Our Guest Blogger is Gretchen Lastra, Senior Retail Specialist on the Progressive Real Estate Partners team. In this blog, Gretchen shares “The Importance of Mentorship” which I think is applicable to all of us whether we are mentors, mentees or both. I appreciate all that have helped mentor me over the years and I am thrilled to be a mentor to many others in our industry. I hope you enjoy this blog. – Brad Umansky
I am a huge fan of mentors. I’m an open book with people I trust, and there’s nothing more educational that learning from someone who has been through the tough times and figured out solutions to things that aren’t written in text books. Whether it’s a mentor in parenting, business, relationships, marriage, there is always someone that is willing to be your guiding light through the things for which there is no ” for dummies” book. Not only do you learn so much from them, they help push you in the right direction and somehow make you want to be a better person.
Below is what I look for in a mentor and a few things they have taught me:
- Someone who encourages you to be you
Someone who will focus on your strengths and isn’t tearing down all of your flaws is the most empowering feeling. For instance, I sometimes find myself feeling shy when it comes to prospecting for business, and the one thing that my business mentor, Brad Umansky, said that has always stuck with me was “Be Bold.” I have grown up always being concerned with what everyone thought, and when someone told me to “Be Bold”, I felt empowered. Brad knows that I am bubbly, and sometimes loud, and instead of trying to muzzle me he encourages me to be myself. It has helped me tremendously not only in the commercial real estate (CRE) business, but in every aspect of my life.
- Someone who is ruthless
A good mentor won’t be afraid to give you the cold hard truth. One of my mentors will easily tell me without hesitation “Why would you even do that? You’ll be making the same mistakes over again.” They usually follow it with a better solution to the problem. But they will always be honest. They’re not honest to be mean, but they’re honest because they will tell you what you “need” to hear versus what you “want” to hear.
- Someone who focuses on morals & values
I’m all about ethics. If your mentor is doing some questionable things, chances are they will steer you to do the same. Sure it may sound attractive because it’s probably a shortcut or may even give you more dollars at the end of the day. But you can’t put a price on peace of mind, and I personally can’t sleep at night knowing I did something unethical. I know people who will risk relationships and respect from others just to close a deal. The last thing you want is the reputation that you will step on someone’s toes to get paid.
- Mentorship is a two way street
You get what you give. If you don’t follow up with your mentor or give them updates, chances are they’re not going to come after you. A mentor isn’t your babysitter, a mentor is your trusted adviser, guru, and guide. It is not their job to follow-up with you on your business. If they are successful in their business, it’s also because they are busy with it. Always keep your appointments and always check in with them.
- Don’t be afraid to seek a mentor
If you end up building a relationship with someone you want to learn from, ask them if they can mentor you. They too have their own mentors that helped guide the way and get them to where they are today, and they probably want to pay it forward too. Mentor’s also learn from their mentee’s, and as much as their investing in you, they are also aware that you too are investing in them.
- Always show respect and gratitude
The best way to pay a mentor back is through respect and gratitude. If you respect them and are loyal to them, they will return the favor. Gratitude is always the best way to pay someone back. Send a hand written note on a new accomplishment and how their guidance helped get you there. There is no such thing as a self made person. Every successful person has had some help to get to where they are today. Never forget how you got to where you’re at and who helped you along the way.
What are some things that you have learned from your mentors or mentees? I’d love to hear about it! You can email me at [email protected]