Have you ever gotten a note from someone in your past who remembers something you said that made an impact in their career life? Bravo if you have.

Mentor versus advocate…

When I think of a mentor I think of time invested, meetings, and long term relationships-a commitment.  Shoot, I have trouble scheduling haircuts in advance or keeping that dentist appointment every 6 months.   What an incredible gift that one person can give another person…time.

Perhaps that is why it happens so infrequently.

I have listened to a number of people who have talked about influencers in their lives. That one person who saw recognized something in them, took a chance and just believed.  Those people might be better defined as advocates or champions.    In every role you have, whether Project Manager, Business Analyst or new career position, when you see something you like, just say it…out loud!

If you notice someone who has done something exceptionally well or handled a difficult situation with professionalism…tell then.  When someone seems to have a way of cutting through the chaos to state simply the real problem and get people moving forward…tell them.

Don’t assume people can see their own gifts and talents.  It only takes a minute.  You never know when your comment or acknowledgement of someone’s  skill or characteristic,  given at just the right time, can propel someone’s career.  It could be you be as simple as, “you really demonstrated your ability to connect the dots which enabled us to solve this problem.  Have you ever thought of being a Project Manager?”   “You seem to be able to see processes so clearly, have you ever thought of becoming a Business Analyst?”   “I so appreciated your leadership during that crisis. You stayed so calm and fact based.  Thank you”.

No good career comes without bumps and scars.   Helping people to see their strengths might also be the right medicine to keep their career from getting derailed by just a bad moment in time.

So go forth today and be someone’s advocate, be someone’s champion.  Make the work world a better place!  Who knows, you might change a life.