These words were emphatically spoken to a loud, mouthy, young radio salesgirl by her much wiser manager.
The mouthy sales girl was me. The manager was reminding me that she had more experience and I needed to listen. That woman has been my mentor ever since.
She found me tending bar and offered me a job in radio sales. I initially turned her down, but thankfully, she persisted. Six months later I was selling airtime and my career began. Her blunt observations, guidance, and belief in the abilities that I couldn’t see in myself made all the difference in my professional life.
No matter if you’re fresh out of school or you’ve been working for years, find someone with more experience, with a different perspective and a different approach, to be your mentor. This person doesn’t even have to be in your chosen field. They need to be someone you admire and can cultivate a relationship with.
Take them to coffee or lunch. Ask them for their insight. What did they do in their career that worked for them? What were their failures? Believe me, everyone wants to share what they know. They’ll be flattered as hell you asked and you’ll learn far more than you would have ever learned in a classroom or a book.
After selling radio, I went out on my own, started a little ad agency and spent 32 plus years doing what I loved. Through it all, my mentor has never been out of reach and I owe her more than I can ever repay. I’m still loud and mouthy, but at least I know I’m not the smartest person in the room … and my life is richer for it.