The Mentors Are There — If You Ask

by Thursday Bram on June 6, 2012

Statistics show very clearly that there is a glass ceiling.

Statistics also show that the best way to break the glass ceiling is to get a hand up from someone already above it. In short, mentoring is crucial for any woman who wants to get ahead in business.

I spent an afternoon not too long ago talking with a friend about her career options. I walked away a bit frustrated because she kept going on about how useful it was to have someone to ask questions of — but that she really needed to talk to someone in her own industry. I agreed and asked her who she was going to talk to.

“Well…There’s no one who’s really offered to be my mentor or even to answer my questions.”

This Isn’t a School Dance — You Can’t Afford to Wait to Be Asked

I didn’t shake my friend, as much as that might have made me feel better. She’s clearly afraid to put herself out there and run the risk of being told no. I can relate to that. I hate rejection as much as the next girl. But we’re talking about her career here. None of us can afford to hold on, hoping someone will ask if they can help us out. There are people out there who are happy to help, but very few of them go around, looking for an opportunity to mentor someone new to their field.

I don’t want to be a jerk about this, but I personally wouldn’t want the type of person who can afford to look for mentees. It’s a generalization, but the best mentors — the ones with valuable insights and extensive networks — are incredibly busy people. They can manage to mentor someone, but only when that person falls in their lap and is willing to do the footwork of making the relationship possible.

And we’re talking about careers here. A mentor can make a major difference in how rapidly your company can grow — and how fast you can move forward. When you consider that the right piece of information or the right connection can mean the difference between whether your business brings in seven figures this year or five years from now, it seems impossible to justify anything but marching out to find the perfect mentor for yourself.

Start Asking for the Help You Need, Right Now

The mentors you need are out there. You may even have an idea of who you want to work with. So ask. You’ll probably get a few rejections, so moving now means that you’ll just get through them that much faster. But there are plenty of people out there who are willing to help, if you just give them the opportunity to do so. I’m willing to bet that you’ll be searching for far less time than you might think.

Image courtesy of Lachlan Hardy

Thursday Bram offers content marketing through Hyper Modern Consulting, as well as more traditional writing services. She’s also the co-creator of Constructively Productive, the blog that’s bringing perspective to productivity. You can find Thursday on Twitter.

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