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9 Lessons Learned from Mentor Executives

There are many reasons that we may seek a relationship with a mentor. 

Some look for answers or solutions to problems they are facing in their work. Some need a sounding board as they talk through their unique scenario. Some want a cheerleader of sorts, a mentor who celebrates their efforts and accomplishments. Some simply want to acquire information and knowledge as quickly as possible, in this case utilizing the experiences of others to do so. 

Some seek all of the above. 

As aspiring professionals  there’s never been a better period of time to utlize technology to tap into the wisdom and experience of a mentor. Many hurdles of years past have been eliminated with remote friendly technology, enabling us to connect with a mentor of our choosing easier than ever before. 

Regardless of the reasons you may be interested in seeking a mentor, it’s likely you already understand the value of what a trusted mentor can provide to a career. It’s not by chance that 76% of professionals believe that mentors are important. The potential fruits of a successful mentor/mentee relationship are numerous, and smart professionals will always seek out direction from those who have gone before. 

Here we look at 9 lessons that founders and CEO’s of various businesses learned from their mentors, who were executives themselves. 

1. Take care of yourself first. 

“Wendy Lea, CEO at Cintrifuse, told me to never forget I’m responsible for running a company, and that it’s important to take care of yourself first as CEO, and then focus on customers.”

-Konrad Billetz, founder and CEO of Frameri

2. Embrace positivity. 

“Every time we talk about an issue or consider a plan, my mentor wants me to focus on the positive aspects of the issue or outcome and then proceed to take action. Committing to your work with positive thoughts, your passion will shine through, ultimately leading to positive outcomes.”

-Michael Dweck, founder and CEO of Basic/Outfitters

3. Follow your passion, and never give up. 

“The best advice I ever received was from my dad, my biggest mentor in life. Starting when I was young, he always quoted Confucius and told me, “Choose a job you love, and you never have to work a day in your life” and that “the greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

-Daniel Silberman, founder and CEO of Illesteva

4. Never stop learning, and learn from everyone.

“Something Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, told me years back was the importance of continuous learning. Everyone is superior to you in some way. There is always something that can be learned from each person you speak with. Humility is more than niceties; it’s a pathway to perpetually learning from any experience.”

-Healey Cypher, co-founder and CEO of Oak Labs

5. Respect the long game. 

“Some people find success overnight, but you should never assume that’s how it will work out for you. As a PR guy, I’m acutely aware usually there is a long backstory of hard work and failures behind every ‘overnight success.’ I really value this advice, and when life as an entrepreneur gets hard, it’s always comforting to remember.”

-Elliot Tomaeno, founder and CEO Astrsk

6. The power of storytelling.

“My mentor believes in pitching your company and selling yourself. Make sure to tell a story that people are interested in and one that conveys your personality and passion.”

-Emily Motayed, co-founder of Havenly

7. Stop saying yes to everything.

“The best advice I ever got was from an ex-Harvard Business School professor and best-selling business author, David Maister, who was a client of mine for a number of years. He told me that your career and success would be defined by what you said no to, not what you said yes to. This was very counterintuitive to me as a young entrepreneur, but it’s wisdom that has really proved true through the years.”

-Justin Evans, co-founder and CEO of Landr

8. This too shall pass.

“This applies in business and more broadly in life. It is a reminder to keep in mind that when everything seems to be going your way, we need always to be prepared for adversity, and similarly when challenges and setbacks seem to arise every day that there will inevitably be better times around the bend provided we persist.”

–Colin Darretta, founder and CEO of customized nutritional supplement service WellPath Solutions

9. Balance is everything. 

“An important piece of advice I received from one of my mentors, Richard Branson, was, ‘The key to happiness is all about balance-a combination between fun and loving life in all forms, while being successful at the same time.’”

-Constantin Bisanz, founder and CEO of Aloha

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