Although I’ve held down a steady job since the age of 16, I’ve never really had a “normal” cubicle, corner office type of job. The only run-of-the-mill job was a stint in a retail bookstore. Judging by the book I could write about that place, it was anything but normal.
My primary “career” job for thirteen years was in a home-based boutique PR agency long before it was the accepted norm to run a company outside of commercial office space. My boss was a woman ahead of her time, and she really became my first mentor. Finding a person who can help guide you and provide beneficial advice is one of the best tools for generating a successful career. A mentor motivates, suggests, diciplines and nurtures. It’s way better than a parental type relationship because it comes without the baggage and groundings! It may not even be something that you realize is happening…that’s how amazing the process of mentoring can be.
Certainly, Corinne Forti has been that person for me. She allowed me to wear so many “hats” in her company, including working directly with CEOs and senior management, in order to teach me all aspects of client care and business. This experience provided a number of “life lessons” that certainly lined me up for my current trajectory. She instilled confidence and toughened me. To this day, I continue to work with Corinne. We now have a different relationship, which has grown over twenty years. What she has passed onto me–from my first day at age 18 until now–has shaped my decisions, work style, and personality. She is still the first person I call when I think I’m off-course.
In expanding my horizons and moving forward, I am fortunate to have met another person who has been a mentor AND a connector for me. Brian Parsley is that person. I have always been a firm believer in the farflung notion that people cross paths in life for a reason. The intersection of Brian and Nina at the corner of Guru.com was a chance meeting designed to happen. Without meaning any self-deprecation, I’m still not sure why Brian took a chance on working with me after one brief phone call. I’d like to believe it was that there was a connection formed on philosophies, goals, and, most importantly, sense of humor.
While I was–and continue to be–excited to work with Brian, especially in terms of his new venture, WeSkill, it has been the regular phone calls from complete strangers that really made an impact. Picking up the phone and hearing, “Brian Parsley said you were great and that you could help me.” Wow! I couldn’t believe that this person served as my personal cheerleading team. Even better is the fact that Brian has quickly become a mentor who helps me steer my freelance writing course. Whether it is sage advice or immediate feedback, Brian is only a phone call or email away.
Brian is beyond a mentor; he is what is known as a “connector,” bringing people together when he believes there is some sort of fit. He has helped me realize that paying it forward involves becoming a connector as well. With friends and colleagues, I focus on seeing who might benefit from someone else I know because people like Brian have done wonders for me. Why not do the same?! It’s a win-win-win that can be multiplied continually–it’s a win for the people who become connected and it’s satisfying for the person who did the connecting.
Think about how you can mentor and connect people in your life, enabling them to change career paths, set and attain new professional goals, and expand their knowledge and consciousness.