3 Tips: Great Advice from My Mentors


When speaking to a group last week, I was asked to share the best advice that I’ve received from mentors. Here is what I shared . . .

  1. Focus on asking the right question instead of having the right answer. A mentor told me this very early on in my career and it has stuck with me. For me, asking the right question helps create buy-in from those in the room because they ultimately have the answer; they just needed the right question to help them get there. If I ever feel the urge to tell someone what to do, I try to phrase my thought as a question. Often, their response is even better than my original idea. Make a concerted effort this week to practice asking more questions than giving more answers.
  2. Join a nonprofit board. One of my colleagues once said that if I wanted to be anyone in my community, I needed to be serving on nonprofit boards. So I joined an organization called Young Leaders Council that trained me to serve on nonprofit boards (check with United Way or an organization that serves nonprofits in your community to find a similar program). Now I have served on multiple boards in California and Tennessee, allowing me to gain advanced financial oversight, strategic planning and governance knowledge. I also developed critical relationships with community leaders and gained insight into the issues affecting my community and potential solutions.
  3. Nothing good happens after midnight. When I first started working, a boss told me that nothing good ever happens after midnight. She said that if I am ever at a work event or dinner, that I should always excuse myself and be home and in bed by midnight. I called it my “Cinderella curfew.” While the thought of staying up past ten makes me tired nowadays, it served me well in my 20s when a good portion of my job included evening networking.What is the best advice that you’ve received from a mentor?

What is the best advice you’ve received from a mentor?

Meredith Benton is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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