As the adage says, you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. This statement could not be more true in the professional world and if you find you are the most ambitious person in a room, you’re in the wrong room. When offering advice for a young entrepreneur, so many of our podcast guests have spoken about the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people:
One way to intentionally design who you surround yourself with is to find a peer mentor. A peer mentor is someone who is working in a similar industry to you and who has responsibilities and challenges that align closely with your own role. You can find this person by doing your own research and reaching out to people in your community, or you can ask your leadership team who may have connections to other companies who have a position that parallels with your own.
Once you’ve established a peer mentor, you should set up your first meeting. This can serve as a discovery meeting where you learn about each other both on a personal and professional level. Establishing a friendly relationship from the beginning will make your meetings more comfortable. During this first introduction you should also discuss big picture goals and challenges, as well as a meeting cadence and location that works for both parties.
As you progress during your meetings, remember that peer mentoring is a two-way street. There may be ways that you complement one another where you can help your peer with a struggle if it’s an area that you’re particularly strong in, and vice versa. The beauty of peer mentoring is that the relationship will not be one person exclusively offering guidance to the other, it’s an ongoing conversation between two people who are working together to present solutions and set intentions for their professional future.
If a peer mentorship is successful, each meeting will leave you feeling inspired and empowered to face the obstacles of your role that may seem daunting and truly reach for the stars as far as what direction you want your career to go. It’s so worth risking a potentially awkward first meeting to develop a long-term professional friendship that can serve as a support system during the difficult days and a cheerleading squad during the great days.
Story By: Sophie Duncan