How To Become Your Own Mentor

⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten

A couple of months ago, Hourglass Media (then Hourglass Omnimedia before the rebranding/trade name process) released its inaugural business eBook, The Top Five Things You Should Know Before Starting A Communications Business. This free guide delves into:

  1. Cultivating A Clear Business Plan;

  2. Paying Attention to Time Management and Other Inner Workings;

  3. Getting Comfortable Branding Yourself;

  4. Choosing A Niche; and

  5. Employing Writing Tips.

Whether you’re at the helm of your own business or have dreams for miles about starting one someday, having a mentor can help you wade through the ups and downs. If you don’t have access to a mentor, what are you to do?

Mentor yourself.

It may sound a little crazy, but empowering yourself is one of the most vital pieces of maintaining a positive mindset and establishing your clear and concise business goals and objectives.

Here are five ways you can be your own mentor:

Collect an archive of experiences, research and positive vibes.

Okay, I will admit it. I’m a sucker for introspection. I could find inspiration anywhere, except in those rare writer’s block moments. Take everything in, whether it’s an oceanfront view on vacation or your daily walk or drive to work. Notice your environment and others around you. Be present instead of focusing only on the past and future. Record those experiences in some capacity, whether you journal at a certain point every day or capture your daily moments using your cell phone camera. If you’re a communications professional, you also know that research is the first essential element of any successful campaign. Most of us focus on helping other people, which is wonderful, but in the meantime, we forget to help ourselves. So, as your own mentor, conduct research that will benefit you. If you’re struggling with time management in the workplace, read about ways you can streamline your productivity and manage distractions. If you never seem to find time to decompress, check out your favorite online lifestyle brand to see which methods you could employ to alleviate stress and get back on track. Many of us also focus on the negative aspects of life. If we get a flat tire on the way to work, we clog our minds with negativity. “Why did that happen?” “What kind of idiot leaves a nail on the road?” “I’m never going to get to work on time.” Instead, try your best to think of the silver linings. “I’m glad it wasn’t worse.” “A flat tire is easy to fix.”

Take an affordable online course.

To capitalize on your strengths and target your weaker points, reside in a constant state of learning. This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank and take a college course or go back to earn your Master’s -- unless you want to! One affordable class option is Brit+Co’s online classes, where you can learn lettering on Adobe Illustrator, travel smartphone photography tips, fiber arts (like quilting and embroidery), and more. Classes start at $9 and up, and there are even free options. You can learn a skill in a matter of an hour or less. One of my favorite classes so far has been Darn Good/Ghostly Ferns founder Meg Lewis’ “Design Your Brand Identity.” She just released an awesome book/video series, Full Time You, to help you with personal and professional growth. It’s on my wishlist! There are other online course options as well, such as Skillshare.

Create your own business and personal brands.

Everyone has a story, and it’s about time you showcase yours to the world! Whether you want to showcase your health and wellness personal brand or aim to start your own company, putting your brand out there will help you to start seeing the results you want. Do what resonates with you but also will capture your target audience. Are you selling a product, services or a little mix of the two? What is your mission, vision, set of values? What motivates you? Is it a place, color, idol, the work itself? Cultivate a brand toolkit that includes your logos, color schemes, brand avatars, templates for everything under the sun, brand personality traits and more. Something I do every month is to develop an inspiration board of what will help to motivate the Hourglass brand in the coming 30-31 days. For example, September will include fall leaves, glitter and a touch of High Risk Red Pantones. (I will also start putting this little glimpses of the brand on social media. Stay tuned.)

Establish an affirmations list.

I know, I know. This sounds cheesy. I avoided it for a long time for that very reason. Plus, I thought, “I don’t need that.” But, oh, I did. And maybe you do, too. You can type or handwrite a general list of affirmations or hyper-target some of your key areas of improvement. The goal is to empower yourself so you can be well on your way to becoming the version of yourself you are meant to be. If you’re deathly afraid of money, then write down the basis of your fears. Is it because you feel like you’re always running out of it? (Join the club.) Is it because you are afraid of the type of person who “has” money? Write down your fears and then write down a positive statement to counteract those negative items. Say things like, “I deserve to make money” and “I can achieve my dreams.” Then, post those positive statements somewhere you can see them, whether it’s in a note in your phone, taped on your office wall or secretly placed in your journal. Repeat them to yourself whenever you need an extra boost, whether it’s daily or weekly. Just be sure to refer to them!

Don’t be afraid to fail.

Master Yoda said it best, “The greatest teacher, failure is.” Of course, we learn from our accomplishments. We may even feel confident in our skill sets and comfortable in our careers. Growth does not just come from accomplishments -- it also comes from setbacks, mistakes and missteps along our journey. I know from experience that accepting failure is like learning to ride a bike for the first time. You feel good about yourself in the beginning because you’re pedaling along. Then, all of the sudden, you swerve to miss something in your path and crash into a bush of briars. The only way to reach your own brand of success is to embrace both the successes and failures. And give yourself a break. When you’re spiraling down the black hole of self-deprecation, stop yourself. Go back to your affirmations list. And PR pros aren’t fond of clichés, but “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Go easy on yourself.

Copyright © MMXVIII Hourglass Media, LLC

Kaylin R. Staten is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer. She owns Hourglass Media, a consulting company based in Huntington, WV. 

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