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Freedom, Direction, and Career Changes

How many jobs do you expect to have during your career? 

It’s a fascinating question for all of us, regardless of talent or industry focus. 

To properly illustrate, let’s begin with an assumption that is likely to be generally accepted: 

Gone are the days of working for one business for the duration of an entire career. 

Once upon a time, starting at the bottom of the totem pole with an entry-level job and working up the ladder of hierarchy over decades of service was fairly standard. Ultimately one would follow this scenario, work him or herself up the ladder, then one day retire and ride off into the proverbial sunset – with maybe a business issued gold watch as a token of appreciation for years of service and loyalty.

We certainly don’t live in the workplace that your grandparents knew. 

With modern day elements such as the great resignation, and remote work being far more the norm than the exception, it’s probably wise to accept the likelihood that your career will have as many shifts in it as it will steps up any one ladder. 

But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and it doesn’t mean you still can’t get that gold watch, if that’s what you’re after. 

If anything, the present day work environment should be viewed as offering a stronger freedom that our relative predecessors couldn’t have imagined.

Ours is the freedom to build a unique story at one’s own pace, freedom to best capture our talents faster, freedom to chase our very own success story, and freedom to best achieve whatever our lofty goals may look like. 

Just don’t expect freedom to always be a linear process. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that on average, men and women are likely to have about a dozen different jobs during their career. Men average 12.6, while women average 12.3. 

If you’re like most business professionals, these figures indicate that you’ll make career changes every few years. And while change is inevitable, the freedom of changing jobs does not have to be coupled with uncertainty and fear.

This is where mentorship can enter the building while playing a role of remarkable value. 

When mentorship is thrown into the equation, changes and freedom become empowered with direction. 

Think of career changes like a roadmap. There are options in which roads to take, options in the scenery of the drive, and options as to how best get to the desired destination. A mentor is a trusted guide who understands that map. The mentor has been there, done that, and gotten the t-shirt along the way. A mentor is someone who will know which roads to take, and which roads to steer clear from. A mentor will understand if potential shortcuts are real or perceived. And a mentor will be able to tell you just how fast and how far you’ll be able to go before you need to refuel. 

Perhaps best of all, a trusted mentor can give you all the details about that destination you’re seeking. 

Throughout history, there are countless examples of mentors who have empowered their mentees to capture their own beautiful freedom with stunning results. At the core of these relationships the mentor gave proper directions to their mentee which allowed them to make the roadmap journey a safe and successful one. 

A few examples of successful mentor/mentee relationships look like this: 

Maya Angelou mentored Oprah Winfrey.

Steve Jobs mentored Mark Zuckerberg. 

Socrates mentored Plato and Aristotle.

Christian Dior mentored Yves St. Laurent 

Though a wildly diverse sampling of mentorship success stories, these four examples show the value and power of adhering to the wisdom of somebody who understood the roadmap. 

In reviewing the names of the 4 mentees’ at the listed on the tail end of each of those examples, it’s likely that you can recall the general accomplishments of each of them, and how they impacted our world for the better. It is interesting to consider how their impact may have been hindered or halted along the way had they not had the custom direction through their own roadmaps on the way to achieving their respective successes. Their freedom was empowered because of the experience and expertise of mentors who already conquered the map, and were willing to give back. 

Mentor-led professionals often attest that the direction received from mentors have helped them far beyond navigating the roadmap. It’s an influence that goes levels deep, and comes in a myriad of ways. Though the experience may be varied, the impact created through a mentor is unforgettable. 

Many mentees acknowledge a stronger feeling of overall confidence. Many mentees feel a stronger leadership capability that was lacking prior to their mentor relationship. Mentees often feel more fulfillment within their work, and overall job satisfaction. Additional clarity and understanding of complex work environments are another noted benefit of learning from a mentor. Mentees attest that their ability to problem solve and make difficult decisions are often simplified. Finally, a stronger ability to create and grow a valuable network because of enhanced social skills is another noted benefit of learning from a trusted mentor. 

While the benefits of a relationship are varied and significant, the fulfillment and results linked to the direction of a trusted resource cannot be undermined.

In the present day, changes are to be expected while freedom is there for the taking. However, having somebody who can provide direction at each turn on the roadmap is likely to change the journey to the desired destination into a truly beautiful ride. 

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