First off, there’s nothing wrong with “seeking” out a mentor.

encourage you to find someone you respect, who is doing something you’d like to be doing one day, and start a relationship with this person.

However, I don’t want you to find a mentor so they can teach you stuff or help you grow.

That’s the wrong way to approach the mentor-mentee relationship.

Wait, isn’t that the whole point of finding a mentor?


I read an article yesterday that perfectly sums up how a mentor-mentee relationship should unfold. The article was on Business InsiderMeet the 31-year-old who mentors the CEO of a $44 billion company.

It’s not lost on me that this is a man-bites-dog story that most news outlets salivate over.

But the jokes on BI because “reverse mentoring” — explained in the article — is actually how most mentor-mentee relationships should go.

The author writes:

Three years ago, BNY Mellon piloted a program called “reverse mentoring.”

Darah Kirstein, an employee at the company, was asked to mentor a senior executive of the firm. Not just any senior executive, though — the then 28-year-old was asked to mentor Gerald Hassell, the CEO of the $44 billion company.

“It was a little intimidating,” she said. “At the time, 1 Wall Street was our headquarters, which is a very historical building. Bank of New York is also a very historical bank, and here I am walking into the CEO’s office.”

Kirstein and Hassell meet once a quarter, either in person when she is in New York or via Skype when she is in Pittsburgh, where she is based.

Hassell has a “Darah list” and often uses the millennial as a sounding board for ideas. He wanted to downsize the bank’s real-estate footprint and asked her opinion on desk sharing. He wanted to know where people her age were investing, how they were investing, and how the next generation consumes information.

One of the biggest challenges for Kirstein was not knowing in advance what questions Hassell would ask…

If you get the impression that Kirstein’s boss is using Kirstein, you’re right.

The biggest mistake most mentees make when they’re seeking a mentor is they view the relationship as a one-way knowledge transfer: from mentor to mentee. When actually, a healthy mentor-mentee relationship is almost the exact opposite.

I know this sounds odd.

How are you supposed to learn anything if you are the one always teaching?

Think about some of the questions Kirstein’s boss was asking her:

What do you think about desk sharing?

Where are young people investing their money and how?

How do your friends consume information?

These questions help Kirstein’s boss to better understand how younger generations think, but they also force Kirstein to think about the different problems she will one day face if she ever succeeds her boss.

David Ogilvy had a great quote about seasonal advertising, he said:

“You aren’t advertising to a standing army; you are advertising to a moving parade. Three million consumers get married every year. The advertisement which sold a refrigerator to those who got married last year will probably be just as successful with those who get married next year.”

I believe this same thinking applies to many managerial problems. Bosses will always have to consider their employees’ work conditions, how their consumers are buying and consuming products, etc.

The point is, your mentor-mentee relationship should skew toward you (the mentee) being of value to your mentor — not the other way around. This is also the secret to securing a high-profile mentor (a topic for another time). Adopting this giving-vs.-taking approach will benefit you more in the long run.

That’s what happened to Kirstein:

While other relationships have fallen by the wayside, Kirstein and Hassell’s relationship has evolved.

Nine years with the company later, Kirstein felt that she hit a crossroads in her career. She had been working part-time after her second child was born and was debating whether to come back to the company full-time.

She liked spending time with her family, but said she didn’t want to go down the “mommy track.” She emailed Hassell in December to schedule a meeting for career advice, and he responded, “It was about time I helped with you something.”

The CEO blocked out an hour and a half out of his schedule to discuss Kirstein’s short-term and long-term career objectives and the path she should take.

“It has always been a two-way street,” she said. “Every time I step into this office, I learn something. He is a very curious person. A lot of our conversations would be begin with, ‘So tell me about …’”

This is the power of being a giving mentee.

Nick Papple
Managing Editor
Success Formula Daily

Get your own copy of Success Formula Daily sent straight to your inbox every weekday. Click here.

Check out what you missed in the last issue here.

The post The Biggest Mistake Young People Make ‘Seeking’ a Mentor appeared first on Early To Rise.

You May Also Like
building an online presence
Read More

A Complete Guide To Building A Strong Web Presence For Your Startup

Now is a fascinating time to start your own business. While it is true that there has never been more competition around than there is now, there are also benefits of getting started in business today.

The good news about starting a business in 2016 is that there are more tools at your disposal now than there ever has been previously. The other good news is that many of those tools aren’t going to cost you very much, and sometimes they might even be free of charge.

Far and away the most important tool to develop in the last couple of decades is the world wide web. Nowadays, this has become so prevalent that we consider it a normal part of our everyday lives.

What this means for you as a business owner is that you can’t afford to ignore it. If you want your business to be a competitive force in the world today, then you need to put a considerable amount of effort into your web presence.

Building it, maintaining it – most of all, making it stand out. The world of business is competitive – and nowhere is this truer than online.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to get started in building your business’ online presence. Here is everything you will need to know.

Choose your domain & host

The first step in building your web presence is one of the most important parts of the whole process. Yet, many people overlook its paramount importance. Such people end up rushing this stage, and they soon come to regret it.

We are talking about choosing your domain name. If you don’t already know, the domain name is the actual URL which people will type into their browser to reach your website. The reason this is important is because it sends an immediate message about your business.

People take away a lot of unconscious information from a domain name. If you already have a business name registered, then ideally you want your domain name to be exactly that. However, this is not always possible – and sob stories of domain names already being taken are rife everywhere.

One way that people often use to get around this is to find a good domain name first, and then name the business after it. Of course, it’s all up to you. The main thing to bear in mind is that it needs to be relevant to your business, short and snappy. Memorability is key here.

Once you have a good, solid domain name, it’s time to choose your web host. In an ideal world, your web hosting service will provide you with the ability to have a large amount of data stored on their servers.

This means that you can save money, as you won’t need the server space yourself. Many such hosting companies are included in WHSR choice of top hosting companies. Choosing a decent web hosting company can make all the difference when you are just starting to build your online presence.

Design & build your website

Once you have your domain and hosting sorted, the next step is to start designing your website. There are certain common features which a website needs to have to be successful. One of the most important things for your website is that it has a bold and original design.

Your website will be the first port of call for many of your potential clients and customers. As such, you want it to make a good first impression. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking that it is not so important.

But in reality, it is like the face of your business. So take your time and design a visually powerful site. You could even consider hiring a team of web designers if you wanted, to give it that professional edge.

Remember that a good website must be easy to navigate and access. Nobody likes having to deal with a difficult website! You should also try and keep your contact information on prominent display.

Ideally, this would be as a box on every page. That way, the information is always there to hand. The majority of your visitors will be looking for contact information, so this is vital.

Set up an email newsletter

Far and away one of the most effective means of getting your message into people’s homes is through their inbox. That’s why any strong web presence must include the possibility for clients to sign up to an email newsletter.

This can be a weekly newsletter highlighting some of the changes which have occurred within the company. Don’t underestimate the power of such a technique.

This has been known to be a powerful way of drawing in potential customers. You should consider this the first step in your web marketing. As such, it’s a vital aspect of your web presence.


While we’re on the subject of marketing, remember that social media is just about your best friend. These days, marketing has been made extremely simple – and very cheap. Social media allows you the opportunity to engage with your customers and the general public in an open and friendly manner.

The trick with social media is to ensure that you are active and, what’s more, interactive. Don’t just set up an account and leave it there. Get involved with other users. Respond to queries or complaints.

Twitter, in particular, can be an effective tool for communicating with your customers. Social media is like a one-size-fits-all tool for marketing your business. And what’s more, it doesn’t even have to cost you a penny.

Or if you prefer, you can spend money on it, and promote your business even more effectively through the use of promoted posts and the like. You should consider social media an essential part of building your web presence.

Remember mobile

Finally, just a point to say that you should remember the importance of being mobile-accessible. Wherever your business appears on the internet, ensure that it is mobile-friendly. This is not just a matter of courtesy.

93% of small business websites are not mobile compatible – and this results in lost sales. Give your business the edge by taking mobile access into account every step of the way.

Let's block ads! (Why?)