Seven Life Lessons My Dad Taught Me About Mentorship|
Father’s Day has come and gone, and the staff at Levo thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite member’s thoughts on what the holiday has come to represent. Many of us, especially if we’ve graduated in the past 5 years, have had the unique and sometimes straining experience of coming back to the nest post-graduation. Our parents, more than any other generation’s parents, have been asked to be cool and generous beyond any reasonable expectations of the parent of an adult. Whether for better or for worse, our dads deserve an extra debt of gratitude!
Before there were mentors who passed our resumes along and taught us how to navigate the minefields…there was Dad–always there to be our biggest support and our loudest fan. Along the way, the first and greatest lessons that I learned about business were from my father. I wasn’t always listening, but the older I get, the more I realize how much his advice was geared at helping me find the career of my dreams. I often find myself wishing I had implemented his advice from the beginning. On Father’s day, l celebrate and appreciate my first mentor, Dad, by passing along his best advice:
1. Call Rosa
You’re probably wondering who Rosa is. Well, she was my first professional mentor– and a woman who has had an immense impact on my career. My dad is always the first to remind me to pick up the phone and call her– whether I need advice, or just want to share a career move that I’m excited and proud of.
Often, we forget that our close mentors care as much about helping our careers as we care about learning from them. So, if you haven’t talked to your mentor in a while…pick up the phone and reconnect. It is never the wrong time and will always be very much appreciated.
2. Take Business Classes
As a very passionate journalism student in college, the last thing I wanted to do was take business courses. Whenever the topic came up, I would revert back to childish behavior, whining anytime my dad suggested that I take a few classes in our business school. After all, I was a budding broadcaster– and the last thing I needed was someone trying to sway me from my grandiose plans. Little did I realize that he wasn’t trying to sway me, but was rather trying to fortify my career.
I don’t really regret anything in life, but looking back, I realize that I should have listened to my dad when he told me to take a few business classes. It would have been a great supplement to my very expressive career. I found out quickly, as I’m sure many of you have, that having a wicked sense of business will catapult any career. I have since received tremendous experiences that have accelerated my career in business, but I would tell any young professional, regardless of your major, to get experiences and classes that teach you the ins and outs of business and entrepreneurship from the get go. There’s nothing to lose and you’re not selling out. You’re stepping up.
3. What’s the worst they can say?
Whenever there was someone I wanted to meet or an opportunity I wanted, my dad always pushed me to make the ask…because as he noted, “the worst they can say is no”. I learned from an early age to minimize the fear of rejection.
More often than not, I found out that I will get a ‘yes’ or a ‘yes, eventually’. Incredible experiences and contacts will come from making a cold call or a big request. If you’re prepared that you could easily get shot down, but aren’t scared of it, everything on the other side of that is potential for incredible growth.
4. Know your worth
Before I even knew about the issues surrounding equal pay, I had a father who advocated knowing my worth, realistically, and fighting for it. He always suggested that I do my research to know exactly what people in my field are making with similar degrees, regardless of their gender, and not settling for anything less. In fact, he urged me to #ask4more before the age of Twitter. When you’ve worked as hard as we have for a great education, GPA, and related experiences, you owe it to yourself to be your biggest advocate when it comes to pay. And the only way to begin that process is to know your worth.
5. Keep track of your growth
I remember after taking my first internship at ESPN, my dad asked if I wrote down my position and the pay that I made while there. I thought that was a trivial inquiry and brushed it off. But he urged me to keep track of the different positions across my career and how much I was making at each stage. That way, I could accurately track how far I’ve come and in what amount of time. Given, there are more to our careers than positions and pay structures, but it’s a wonderful feeling to look back on 3+ years of professional experiences and see the amount I’ve accomplished. It’s a wonderful reminder to be appreciative and grateful for the opportunities in life and have a better understanding of where you want to be going.
6. You are your brand
I remember getting a text from my dad while on spring break in San Diego my junior year of college saying “check your email.” Apprehensively, I logged into my account and saw an email from godaddy.com notifying me that I was the new owner of maxiemccoy.com. I laughed and thanked my dad for this thoughtfulness (randomness). Completely missing the point, I asked him why I needed a domain with my name. It was then that he gave me one of the greatest lessons in building my career, which is to build my brand. He shared that my success will be determined by the brand I build around me, myself, and I. And that began by building out my own website, which later became one of the most important platforms for externally communicating my skillset and portfolio both as a writer and on-air talent.
As we heard from Deanna Brown this past week, our brand is reflected by various online outlets like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs that old, current and future employers will take into account. It is up to us with what we do with those medias. The earlier you begin to view each post, account name, and website as a stepping-stone in the masterpiece that is your brand, the better.
7. Go clean your car
Will do, Dad. I promise.
Maxie McCoy is the Levo League’s infinite optimist, endless supply of contagious confidence, and tireless non-profitess.