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The Champion Forum Podcast

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Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! In this episode, Jeff concludes his interview with Austin Armstrong, a recent college graduate. Austin asks Jeff about mentorship, navigating a workplace culture, dealing with mistakes, and the moment that changed his life. Be sure to catch Episode 46 to hear the first half of this interview!

How do you find successful people, and how do you get their attention without overstepping?

  • Mentorship is extremely important if you want to succeed. You can find a mentor by:

    • Use your family connections

    • Joining professional organizations of people in your field.

    • Use your alumni network and professors. Your university connection will make them more likely to help.

    • Use LinkedIn

  • Don’t be afraid to take a long shot on your dream mentor! You never know when someone will be looking to take on a mentee.

  • Don’t be afraid to cut bait on a bad mentor. They could have amazing knowledge, but a bad personality. They might miss meetings, or show up unprepared. It is okay if your mentor relationship is a bad fit!

    • Don’t be rude or nasty. You can explain that you want to end your mentor relationship politely while maintaining your professional relationship.

  • It is best to find two mentors.

    • Find one in your business where you work in a job that you want (preferably not above you).

      • If you choose one of your superiors as a mentor, they will influence you to do what benefits them.

      • An internal mentor will show you the ropes and show you how to advance in your company.

  • And find another one outside your organization to give you fresh ideas and perspective.

Q: What do you think would be a good reason to end a mentorship relationship? Have you ever ended a mentorship or had a mentor end your relationship? How did you/they do it? How can you handle this situation while staying professional?

How can you learn and navigate a workplace culture?

  • Treat the janitor with the same respect as the CEO. You have to assume that everyone you come into contact with can influence your career mobility.

  • You need METHODS, RESULTS, and CULTURE to succeed.

  • Focus on building your personal brand.

    • Invest in yourself outside of work hours.

    • Identify solutions for problems that are affecting your organization and

    • Take on some tough assignments. It builds credibility

    • Create advocates. Don’t stay in your circle. Build advocates outside of your department and your circle.

    • Build your job knowledge

    • Build your knowledge of your organization by studying their website.

      • Know your company’s mission and values, when the company was founded, who founded it, and the different divisions.

      • You will instantly get credibility and your name will be known throughout your organization.

  • Your results will not be enough. You’ll get to a place where everyone has proven that they can get results and you’re competing with them. Your political know-how will separate you from the pack.

Q: What do you think your peers would think if you were suddenly their boss? What would they think you would be like? Would they be afraid of you? Would they have respect for you? What can you do to make sure your personal brand would support you being promoted?

How do you deal with making a mistake or a failure?

  • Don’t let perfection cripple your state of readiness. Don’t be so afraid to fail that you don’t even try.

Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.
  • Unless your failure was illegal or unethical, it won’t define you.

  • The worst thing for a person who lacks confidence is an early setback. You have to decide that you will not let your mistake define you, and you will not let it happen again.

  • Making mistakes repeatedly is a choice. It shows that you’re making bad decisions.

  • Deal with making mistakes by:

1. Set a time limit on your emotions

  • Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions you are feeling until morning.

  • Then, approach the situation with information, not emotion.

  • Don’t feed your emotion, feed progress

2. Be humble and apologize if you need to.

3. Get feedback from other people.

4. Manage your self-doubt.

Q: Describe a time when you made a mistake. How did you handle it? How did your boss handle it? How do you think you would handle things differently in the future based on this podcast?

What moment changed your life?

  • When I applied for my first sales job I failed to prepare for the interview, and I did not get the job.

  • I learned that my job is to be ready for opportunities.

1. You have to be accountable to yourself and those that you care about.

2. Always work on improving yourself. Natural ability is not enough.

3. Engage your motivation. Understand why you want to succeed.

Your goals don’t care how you feel. Your motivation will push you through.

Application Activities:

  1. Who is your current mentor? Evaluate your mentors based on Jeff’s advice. Do you have one mentor within your organization (who is not in your org chart)? Do you have one mentor who is from outside your organization? Remember that each mentor will have different strengths that will help you stand out in your company. If you already have these mentors, spend some time evaluating the relationships. Do each of those mentors have your best interest at heart? Are they giving you tips to succeed? Are they bringing a fresh perspective to your job responsibilities?

  2. Take some time to reflect on a career moment that changed your life. What did you learn? How have you changed since that moment? Celebrate how far you have come! Then, reflect on where you want to go. Dream about what you will have achieved in 5, 10, and 15 years.

  3. If you are in a position of leadership, take some time to educate your team on creating a personal brand. Help each member or mentee evaluate the type of personal brand they want to portray and the personal brand they currently have. What steps does each person need to take to create a personal brand that will support their success?

Resources Referenced

Connect with Jeff

Instagram: @thechampionforum

Facebook: The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher


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