I’ve had my share of mentors over the years and although each were unique in their own way, they all fell into one of three categories: Casual, Formal and Indirect.
Casual mentors are direct. They shoot from the hip, act as a friend and confidant and show interest in you as a person.
Formal mentors are direct in a different way. You have guided conversations with them, respect their acumen and internalize their advice.
Indirect mentors are those who you study from afar. You observe and respect the way they act, how they conduct themselves and the way they treat others.
PR is a soft science. Sure, the numbers are hard, but the data often leads to different interpretations and you can’t learn how to build a relationship from a textbook. That is why in this industry, experience is worth its weight in gold. As a PR practitioner, I find myself lucky to be surrounded by the three types of individuals described above on a daily basis. In their own way, each of them aids my personal and professional development by not only sharing their years of experience, but by offering me genuine, personal advice.
So, who are your mentors? Chances are they don’t even know the weight they carry. You don’t have to tell them – just be thankful for them.