Mini Mentors and Career Success

In this post I want to share some important career advice – take advantage of all of the resources available to you.  Find mini mentors to help you with specific problems, issues or concerns.

Last week I had a technical problem.  I recorded a video using Camtasia.  But I couldn’t get it up on the web.  I was told that I needed to convert the Camtasia video into an mp4 format.  I spent a couple of days trying to figure it out on my own and asking people who often help me for their advice – no luck.

Then I realized that I knew someone who could help me.  Tarek Chacra runs a company called Media Dynamics here in Denver.  He produces high quality video products.  I called Tarek and explained the problem.  He invited me to his office/studio.  I packed up my laptop with the Camtasia video and went over to see him.  It took about 30 minutes for Tarek to convert the video into an mp4 format and another 15 to show me how to do it in the future.

Tarek was the perfect person to help me with this problem.  I’m not sure why I didn’t think of him first.  And that’s the career advice I want you to take from this post.  Keep a list – in your head, on paper, or on your computer of the people to whom you can turn for needed advice.  These people are your mini-mentors.  They can help you at key times when you’re struggling with something you can’t do on your own.

Tweet 51 in my career success book Success Tweets says, “Find a mentor.  Mentors are positive people who will help you find the lessons in your experiences and use them to move forward.”  Many people think that they need to find the one mentor who can help them with all of their career success questions.

I think it is just the opposite.  I suggest that you develop mini mentoring relationships with a variety of people.  I’m a good example of this.  I learned how to build a network of solid contacts from Maggie Watson.  I learned the rules of business etiquette and dressing for success from 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 working with 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.

And now, I’ve learned how to do some basic video production for the internet by working with Tarek Chacra.  The biggest piece of career success advice here is simple common sense.  Help is all around you.  All you have to do is ask.

Some people are better than others to ask.  As I mentioned above, 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 and expertise.
  • 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 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 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 and their 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.

These are the qualities you want to look for whether you are searching for a mentor or a mini mentor.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  We all need help in our journey to life and career success.  Mentors can be a great help.  Sometimes you may need a mentor who can look after you and shepherd you along in your journey to life and career success.  Other times you may need to work with mini-mentors, people who can help you with a specific problem or issue.  Last week, Tarek Chacra served as a mini-mentor for me.  He solved an internet video problem I had and gave me some great advice on how to do internet video production.  Who are the people you know who have specific skills that you may need in your journey to the career success you deserve?  Make a list.  Build relationships with these people, so you can call on them when you need to.  More important, pay it forward, become a mini-mentor for these folks.  I’m sure you know things and have skills in areas where they need help.  Most mini-mentoring relationships are reciprocal, that’s the great thing about them.

That’s my career advice on the importance of mini-mentors.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success.  I really appreciate you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.


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