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Many of our parents and grandparents use to espouse what is now considered a very quaint notion: if you simply worked hard, you would find success. That is certainly a charming sentiment, but sadly, it is a bit naive. Yes, hard work is important, but it is just a starting point on the path to career success.
In these tough pandemic times, we need to be much savvier. One very important tool in one's toolbox is to find and utilize a mentor or multiple mentors. Mentors are individuals who can help advise you:
*With your career
*With academic matters
*With personal matters
*With a combination of all three
Oh, so you have already heard about the importance of mentors, but how do you find one of more than one? You just have to ask. Some good mentor candidates are people who know you. A few likely targets are:
*Teachers
*Professors
*Coaches
*Bosses or former bosses
*Colleagues or peers
*Ministers, priests, clergy
*Parents, siblings, friends, relatives, and neighbors
Some mentors can be short-term for a one-time question, whereas other mentors can be long-term guides. Think about ways you might utilize a mentor whether it be for a single career challenge of a longer-range goal. As always, it is important to make any personal or business relationship a two-way street. Just as you are asking for someone's help, remember to be helpful in return. And, always, always, always remember to thank people for their help. I know people who have had mentors for many years throughout their careers and sometimes, in some cases they have become mentors to their mentors. And, the mentor became the mentee.
You can find a great deal more information on the web about mentors and mentoring. I urge you to read a few things you find. You will be pleased you did. Can people be successful without a mentor? Yes. But, there is no reason to go through life alone without asking for guidance and help from people with different experiences and backgrounds who can save you time and trouble and make things more fun/interesting.
Margaret “Mag” Gottlieb is the Career Director at the Graduate School of Political Management at the George Washington University. Connect with Mag on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/margaret-gottlieb-1457753/ or contact via email: mag@gwu.edu

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