Do you have something that you love to do and what to get better at it? Will you admit to yourself that you have something missing that you need to learn? Will you take active steps to find a mentor?
Many years ago, I set out to become a better DJ. I was a freelance DJ doing parties and a few wedding here and there. I was not able to grow my freelance business through word of mouth. I did not chase gigs. I figured if I were good, word would get out. I was stuck in a never-ending cycle of low paying and low quality gigs. Keeping up all the equipment was not cheap and decent paying gigs were few and far between. I swallowed my pride after reading a few books on leadership and looked for a booking agent.
I called a bunch of DJ services and one got back to me in 24 hours; this was the place I wanted to join. The other guys, if you can’t be bothered to call me back in a timely manner, even if it is just to leave a message, well you won’t be my first choice. After two interviews and an audition gig, I was told to upgrade my equipment. After spending thousands of dollars on new equipment and doing a second audition gig I was handed a full calendar of bookings after my second week with the company. Did I have to swallow my pride? Yes! Did I have to take notes after each gig? Yes and that was the reason I was giving a full slate of bookings. The owner told me pointblank; you did everything I asked you to do.
I had to learn to take coaching input and get better because of it.
Now many years later I have been getting out and doing some public speaking. Trying to motivate others and help people find jobs by volunteering and paying it forward to others. Would I like to be a full time public speaker one day? Well I would like the option. Now because I have helped others find jobs, I have been very fortunate to keep my career moving forward. Now I am in a position where I am expected to give presentations as part of my job function. In prepping for presentations, I have been coached and mentored by others in the company. I have had to swallow my pride yet again, and it has made me better because of it.
Sometimes being coached and mentored is not an easy process. The goal is to get better, so you may have to admit where you are weak.
Now read these lines very carefully. Do not compromise your morals, principals or ethics to be coached. Sometimes people are put into comprising situations because of money, power or fame. Do not be one of them. In each case where I was being coached it was a win / win situation for both parties. I got a better job, extra money or a better career path and not by selling myself or getting taken advantage of in the process. Never get caught up in the hype or promise by shady characters.
Coaching and mentoring should be an open and honest process not something that is conducted in the shadows or behind closed doors. Allow yourself to be coached, allow yourself to be mentored; but do not become a target and be baited into a bad situation.
So listen to the inner voice. Allow yourself to become better at what you do.