Do you ever feel stuck in your personal or professional life and find yourself asking, “What’s next?” Many successful entrepreneurs and business owners I speak with on my travels admit that although they have achieved much of what they set out to accomplish in their careers they often experience feelings of frustration when considering their next move.
This is particularly true for those who started their own business and worked hard to make it a success but have now run out of steam and hit a plateau. In my experience, finding a great mentor can be an inspired move that can produce awesome results. A qualified mentor can help you in many different ways.
1) Support/Sounding Board
I have had the pleasure of working with some wonderful mentors in my career and the number one way in which they’ve helped has been by being my sounding board. The importance of having someone who will not only listen but who you can bounce ideas off of can’t be overstated. Having a supportive mentor in whom you can confide can help you look at problems differently and often times help you find solutions.
2) Performance Improvement
If you are a business owner it can be beneficial to find a mentor who is an experienced business executive. Typically, someone in this position will have encountered situations similar to those you are facing and can offer sage advice. This was the case when I worked with my mentor, Frank. He helped me to turn around a $120 million family business that was losing more than $3 million a year. Frank understood that cash flow is more important than profits when trying to turn around a business and encouraged me make decisions based on this idea. He also helped me devise a strategic plan, handle some difficult HR issues and negotiate better terms with our manufactures, banks and suppliers. By following Frank’s advice I was able to grow the business to the benefit of our employees, customers and staff.
3) Long Term Goals
Working with a mentor is also a way of challenging yourself to create the business and personal life to which you aspire. A mentor should challenge you to develop long term goals then help you to formulate a strategic plan to get you where you want to go.
A mentor can also offer a different and unique perspective on work/life balance, challenging you to think on a deeper level about what you really want versus accepting the tactical or superficial items most people come up with when goal setting.
Where Do I Find a Mentor?
At this point you may be thinking, “This all sounds excellent but does this person exist and if so where can I find them?” Finding the right mentor can take time and perseverance but it’s well worth the effort.
Think about professional networks and associations of which you are a member. Is there a person who stands out who has the qualifications you are looking for and is in the position to be a mentor? Who do you look up to and admire who has a proven track record of success in your industry? You may also consider using a headhunter to help you find the person who is the best fit for you. Although this can be an expensive exercise with upfront costs finding the right mentor will give you a fantastic return on your investment.
Finding a mentor with whom you connect and can learn from can answer many of your burning life questions including, “What’s next?”