Gone are days of the aspiring and upcoming leader being assigned the grizzled veteran in the corner office as a mentor.
For the most part these days, our professional development is largely in our own hands.
When I worked for the world’s largest aerospace company, I was involved in the affinity group for young professionals. As part of our programming, we would ask business unit leaders to give presentations describing their backgrounds and enterprise responsibilities.
One such presentation ended up being consequential for me.
This particular business leader was giving going through his remarks when one of his last slides showed rows of pithy sayings and platitudes.
I was dumbfounded.
I did the EXACT same thing. Obviously, I was destined for future greatness given that I shared this singular trait. Ha. Ha. Ha. More on that later…
Anyway, after the presentation I sent an email to this person with my own list attached and asking for a lunch meeting.
One word of caution: Getting the attention of someone far about your level is cool. But what you do after that is what matters. Is there anything you can bring to the relationship?
Don’t worry if you don’t bring some unique skill or hidden talent to the table; passion and energy make up for a lot.
That lunch meeting ended up getting accepted, and what resulted was a thoughtful and helpful mentor relationship that paid dividends for years to come in that job.
Don’t be afraid to ask people you respect for help.
They just might give it to you.