January is National Mentoring Month, so I decided to focus this week's business tip on the value of having a business mentor.
I have had many amazing mentors throughout my life who have inspired and encourage me. But, it wasn't until I met the late great Sam Cupp, a successful entrepreneur of more than 25 companies and the founder of "Winning Futures," that I understood the real value of mentorship. When I met Sam in 1996, I was a shy, unconfident salesperson trying to launch my own business. I clearly remember the day I scored a meeting with Sam, hoping that I could secure a business deal with him. Ironically, I left the meeting without a deal, but I gained a lifelong business mentor. To this day, I am not quite sure what he saw in me to take me under his wing, but I am forever grateful that he did! My biggest take-away from our 17-year relationship wasn't his vast working knowledge of business or his strategic ability to turn his visions into reality, it was his positive demeanor, how he treated others, and his incredible ability to build relationships. Sam exemplified every part of the word integrity. He treated others with respect and had a can-do attitude, even on the darkest days. It was this that I genuinely admired most and have practiced implementing throughout my career. Having a business mentor is an opportunity to learn firsthand. It is an experience. The most important lessons come from simply being in the presence of someone who possesses the qualities you hope to one day embody yourself.
1. Seek a mentor in your industry that you respect, and that will teach you, have stories to share, and give advice based on their experiences.
2. If you have a mentor that has made an impact on your career, January 31st is "Thank Your Mentor Day." Take time to share your gratitude by sending a note, making a call, or stop by their office and say, "Thanks!"