I’ve had many mentors throughout my personal and professional life. I’ve had several mentors, but one in particular who taught me how to write persuasively.
While he has since passed away, his legacy lives on in his writings.
He believed that...
Nearly any business problem could be solved with the written word.
Need to hire a great software programmer? Write a job posting that sells great programmers on why they should work for you.
Need a job? Write a great cover letter that convinces the reader why she should interview you.
Need to raise $1 million in capital? Write a presentation that thoroughly convinces the investor why you offer an outstanding investment opportunity.
Need to find a spouse? Write a letter explaining what you have to offer and why you’d be a great spouse.
(He actually did this in a full-page letter in the Los Angeles Times in the days before online dating.)
He helped me appreciate the value of being able to write well; to connect with others' hearts and souls; and to lead others through the written word.
Before I met him, I thought of writing mainly as Powerpoint headlines and the short email blurbs I’d send to friends.
After learning from him, I realized being able to write well opens up all kinds of doors and opportunities.
While I don’t think being able to write well solves all business problems, I was profoundly influenced by his extreme position on the topic.
It forced me to challenge my assumptions.
It forced me to see the world from a different point of view.
In short, I learned a lot from him — not always what I wanted, but very much what I needed at the time.
A good mentor challenges you. He (or she) introduces you to new ideas, alternative points of view, and entirely different ways of thinking.
The most successful people in the world did not get there alone. They were wise enough (and/or lucky enough) to stand on the shoulders of those who preceded them.
Every successful athlete, CEO, or actor had early influences. When you read their biographies or listen to their interviews, there was always someone they admired, looked up to, and learned from. I can’t think of a single exception.
I am no different. I’ve been fortunate to have many mentors in my life. The big secret to having mentors in your life is simple...
Seek Them Out.
Great mentors rarely fall from the sky and end up in your life. Great mentors are willing to help and teach, but they aren’t there to do the work for you.
To be a good protege, you need to be intentional in seeking out mentors that make sense for where you are in life.
This doesn’t happen by accident.
It only happens because you make it happen.