Have You Found Your “Secret Mentor” Yet?

secret mentor

One of the best things you can do for your career is engage with a mentor. But let’s be honest. Despite the many benefits of mentorship, a formal mentor-mentee relationship is not without its barriers. It can be difficult to find the right mentor person to ask. And then asking someone to invest their time and energy in helping you develop your leadership skills? Potentially awkward. Absolutely vulnerable. 

But just because you don’t have a formal mentorship in place doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of having a mentor. In fact, you can gain a lot from what I call “secret mentors.” You may or may not ever meet them in real life. And a secret mentor might never even know the important role they play in your development. But if you start paying attention and tuning in, there are secret mentors everywhere. Here are some you can start looking for today. 

Industry Leaders

Social media provides countless opportunities to learn from established leaders. Spend a little time searching out the thought leaders in your industry and follow them wherever they’re most active on social media. By simply engaging with their content, you get access to valuable (free!) lessons you can apply in your own career.

People You Already Know

You probably already have mentors in your life right now. Even though you may not have a formal mentorship relationship, there are folks in your sphere who help you level up as a person. Maybe it’s your grandmother whose tenacity or kindness inspires you. It might be a teacher you stay in touch with. It might even be a peer at work who’s working through the same things you are but with a different perspective.

Less-Than-Perfect Leaders 

If you shift your thinking to frame all experiences as learning opportunities, the whole world is a classroom. That means you learn not only from people you admire, but also from watching leaders to learn exactly what not to do. Most of us are “lucky” enough to have leaders at some point in our careers who don’t exactly follow best practices. Whether it’s arrogance, lack of empathy, or poor communication skills, some of the least effective leaders can be excellent role models for how not to lead. 

Historical Figures

Historical figures – people who’ve done Big Things – make excellent secret mentors. Read their biographies. Study their speeches. You may discover things about them you don’t like (in fact, it’s very likely) but learning from someone whose well-documented life and work inspires you is so valuable.  

Truth time

Even though I’ve seen and fully believe in the benefits of mentoring, I’ve never actually had a formal mentor-mentee relationship! Yet. But I have had countless secret mentors. And while mentorship can shortcut and fast track professional progress, you can’t get a non-secret, real-life mentor if you don’t ask! Level up your career and learn our tips on how to get one or how to be one, visit raisewomen.com for FREE mentorship how-to guides.

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