By Natasa Cvijanovic
It would be an understatement to suggest that the advice provided by influential industry professionals in the December 2022 Street SmartsSM columns was valuable. Consider the advantages of having consistent access to such guidance and feedback. That thinking inspired the topic of this article. The old saying goes: It's not what you know, it's who you know. Whether or not that's the case for you at the moment, you'll have a far better understanding of the expression after having a coach or mentor. Yes, mentorship is a great way to build your network, but more importantly, it can change your life.
The major distinction between a coach and a mentor is that coaches are typically compensated while mentors are volunteers. Mentors are people who have been where you want to go, or at least their version of it, and are willing to share their wisdom to help you. In this article, I will look at the positive effects of mentoring. I'll define a mentor, discuss what makes a great mentor and explain why you should have one.
Mentors are trusted advisers who provide support, direction, advice and assistance in whatever capacity they can. The purpose of the relationship is to support another individual in realizing their dreams or goals. Even if your goal isn't precisely defined, and you want to gain more confidence or understanding of your strengths, having a mentor is helpful. You may believe you are already successful and do not need a mentor. However, even the most successful merchant level salespeople (MLSs) and leaders will want encouragement and reassurance in addition to continuous development. This is something that mentorship can provide.
Not only in our industry but across other industries, many professionals seek out mentors because of the numerous benefits they can gain from having one. You can seek guidance while building your business, growing your network, becoming a more effective leader, receiving feedback, advancing your career and broadening your perspective.
However, you may be wondering how to find a mentor. Though it may appear intimidating, it is much simpler than you might imagine. Your mentor could be an industry professional, although it is not required. Finding someone who has achieved success in their career is more significant than finding someone who has worked in the same industry as you. Additionally, we can become so entrenched in our ways that it is more advantageous if our mentor comes from outside the industry and can offer a fresh viewpoint or a new way of doing things that you may have overlooked.
Do you have a mentor? If you do not, do you have anyone in mind? Who would be your mentor in your perfect world? What qualities would you look for in a mentor? What kind of person are they? Answering these questions will provide a good starting point and the right direction in your search.
Your mentor should be someone who has had both personal and professional success, has both book smarts and street smarts (pun intended), and has kept their integrity while being creative, driven and strategic enough to overcome the many roadblocks that can stop even the most well-intentioned people. You may already be a networking or peer group member that can help connect you with a mentor. Like any other aspect of your life, vetting your potential date, new friend or mentor is necessary unless you are already familiar with them.
If you have great respect and admiration for someone in our industry and would like to be mentored by them, you should reach out to them. Explain why they inspire you and ask to talk with them to learn more about their life and experiences. Find out if they share your interests and if they will assist you in charting your course. Finding an excellent mentor will take some time and effort, but it is worth it.
Asking someone to be your mentor is a wonderful compliment. That shows your trust in them and how much you value their opinion and advice. Mentoring is a fantastic opportunity for them to make a difference, as most of us do not feel particularly influential in our daily lives. People are more willing to help others than you might assume.
Mentors are fantastic, but they can only do so much, and mentees who take the initiative are more likely to succeed. Please enhance your mentors' guidance with information found in podcasts, ebooks and other resources. Mentors are the people you need the most during challenging times, so remember that mentoring is much more than a professional favor; it's an act of kindness. To develop as businesspeople, we need to surround ourselves with people who can help us grow, become better leaders, learn more efficiently and communicate more effectively — and mentors can help.
We are the average of the five people around us, as the saying goes, and that is particularly true for entrepreneurs. I cannot overstate the significance of having a good mentor. A good mentor will motivate you, drive you to overcome obstacles, help you grow and broaden your perspective. Most importantly, a good mentor will not judge you; instead, they will provide a safe environment for you to learn. Regardless of whether you are just starting your MLS career or have been doing this for a while, if you do not have a mentor, find one as soon as possible. When you have a mentor or someone to look up to, you will be more confident in making crucial business decisions and developing strategies to advance your career.
To fully grasp the value of mentorship, just like with a close friendship, you must experience it for yourself. I encourage you to embark on this journey.
Natasa Cvijanovic, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Payments and member of the SEAA advisory committee, has a proven track record within the payment industry of cultivating successful relationships with ISOs, MLSs and strategic partners. In developing national sales channels, she provides training and coaching to sales partners to enable them to become better business partners and advocates for their merchants, and to assist them in building portfolios producing steady residual streams. She is also dedicated to consistently delivering high levels of professionalism, integrity, dependability and trustworthiness. Contact her at email@example.com.
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