Our reputation and relevance in this world are ultimately up to us, but Garry Browne, author of Brand New Brand You, says mentors are an important element in building a positive personal brand for future success.
Browne says that mentors are a cornerstone of information and the right mentor can pass on core values like integrity, resilience, honesty and determination.
Even in our early adolescence, when the idea of ‘personal branding’ may not be a priority, mentors who pass on ideal traits can set us on a path of positive branding and future success in both business and personal relationships.
“It’s also never too early to find a mentor – in fact, you might have two or three,” Browne says in Brand New Brand You.
“Mentors come in various shapes and sizes and from many different parts of your life. Your mentors might be an uncle or aunt, teacher, sports coach, community group leader, church leader, your boss at your part-time job, grandparent, a trusted friend. Different people will have different skill sets, knowledge and experiences.
“It’s important when choosing a mentor to be clear that it’s a commitment for both of you, and the mentoring relationship should have a defined structure to it that you’re both happy with and a clear timeframe for review, perhaps once a year.”
Browne says that mentorships do not occur exclusively in our younger years. In fact, we can benefit from a mentor in later years, from early adulthood and even in our 30s and onwards as we reach professional maturity.
“You need to have the foresight and humility to ask to be mentored,” Browne says.
“This means you need to have a level of self-awareness, you need to have reflected on your strengths and weaknesses, and taken a reality check of why you are where you are, what you might need to change, or at least the areas you need some help with.
“This sounds easy, but many people don’t ever do this, let alone in their 20s.”
“If you have a mentor, make sure you are revisiting your goals and progressing towards them.
“Have you grown (stretched your mind, body and soul) over the past year, or have you fallen off the pace? Do you need to recommit time to personal development and growth? Unless you are growing, you’re going backwards, so it’s up to you to proactively ensure you are keeping up with your skills, industry trends and changes.”
Of course, as time goes on, we are likely to pick up enough information and experience to know what it takes to maintain relevance, reputation and a positive personal brand. When we reach senior years and retirement age, Browne says it may be time to consider passing on our knowledge.
“At the other end of your executive career, mentoring is a highly productive, beneficial and satisfying role … mentoring younger people is a form of knowledge transfer that’s hard to secure any other way. It also enables you to share your networks and help guide younger people through the options and pathways of their life and career.”
However, Browne says that mentoring others does not have to be a one-way system. He believes that those who mentor younger professional also stand to gain knowledge and ultimately continue to grow their relevance.
“In addition, mentoring keeps you engaged and up to date with what’s happening in your industry sector or profession and across the current and emerging national and global trends in business, trade, commerce, IoT, cyber security and more,” he says.
“The options for mentoring are varied and range from professional business and leadership coaching organisations … through to industry association mentoring programs or mentoring through the business or organisation you worked in.”
To read more about staying relevant in today’s business landscape, buy Brand New Brand You by Garry Browne online. Brand New Brand You is available in e-book or paperback.