Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to make a really tough decision and got stuck, not knowing which direction to go and scared that you’ll make the wrong turn? Yes! We all have! Sometimes we need another opinion, a guiding hand, or somebody who will tell you the right way to move forward, even if it’s a painful decision.
We would like to introduce you to the concept of ‘mentors.’ Not to be confused with coaches and sponsors, mentors are trusted, compassionate and experienced individuals who can make all the difference in tackling life choices.
Most highly successful people credit at least one mentor for guiding and supporting them on their journey. Through working with one, you’ll learn good, professional habits that will last you a lifetime. You’ll also have the support to make big and bold decisions that could give you that extra boost of confidence. Mentors have an incredible ability to help you find your natural talents. By sharing their valuable advice and tips from their own experiences, they also guide and empower you to bring your strengths up to the surface.
Working with a mentor can also be extremely valuable if you want to move into a new career or grow in an existing one. A mentor can provide insight into certain professional situations, negotiation tactics, opportunities and pitfalls, career path goals and much more.
Research has shown that people with mentors are more likely to get promoted faster, earn a higher salary and be happier with their careers.
But how do you go about finding the right mentor – someone who really ‘gets’ you while offering honest feedback about your strengths and weaknesses – in Saudi Arabia?
Here are some pointers to consider before you begin your search:
Start by understanding what a mentor is and isn’t
A mentor is a trusted counselor. It is a person who encourages and guides you, acting as your cheerleader – usually while you navigate transitioning to a new role or take a leap into the unknown.
According to the Misk Y20 Youth Empowerment whitepaper, young people want to learn how to positively impact the world and gain skills they can apply in a job that helps others. Since Saudi youth highly desire career and leadership guidance, we suggest looking to our very own prominent Saudi male and female business leaders as potential mentors.
Identify the type of mentor you need
Mentors can be peers. But generally, it is better to have someone with more years of experience than you. Someone who has been around the block. Think about what kind of person you respect in terms of personality traits, achievements, status and attitude.
Top tip: Saudi Arabia's business ecosystem is bustling with incredible talents who are exceptional role models. But your ideal mentor might be your neighbor, the owner of a small but successful local business or a friend's uncle who you look up to. It's about finding somebody you connect with and that can bring the best out of you.
Write down specific goals
What goals have you identified that you hope a mentorship will help you achieve? Is it to overcome a challenging job move or improve in an existing area of work you are underperforming in, or at least not achieving the results you’d like?
It’s helpful to focus on small achievable goals that all contribute to the bigger picture. Your mentor needs to be able to understand your vision and how you believe you can achieve it. List these small goals in a document by order of importance. The mentor relationship may last a couple of years or longer, so you can expand the goals later as a handy discussion point.
Avoid looking for someone just like you
It’s human nature to look for people we can easily relate to for help, but you could be missing out. Don’t limit yourself to looking for a mentor that is your mirror image. Instead, select a mentor with a different background. This approach will help you to develop personally and professionally. Choose someone with exposure to other business areas or even a different industry sector.
Use your network to find someone
An excellent place to start your search is the Misk Fellowship Program. This program has brought together notable figures to help mentor the next generation and be part of the Saudis' positive change. You can join the Misk Network as a mentee to get support and great advice from people who were once in your shoes.
Social media platforms like LinkedIn can also be useful as people in high positions sometimes advertise their mentorship offers. As in all aspects of your professional life, the more in-depth research and study you do, the greater the chance of success would be.
In short… a mentor could change your life!
Most of the success we experience in life is achieved by meeting the right people at the right time. Through working with a mentor, you’ll be taking matters into your own hands.
Don’t rush! Look for the perfect person. And when you find them, commit to a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. Not only will you gain incredible knowledge, tips and benefits through their experience, but you are also likely to make a great friend for the journey ahead.
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