This is a true story about the importance of having a business mentor. I was so excited to meet Mr. Amazing Marketing Man! His reputation had preceded him. Everyone was so impressed by this young marketing executive who owned a successful national marketing firm. I decided to get to know him and find out what made him so amazing. I asked him about his education and career. From everything he shared with me, nothing about his journey made him a stand out, yet here he was. I was stumped.
Business Mentor Launches Employee to Owner
So I asked him, “What made you go from being an employee of a large marketing department to owning your own marketing firm?” He offhandedly replied, “Oh, yeah, I got to know Mr. Vargos who saw a lot of potential in me. He became my business mentor and introduced me to Mr. Smith as well as gave me a chance to do….” Ah ha! Now, I was beginning to understand. I wondered about all his peers in the large marketing department. So I asked him, “What were your co-workers like in the Marketing Department?” I asked because I wondered why this mentor picked him out of all the people in the department. He admitted that he worked with a really talented group of marketing professionals that had taught him a lot about marketing. I never found out why his business mentor chose him over the rest, but I did begin to see clearly that his mentor helped take him to this whole new level.
Then I asked, “If each of your marketing peers had a business mentor like yours, would they be where you are?” He quickly replied, “Oh no, I don’t think so.” I was shocked by this response. He then continued on with a long discourse on how much he made everything happen, how his work ethic and talent really made the big difference, etc. He refused to see that it was even a possibility that his mentor had made the difference for him.
Have You Thanked Your Mentors Lately?
When it comes down to it, we all like to claim more of the victory for ourselves than to acknowledge those who have helped make us a success along the way. I don’t doubt he worked hard and was talented. However, I also don’t doubt that if Mr. Vargos had selected one of his peers to mentor, that peer may be sitting in this young man’s place. Mr. Amazing Marketing Man quickly fell from his pedestal. I haven’t seen him since that conference, but I sure wonder if he has enough humility to ever pay forward this favor and mentor someone himself.