Your dream mentor may be out of reach. But luckily for you, his or her best pick-me-up advice isn’t. Here, eight mentors-in-our-heads — from the creator of a yogurt empire to a doctor who heals star athletes — give their best advice on how to get through a tough week and get ahead.
“People like to work with people they like. No matter what industry you might work in, the relationships you cultivate are often just as important as the skills you have. Cherish your network and remember that good karma is good business. In other words, work hard, be sincere, and value your relationships. Your reputation is your greatest professional asset.” — Aliza Licht, branding and communications executive and author of Leave Your Mark
“Travel, travel, and travel while you’re young because once you get locked into a career path, you don’t get to do it quite as much. It allows you to challenge yourself in so many different ways. For me, traveling feeds my soul, and business travel is so important because it allows me to see trends and explore new food ideas, which are great sparks for innovation.” — Koel Thomae, co-founder of Noosa Yoghurt
“Being academically smart is fine, but it’s your character that takes you places. Develop character traits such as extreme self-motivation, passion, enthusiasm, and a contagious desire to better yourself that can’t help but to get noticed.” — Kornel Kurtz, president and CEO of WebTek
“Swim upstream. Don’t apply for the jobs that everyone else is applying to, and forget online job bulletins. Instead, stand out from the crowd and apply to companies that don’t have any listed job openings. Want to work in television? Walk yourself into the local news station, hand your resume to the executive producer and say you want to be their newest production assistant. They’ll appreciate your tenacity and drive, and just may have a position for someone with that kind of chutzpah.” — Kelsey Bye, CEO and founder of Spots on a Leopard
“If you want to be recognized as the best in your field, do way more preparation than anyone else. I dissected 20 cadavers to really understand connective tissue; most physicians have only dissected one cadaver in their lifetimes. In order to really understand swimming mechanics, I spent 20 hours a week for a year and a half studying underwater videos of World Record swimmers frame-by-frame. As a result, swimmers now pay 500 percent more for my swim camps because I can guarantee an improvement in their times.” — Bob Prichard, president of Somax Performance Institute
“Know yourself and bet on your strengths. Too many people try to shore up weaknesses and accept general roles or jobs out of convenience. Don’t. Spend some time to really understand yourself, then go all-in on what you’re good at. First, it’s way more satisfying work, and second, being naturally skilled at something puts you ahead of so many other people in that field, the competitive advantage you have is insane.” — Graham MacDonald, owner of Handsome Beer Company
“Always be curious and ask as many questions as possible when something interests you. If you admire the work a colleague is doing, ask to learn more over lunch. See a campaign you admire at a different company? Reach out to the person responsible. More times than not people are happy to share their experiences and answer your questions. Sponge as much knowledge as you can along the way and be generous in returning the favor when people ask.” — Mandy Menaker, head of public relations and brand strategy at Shapr
“When we take a leap, we are leaving something secure behind — so we need to trust that everything is going to unfold to perfection. You need to approach everything from a glass half-full mentality and remember that even ‘failures’ are opportunities for growth. If there is some resistance, step back and find out why. Resistance is the key to fine tuning what you are supposed to be doing.” — Lulu Agan, chief bliss officer for SwellWomen
Originally published at www.glassdoor.com on November 9, 2016.