A Friendly Mentor for Career Success

There are many things that I really like about writing this career success blog.  One of the best is the free books I receive from authors who would like me to review their books.  I have picked up some great career advice from the books I have reviewed.

The other day I had the opportunity to read A Friendly Life: The Autobiography of S. Prestly Blake, Co-founder of Friendly Ice Cream Corp.  If you live in the northeast, I’m sure you’ve been to a Friendly Restaurant.  They are all over the place. 

I liked A Friendly Life.  Mr. Blake (I call him that because he’s 96 years old) does a great job telling how he and his brother built up a large and successful company starting with one ice cream shop.  He also dispenses some great common sense career advice along the way.

He summarizes a lot of his life and career advice in the Epilogue…

“Get a job in a successful company.  See how they do it on the inside.  Years ago, somebody staring out in business might have swept floors.  Today, you can work as a programmer or intern.  Pay attention.  You’ll see what they are doing right.  You’ll see the mistakes.

“Watch how your boss works, talks to people and handles situations.

“Associate yourself with someone who is already a success. 

“Make sure you learn the basics of your business.

“Never hesitate to ask for advice from the most successful and senior leaders.  Approach them with sincerity and respect.”

All of this common sense career advice reminded me of the career success advice in Tweet 51 in my career success book, Success Tweets.  “Find a mentor.  Mentors are positive people who will help you find the lessons in your experiences and use them to move forward.”

I have been fortunate to have had several mentors in my life and career.  All of them shared several characteristics.  They all…

  • Were willing to share their wisdom, knowledge, skills, expertise and career advice.
  • Had a positive outlook on life.  They helped me through tough times and showed me how to find the opportunity in the difficulties I was facing.
  • Were genuinely concerned about me and my career success.  In addition to being knowledgeable, they were empathic.
  • Really knew what they were doing.  I respected them for their knowledge and skills.
  • Kept growing themselves.  All of my mentors were curious and inquisitive.  Sometimes the roles were reversed.  They asked what I was reading, and then read the books themselves – so they could learn the career advice and we could discuss the ideas.
  • Gave me direct, constructive feedback.  They held me to high standards.  They congratulated me when I met their expectations.  They corrected me when I failed to do so – but in a manner where I learned what not to do the next time.
  • Were respected by their colleagues.  People who are highly regarded in their field or company make the best mentors.
  • Sought out and valued the opinions of others.  My best mentor always told me to listen most carefully to the people with whom I disagreed – in that way I might learn something.  And, he was right.

The old saying, “a mentor is someone whose hindsight can become your foresight” is right.

Do you want to find a mentor?  Just look around you.  Who are the people you admire and want to emulate?  Watch what they do, and do the same.  I’ve had several mentors who never even realized they were mentoring me.

I learned how to build a network of solid contacts by watching Maggie Watson.  I learned the rules of business etiquette and dressing for success by watching Bill Rankin.  I learned how to become a first-rate public speaker by watching Steve Roesler.  I learned how to become a trusted advisor by watching Don Nelson.  I learned how to carry myself with dignity in even the most difficult situations by watching JF and Carol Kiernan.  I learned how to become a better conversationalist by watching Cathy, my wife.

Reading books like The Friendly Life can give you access to mentors you might never meet.  That’s why I am always happy to receive books to review on this career advice blog.  I learn something from every one I read.  Prestly Blake has a lifetime of business experience.  If you pick up and read The Friendly Life you can take advantage of that experience and enhance your chances of creating the life and career success you want and deserve.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Mentors can help you create the life and career success you want and deserve.  Success ul people follow the career advice in Tweet 51 in Success Tweets.  “Find a mentor.  Mentors are positive people who will help you find the lessons in your experiences and use them to move forward.”  You don’t have to enter into a formal mentoring relationship to get the benefits of working with a mentor.  You can observe people you admire.  You can even read books by successful people.  In that way you’ll receive the benefit of their wisdom and experience without them even realizing that they are doing so. 

That’s my career advice on finding a mentor to help you create your career success.  What do you think?   Have you ever had someone mentor you without knowing it?  Which books have helped you the most in creating your career success?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily career advice.  I value you and I appreciate you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 395 pages of common sense career advice explaining each of the tweets in Success Tweets in detail  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.

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