Self confidence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that is part of my Common Sense Success System. I discuss it in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS and 42 Rules to Jumpstart your Professional Success.
You can become self confident by doing three things. First, choose optimism. Believe in your heart of hearts that today will be better than yesterday, and that tomorrow will be better than today. Second, face your fears and act. Procrastination and inaction feed fear and rob you of self confidence. Action cures fear. Third, surround yourself with positive people. Don’t let the naysayers into your life. Hang around with people who are positive about themselves, their careers and life in general.
Mentors, by definition are positive people. They are willing to give of themselves to help others grow and succeed. That’s why I urge all of my coaching clients to find mentors. However, it is also important to be a mentor. By mentoring others you are giving back, and you are building your self confidence. The more you serve others, the more confidence — and success – will come your way. Besides that, you’ll grow by mentoring. As you reflect on your life experience and knowledge and distill it into some nuggets that you can share with others, your knowledge and experience will become wisdom.
The October 25, 2009 “Starting Out” column by Jonnelle Marte in the Wall Street Journal Sunday was called “Mentor Your Boss.” Ms. Marte told the story of several young people in companies who were becoming what she called “reverse mentors.” In most cases, these people were helping older colleagues learn how to use technology more effectively – and getting some positive career benefits in the process.
Ms. Marte suggests that figuring out how the skills you have can benefit your company is a good place to start. Then, volunteer for projects where you can use these skills – even if these projects are outside of your department. “Talk to your boss about how you think the company would benefit from your know-how. Offer to host a brief seminar for your colleagues.”
I think this is great common sense advice. We all have something to give. Sometimes we downplay our knowledge and expertise thinking “everybody knows that.” Well guess what, everybody doesn’t know a lot of what you know. You can help others by sharing your knowledge and expertise. You can also help your company, and your career. Sharing what you know with others will get you noticed in a positive way.
The other day, I was at a meeting of about 100 people. There were several presentations over the course of the day. One woman, who is very intelligent and had some great things to say, did a not-so-good job in her presentation. She threw in the phrase “you know” way too many times. At a break, I watched one of her colleagues gently point out the problem with her presentation. This person then went on to offer to coach and rehearse her the next time she had to do a talk. That’s one-to-one mentoring in action.
By recognizing a problem his colleague had with presentations and then offering to help her fix that problem, this person was sharing his expertise, helping a colleague, helping the company and helping build his confidence. It takes a self confident person to be willing to share his or her knowledge and expertise.
In his book, A Game Plan for Life, John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach says…
“Anywhere there is a sharing of knowledge or a teaching of experience, there is a mentor. Anywhere there is an individual with life lessons to impart, even to one person, there is a mentor…Mentoring becomes your legacy. It is the greatest inheritance you can give to others.”
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are self confident. Self confident people surround themselves with positive people. Mentors, by definition are positive people. They are willing to give of themselves to help others succeed. I urge you to find mentors to help you create the successful life and career you want and deserve. I also urge you to mentor others. It’s never too early. As Wall Street Journal reporter, Jonnelle Marte points out – many young people have accelerated their career development by mentoring their boss and colleagues. I think that we all have something to offer – something that someone else is eager to learn. Figure out what you know that others around you don’t and then take the time to share your knowledge and expertise. You’ll be helping your colleagues, your company and yourself if you do so.
That’s my take on the importance of mentoring others in your company. What’s yours? Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us. If you’ve had a mentor who has really helped you, feel free to give a shout out to him or her here. As always, thanks for reading.