As a small business owner, I wear a lot of hats. Whether I’m developing growth strategies for JAI or managing day-to-day design challenges, I know I cannot do it all without the help of other experts in my life. I rely on the trusted advice from a close circle of mentors who have more experience, or a different perspective than I do. Having mentors and mentoring others will always be a valuable key to the way I do business…and life.
Here are a few reasons why being mentored and mentoring others has made JAI a greater asset to our clients and team members, and how it has made me a better person overall.
5 Reasons Mentoring is Valuable
1. Learning from Experts
Business mentors have often “been there, done that” and their advice and guidance is based on actual experiences — successes and failures included.
I have been fortunate to have two trusted business mentors for the last 20 years.
One is a hotel developer who was a client of mine when I only had thoughts about starting JAI. When I decided to take the leap out on my own, he contacted me in hopes of hiring me. He has always believed in me, and his expertise in the hospitality industry has helped shape the direction of JAI.
The other is my design mentor. She has inspired me since the start of my design career. I call on her whenever I have a major design challenge. She is twenty years ahead of me in design expertise so she usually has a great solution to my question.
2. Gaining Perspective
Consulting with a mentor is a great way to gain a different, fresh perspective. A mentor presents other considerations that I may never have come across otherwise.
My faith is an important part of my decisions, so when I need perspective, I go to my spiritual mentor. She listens to my questions, prays with me, and challenges my thinking in every area of my life.
I also have a brand executive that I go to with questions about leading hotel brands from a corporate perspective and how that relates to my small business. He reminds me that, as a business owner, I am part of a very small percentage of individuals who can succeed at being their own boss. He gives me a much-needed push when I get stuck.
3. Expanding Your Network
When you work with experts and mentors who value what you do, doors will naturally open to a vast network of industry connections. Being introduced to others by someone who is trusted can strengthen a new connection in an incomparable way.
A mentor, from any area of expertise, can expand your network of influence.
I was invited earlier this year to become a member of “Christian Women of Influence” which involves attending a monthly six-hour intensive Mastermind session with the nine other women in the group who all own different types of businesses. In addition, I receive one-on-one life and business coaching throughout the month from our incredible coach. These amazing women keep me accountable for carrying out my goals from month-to-month and are always armed with other contacts and resources to help expand and strengthen my network.
4. Developing Skills
Having mentors with advanced skills can further our own abilities and help us gain big-picture insights into our work.
I had just graduated from the Art Institute when my first design employer reached out to me. They had contacted the college looking for an in-house designer in hospitality and they chose me. Because of that experience, I always reach out to the local art colleges for interns and potential employees who offer fresh talent. I love helping them flourish as designers that make a difference, and I have gained as much from my mentees as they have from me over the years.
5. Growing as a Person
We are forever a work in progress. There is always more to learn, more to grow, and more we can change. Having a mentor and being a mentor is all about the growth journey–not just professionally, but personally as well.
Outside of work, my husband and I are going through marriage mentoring at Harborside Chapel–a JAI heart project. Once we complete the mentorship, we will become mentors to other couples. We have to be willing to be the mentee before we can become the best mentor.
Whether in your business or personal life, if you want to grow and thrive, having mentors can give you the support and wisdom you need to get to the next level and beyond. We were never meant to take this journey on our own.
You’ve got nothing to lose – and a world of valuable business and personal perspective to gain.