In this video, learn how to set up peer-to-peer support for ongoing accountability without waiting for one Holy Grail mentor to provide all-knowing guidance.
- You've probably heard the adage that you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I don't know if I entirely buy that, but I do know that if you're not currently surrounding yourself with at least some friends who you enjoy spending time with that can also inspire you and challenge you to expand professionally, it's time to start. Friendtors are those awesome people we are fortunate to call friends who can also wear the mentor hat professionally by providing advice. You might have friendtors among your current coworkers or outside of your organization, but what they'll all have in common is a shared interest in learning, productively solving problems, and sharing advice and resources, and overall just helping you grow just as you do for them.
Sometimes it's our friendtors who are the most engaged supporters rather than way high up mentors who don't always have as much time to spend. And that's great news. It means that your peers can be equally instrumental in helping you grow and get to the next level. A word of advice. Try to avoid the common outreach phrase, can I pick your brain? Bah, no! It sounds a little intrusive to imagine someone getting their brain picked. So instead, I recommend setting up 30:30s with friendtors. Ask for their advice for 30 minutes, and then say that you're happy to help them brainstorm something that they're challenged with as well for 30 minutes.
On the subject of reaching out, people often feel pressure to find one holy grail mentor. I suggest aiming for one-off mentors instead. A one-off mentor is someone you admire who has achieved something that you aspire to or who knows more about an area of interest than you. Rather than awkwardly asking a semi-stranger will you be my mentor, or trying to start a long-term relationship with someone you hardly know, you can approach one-off mentors for short, targeted 15 to 20 minute interviews instead. If your initial conversation goes well, you hit it off and you value their advice, you can always ask to follow up at a later date with questions or updates.
And even if that person doesn't end up providing specific counsel on your next pivot, you never know where the relationship might lead or how you could be helpful down the road. And remember, the best way to thank a mentor is to follow up on their advice. If it truly resonates, take action. Then check in with them in a few weeks or a couple months and let them know what you did differently as a result of your conversation. And don't forget, send a thank you note. Handwritten is best. Your next steps, identify some friendtors and get something on the calendar.
You can even set up a peer mastermind group with a few coworkers or a group outside of your company to help support each other. In the Exercise File for this video, you'll find my free toolkit and best practices for creating your own mastermind.
- Optimizing your current role
- Identifying your strengths
- Crafting a one-year vision of success
- Making connections to "friendtors" and one-off mentors
- Creating a skill-building game plan
- Identifying small experiments and stretch projects
- Embracing smart risks
- Mapping next moves to make a greater impact