Power of building your personal #Squad.

 Image via Unsplash

Image via Unsplash

The hardest part of doing something is just getting started. Having goals and ideas is awesome, but actually making them happen is a whole other ballgame. Knowing how to take the next step or what step to take may not be obvious at first. What’s more, it can be intimidating if you feel unsure about your ability to reach these goals on your own. The good thing is you don’t have to do it solo. The answer? Personal advisory board!

A personal advisory board of mentors, or as we like to call it your personal #squad, is the not-so hidden secret of many successful entrepreneurs who’ve gone on to meet and even exceed their business and life goals. Having people to advise, support and coach you (in a formal or informal way) as you develop can be key. These individuals should have plenty of life and work experience that they are willing to lend  to your development process, and lessons to share from what they’ve learned through their own journeys. Taking this wisdom can help you learn about yourself and where you want to go, while adding depth to the mentor-mentee experience.

Another benefit to an advisory board is that having people aware of your goals can keep you accountable to them. With someone taking interest in your progress as you work, you’ll have extra incentive to hustle towards achievement!. You’re no longer rolling solo, you’ve got everyone in your board rooting for you. This is an excellent source of motivation, giving extra purpose (and oomph!) to whatever you’re working on. This also means there’s going to be people to celebrate with you when you succeed.

At the League of Innovators, we’re all for you finding people to learn and develop from, whether it’s at school, or in your community. There’s a lot to learn from the people around you, so focusing on having a single mentor is shutting off a shot at more opportunities. Instead, focus on developing relationships with a small group of advisors from a wide variety of backgrounds—you’ll have a broader range of perspectives as you meet challenges and figure out your next steps at every milestone. Another advantage of curating an advisory board is the exposure to new opportunities. Creating a network of quality relationships is a difference-maker when you break into the professional world. The more people who know what you’re capable of, the easier it is to show the world exactly what you have to offer.

Check out our  full crash course on building your own personal advisory board or your ‘squad’ here. We think it’s totally worth watching, but if you’re not in the mood to watch, bookmark it for later and read on for some key takeaways!

 

Seek Out Help With Specific Goals

You know where you want to be, so find the people who will help get you there. These are people with specific connections and experiences related to the opportunities you want, whether it’s landing that sweet internship, your first real-world gig, or getting your own business off the ground. Once you have someone in mind, approach them with specific requests. It doesn’t have to be a big ask at first, and can be as simple as meeting them over coffee to ask a few questions, or for their mentorship as you work to your next opportunity or business idea.

 

Add Value To The Relationship

To get the most out of a member of your advisory board, you have to put some work into the new relationship too! Potential advisors have lots to offer, but they are busy people. If you want to get them engaged in your pursuit of success, you have to add value. Instead of just punching the clock, show up ready and eager to learn. Build an organic relationship that is mutually beneficial, not just focused on your own needs. If you can show them your strengths and what you’re capable of, they can offer you more support.

. The simplest way to add value is to just be present as you work. Taking the opportunity to be there in the moment, actively asking thoughtful questions and showing genuine curiosity for what they have to offer, will prove that you’re worth working with. Another idea is to always go into meetings with your mentors with an open mind, rather than sticking to a fixed set of expectations. It helps to know what you want, but if you’re receptive to any advice they may have for you, you’ll get ideas and input on things you didn’t realize you needed help with.

 

Put In The Work

So you’ve found people to be your advisors, ready to steer  you in the direction you want to be going… Well, the work doesn’t stop there! With all this knowledge you’ll be receiving, your role is to be like a sponge and let it all soak in. Take time to understand what the lessons you’re receiving are, and what you can apply them to.

This also includes making sure you’re ready whenever you meet with your mentor. It sends a signal that you’re prepared and eager if you’re there with everything you need at your fingertips, instead of scrambling for materials and showing up distracted. Whichever version of you makes it to the meetings also displays just how much value you’re assigning to the relationship.

 

Set Expectations

Once you’re working to get the most out of your mentorship experience, the best thing to do is make sure you know what everyone expects out of it. Keep in touch with your advisors and check in regularly to let them know how you’re doing, and set a guideline for how often this happens and what it looks like. Transparency is key, so be sure to understand what’s expected from you, and what you want out of the relationship every step of the way. The more they hear from you in the form of a continuous relationship, the more likely they are to offer help in the future. An additional benefit of this is that eventually you’ll have a bunch of professional working relationships developed beyond receiving mentorship. With any luck, they’ll last until you’re  mentoring someone too!!

Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber