5 Things I Learned From My Mentors

I look back on my college and entry-level days with a lot of appreciation for my experiences with impactful people. From my academic mentor to my internship supervisors, I’ve gained a tremendous wealth of knowledge that has continued to serve me well in both my personal and professional lives.

What separates the successful folks from the average ones is the ability to take advice and apply it to one’s journey. This, of course, is easier said than done given that a lot of the advice and so-called insight out there is straight up malarkey. I consider myself to be a sharp person with the ability to discern what advice is valid and what advice is just word’s from a pretentious person’s mouth. Whether you have that skill or not, below are my top favorite pieces of advice from my mentors.

It’s not who you know, but who knows you. – Dr. Luis C. Almeida

Never tell someone that you can’t do something. – Tonya Oaks-Smith

Choose your friends wisely. – Kimberly L. Campbell, Esq. 

Always have your portfolio ready. – C. Ashton Hall

You have to be strategic. – Dr. Luis C. Almeida

I can note the exact moment that each of these pieces of advice were demonstrated in my life. I was always encouraged by Dr. Almeida to have a portfolio. That idea yielded the creation of this blog. In August of 2018, I was emailed by two hiring managers who knew me from this blog and my twitter account. They were intrigued by my content and level of knowledge and extended an invitation to apply for marketing positions at their respective companies. Talk about advice coming to life!

I’ve found it to be extremely effective to not tell someone “no”. I consider myself a problem  solver. While sometimes it can be a thankless role, being the go-to for solutions is helpful in many circumstances. It pays off to take on this role. Most people who make it to the top of the ladder had to climb… being able to provide solutions and take on challenges successfully is a great way to keep moving forward in your career.

Who we surround ourselves with also matters… big time! This is more deep when it comes to your work environment. I recently had a conversation with a colleague of mine about “pointless a** people”. When you work around folks who have no get up and go about them, that energy will transfer to you whether you believe it or not. Pointless a** people are like a deadly disease. It just takes a few of them to takeover the company culture thus resulting in a pointless a** work environment which spells trouble for you and your career. Stay away from losers, and find the leaders at your workplace.

Having your portfolio ready at all times is a no-brainer piece of advice. If you are already ready, you don’t have to get ready. Stay ready! Period.

Finally, strategy is the true name of the game. You don’t want to be the person who got a VP role by default (yes, that does happen. I have stories.) and is absolutely horrible at their job. You want to move up consistently and make an impact on your company, your community and maybe even the world. It takes a master strategy to create and live out the career of your dreams. I’m in phase 2 of my strategy, so I can’t give you all of the secrets to success just yet. However, my blog holds many secrets that will help you get off on the right foot.

What I can say from experience is that competition will kill your career quicker than complacency will. Your only competition is the person you were yesterday. Those who compete tend to focus their energy in the wrong places. Your energy needs to be used properly at all times. If you’re focused on anything other than the goal, you’ll find yourself behind. I’ve gained so much knowledge from my mentors and my experiences. I wouldn’t be where I am today without knowing such sharp professionals who truly get what professional success is all about. So, take all of this advice and run with it! I’ll meet you at the top.

Published by Keiana Holleman

Proud HBCU alumna with a degree in communications seeking to change the world through writing, marketing, and social media!

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