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Being a Mentor

Over the last couple of months I've taken on the challenge for being a mentor with my old uni the University of Reading.

It's very really useful for both me and my mentee as we talk about how they want to develop their career in marketing - both the technical nitty gritty like what you need to work on a PPC account but also the softer skills like what makes a good CV or creating a cracking covering letter; all those things which you might not get taught at university but are fundamental to your career. 

It's also shown me how far I've come since I graduated almost a decade ago - both in those technical areas like SEO and also those softer skills like talking to other people. When I first graduated I'll be completely honest it was difficult just to have a business conversation on the phone. 

Although it's been great to offer some insight in the digital marketing world I'm strongly aware of how much more I should and could learn.

Being the Mentee

The big question for me though is do I need a mentor myself? As in a paid up member of the business community who could offer me guidance. When it comes purely to the world of business I feel like I need to up my game. Things like sales, business development and the softer skills like building rapport with people - I still find like they should come more naturally, but they're all fundamental things which will help to develop my business. At this exact point in time I don't think that I quite need to hire someone as I realised I already have an amazing team of people to call on such as:

  • Friends and colleagues in the digital marketing world I can ask highly technical questions
  • Other people in the freelance industry I can ask business related questions to
  • Social networks - Twitter is amazing for getting answers to your questions
  • Creative wizards in their industries - the likes of:
    • Tim Ferris - for his podcast, website and incredible advice on lifestyle advice
    • Peter Mckinnon - for his awesome how-to vlog videos, plus some pretty incredible b-roll
    • Casey Neistat - for his joy for life and overall boundless creativity

Plus there's some incredible books out there. One particular area I've been exploring in the last 12 months has been all about Stoicism. Reading extracts from the likes of Seneca and Marcus Aurelius has been an incredibly grounding and humbling experience in that that the vast majority of anxieties that we think are unique to the 21st Century were very much alive and well millennia ago.

Some other sources which are well worth a read are:

All of these had the most incredible positive impact on my life. But is this enough? Can a real life person push your boundaries and take you to where you want to go? 

So, I wanted to open up the question to you - do you have mentors? If so, who are they? Do you find them useful? What do you use them for to learn and develop? If you have any thoughts, opinions on the matter then comment, email, tweet - communicate with me in one electronic form or another and it would be seriously good to hear your thoughts.