In various conversations – I usually get asked question that imply something like “how I got to where I am now”. My usual reply to those questions has always been something like: “My professional life is shaped by 2 things. Leading change and having great mentors”. I suspect this will remain same for my professional journey in the future as well.
On the mentoring front – I have been very fortunate to work with some of the best and bright minds in the industry who imparted their wisdom when I needed them. Some took me under their wings when I faced rough weather. Some mentored me knowingly while others helped me unknowingly. Some have now become life long friends. I found my mentors came from all walks of my professional life – people who I worked with internally in a company or outside a company; people who I reported to or bright people who worked for me shaped my thinking. Bottom line – I just don’t know how else I would have accomplished much without them. Hence – my personal experience on the mentoring front has been very rewarding and positive despite what I occasionally hear on how hard it is to find good mentors.
For budding aspirants – my advise remain to seek out good mentors. If it is hard to find good human mentor(s) then seek out good books. Right books can be decent alternative. However, before you seek out mentors – do ensure you approach them with an open mind; willing to listen; learn and act differently. Nothing turns off mentors and future relationship than mentees attitude. Mentoring is like tough love where you want to hear feedback that is hard for others to share with you. In many cases you will hear something that you have to change and not people/things around you.
On the Change front – I am driven by Change and in some regard I have been a change agent all my professional life. I usually jump with both my feet when I see Change approaching and then I work extremely hard to make Change successful. Looking back – my professional career is defined by those moments of Change – where instead of hesitation I ran towards it and make the Change a successful transition point for me. I subscribe to the notion as one of my friend used to say…”Change is just a change. It is what we make out of it”. My attitude towards Change truly helped create opportunities for me that otherwise may not be there for me. I must admit though it did not come easy. However, I enjoy this kind of change as I see it as a personal growth. I have found that Change keeps me sharp and brings the best out of me as I am driven by constant learning, growing and improving.
Change do not come easy. It is hard work and seek commitment. I have found to make the most out of Change – one has to be open and flexible to try things differently or do different things. It helps to have the ability to grasp and learn things quickly as well as keeping an open mind to unlearn past habits/things while committing to relearn new habits/things without getting too frustrated. Also, given we live in a competitive world where lots of things Change regardless due to the factors out of your control – I have found having foresight to see the type of Change coming and making/leading the Change on your own while time is on your side is more fulfilling. It is empowering and satisfying to see the Change happen through you rather than seeing the Change happen to you.