Career Success Advice From a French Restaurant

I’ve just returned home after spending about eight days in New York City.  Last Thursday I had dinner at my favorite restaurant in the city, Café Loup.  If your French is a little rusty, “Loup” means “Wolf.”  The Café Loup website has the “Wolf Credo,” which I think contains some great life and career success advice.  Check it out…

Wolf Credo 

Respect the elders.
Teach the young.
Cooperate with the pack.

Play when you can.
Hunt when you must.
Rest in between.

Share your affections.
Voice your feelings.
Leave your mark.

For our purposes here, I will concentrate on the first stanza.  I think it contains some great career success advice.  Let me explain.

Tweet 51 in my latest career success coach 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.”  There is no greater way to respect your elders than asking someone to mentor you.

I have created an acronym that captures the essence of mentoring.  A mentor is someone who…

M   Motivates you to accomplish more than you think you can.

E    Expects the best of you.

N    Never gives up on you or lets you give up on yourself.

T    Tells you the truth, even when it hurts.

O    Occasionally kicks your butt.

R    Really cares about you and your career success.

Mentors are positive people by definition.  It takes a positive person to give of himself of herself to help others learn and grow and creat the career success they deserve.

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 career success.  In addition to be knowledgeable, they were empathic.
  • Really knew what they were doing.  I respected them for their knowledge, skills and career advice.
  • 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 further their own life and career success by learning new ideas and discussing them with me.
  • 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.

As the old saying goes, a mentor is someone whose hindsight can become your foresight.

Do you want to find a mentor to help you create your careeer success?  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. 

Let’s move on to the second line in the Wolf Credo — teach the young. The best way to teach the young — especially when it comes to life and career success — is to become a mentor yourself. 

You don’t have to be in a formal leadership position or have years and years of experience to mentor someone else.  It’s never too early to become a mentor.  We all have something to give, and the sooner you begin giving the better.  If you’re in college, you can mentor high school students.  If you’re a recent graduate, you can mentor others still in school. 

I take great joy in mentoring other people.  I love it when I can use my experience to help accelerate their growth and career development.  It takes the sting out of some of the negative consequences I’ve experienced because of poor judgment.  I think to myself, “At least he or she won’t have to go through that.”

In his great book Love is the Killer App, Tim Sanders tells the story of how he turned one of the people who worked for him from a “mad dog” into a “lovecat.”  The advice is simple: “Offer your wisdom freely…And always be human.”

Tim is right on.  Mentoring is a great way to become a lovecat by serving others.  The more you serve others, the more confidence – and career success – will come your way.  Besides that, you’ll grow by mentoring. 

As you reflect on your life experiences and distill them into some nuggets that you can share with others your knowledge will become wisdom.  In addition to being better able to help others learn and grow, you will be better able to take advantage of what you know.  You never learn something so completely as when you teach it to another person.

Any mentoring relationship needs to focus on the person being mentored.  While mentoring someone will most often a satisfying experience for you, remember that it is not about you – it’s about the other person.  Accept him or her for who he or she is.  Help him or her proceed at his or her own place.  The best mentoring relationships are guided by the person being mentored. 

Mentoring should be a positive experience for both of you.  That means that you need to avoid treating a person you are mentoring as incompetent or incapable.  Rather, think of him or her as someone lacking in experience and who needs guidance.  Don’t criticize.  Help the other person think through the consequences of his or her behavior and to identify more positive ways of handling difficult or troubling situations and creating his or her life and career success.

Hold the person you are mentoring responsible for his or her career success.  Give him or her small assignments.  Don’t let him or her off the hook if he or she fails to complete them.  Be willing to give of yourself and your time, but make sure the other person is doing so too.

Realize that the relationship will end. If you’ve done a good job, the person you are mentoring will need to move on at some point.  It’s all part of the cycle.  It can be hard to let go, but feel good about seeing someone move on to bigger and better things – and another mentor.

Finally, let’s talk about the third line in The Wolf Credo cooperate with the pack.  Tweet 121 in Success Tweets says, “Get genuinely interested in others.  Help bring out the best in everyone you know.  Others will gravitate to you.”  Tweet 127 says, “Pay it forward.  Build relationships by giving with no expectation of return.”  These are two great ways to cooperate with the pack and build your career success.

I love Café Loup.  Check it out when you’re in New York City.   Their food is great, and the Wolf Credo provides some great career advice – especially in the first stanza.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  We all need others to create our life and career success.  The Wolf Credo provides some great career advice on this front.  Respect the elders – find a mentor.  Teach the young – mentor people less experienced that you.  Cooperate with the pack – build strong relationships.  If you follow these three simple pieces of career success advice, you’ll do fine.

That’s my take on the career advice in the Wolf Credo.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.

Bud

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