6. Can you return the favor?*
Mentors are supposed to get value out of your relationship as well as you. And some of these are obvious – gaining a successor, a new pillar of management in the company or a new business connection. But like the rest of us, mentors have their own immediate needs and priorities.
It pays to give back to your mentors, as they will be inclined to stay engaged in the relationship for longer. Successful mentorships are two-way streets in which the mentor learns new things as well – not by calling on the same experience that a mentor brings, but by bringing insights about new developments not present when the mentor was younger.
Choosing the wrong mentor can set back your career instead of fast-tracking it. Be strategic about what you need to learn, make sure your styles complement each other, and bring something to the table in exchange for teaching you to learn from failure. Choosing the right mentor can be the most important career decision you’ll ever make.