How to Use Knowledge and Experience from a Mentor to Advance Your Career

What do Mickey Goldmill, Kesuke Myagi and Yoda have in common? As mentors, they each saw something of value hidden away in the

ir protégés, and they were bound and determined to bring it to light. And through consistent effort, these movie mentors brought forth greatness in Rocky Balboa, the Karate Kid and Luke Skywalker. Although these characters may be fictional, the message is still invaluable: mentors, whether in the boxing ring, a dojo, a galaxy far, far away, or in business, are critical in helping you enhance your performance and move forward in your career.

Although hard work and talent are important, a lot of times people overlook the importance of knowing others who can help you, who can put your name out there when there’s a project to head, or who can save you a seat at the table.

That is especially true for women and minorities. In companies that don’t already have abundant diversity, the norm is usually to look for leaders among those who already resemble the management team, i.e., white and male employees. Mentors, however, who are aware of the talents of some of the lesser known employees, can identify people who aren’t usually asked to join the team at the management table but whose insights and talents can benefit the company.

Some companies may have structured mentoring programs, but the best one is the one you set up for yourself. In order to work, there has to be a genuine fit, a real synergy between the mentor and the mentee. Otherwise, both are just going through the motions.

To read the rest of the article as it appears on Vistage, click here.