Learning to network, make connections and then sustaining those relationships throughout your career is one of the secrets to the overall success of accomplished business leaders. Over the course of my professional life, I have met many individuals that have taken the time to offer valuable insights from all different backgrounds and industries, which added significantly to my career by teaching me important lessons about business and life.
Early in my career, one of my bosses told me to always find a person that would be able to assist and mentor me. This was excellent advice, which I have passed on many times over the years. When looking for a mentor, it is important to find someone who is successful, preferably in the business sector in which you wish to pursue or at the very least, whom you greatly respect and admire for his or her success and career trajectory. You can learn so much from a variety of people who have had many different types of experiences. The real lessons come from your openness to listening and learning from their successes– but more importantly, their failures.
Meet with your mentor
When working with a mentor, it is ideal to create an ongoing relationship. Meet with your mentor as often as they are willing. The take their insights and put them to work in whatever field you work in. For me, especially early in my career, I made it a point to attend every single meeting, conference and training that I possibly could, even when people said I didn’t need to, or it would be a waste of time. To be certain, continuing your education, putting yourself in a room of other professionals and meeting colleagues in never a waste of time. Something positive will always come from being present.
I also made it a point to volunteer at every work event my company hosted. This was a great way to network among my peers and to meet all of the important people that were making the company decisions. Though I wasn’t paid to attend these events, the amount of knowledge I obtained and the relationships I forged were always far more valuable than my paycheck. This commitment eventually paid off because I landed a big promotion. The man who hired me never met me but when he called me to tell me I got the position he said when making his decision, he called around the country and asked my co-workers who should get the job, and they all said it should go to me. I was truly flattered and it inspired me to want to work even harder and go the extra mile.
Go above and beyond
It’s very important for your co-workers, bosses and even your mentors to see that you are more than willing to go above and beyond your job description in all aspects of your work. Be willing to take on additional responsibilities, and do it with compassion and integrity. If you’re working for a company, always make considerate decisions, that not only make yourself look good but also your boss, especially if your boss is your mentor. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Whatever position you’re in, always look for and create as many opportunities for yourself as possible, and do it with grace, dignity and respect. These traits will take you far in your career. And, if you see an area that needs improvement, try to improve the situation whether it’s your job or not. Just remember to always work hard, be a team player and determined to succeed.
Dottie Herman is a world-renowned business mogul, and prominent role model for entrepreneurs. Recognized by Forbes as “America’s Richest Self-Made Women in Real Estate.” After a highly successful career in financial planning, Dottie climbed to the pinnacle of the housing industry in only two decades as the CEO of Douglas Elliman, the fourth largest real estate company in the United States. In 2018, Dottie will launch her new leadership venture for aspiring female entrepreneurs of all ages.