During the early 20th century in New York City’s Lower East Side, Jewish voters of particular neighborhoods would vote in blocks. You would know who a Jewish voter would vote for by finding out who was his rabbi. The rabbi thus became very politically powerful, with favors owed to and doled from him. Hiring halls would assign work based on your answer to “who is your rabbi?”
In life, you need to find your modern day rabbi – your mentor(s).
What is a mentor?
- Someone willing to tell you that you are wrong
- Someone who has been where you want to go
- Someone who holds you accountable
- Someone whom you admire, respect, and trust
- Someone who genuinely wants you to succeed
- A guide. Your Yoda.
- A sounding board
How do you find a mentor?
Just look around and ask! This can be a colleague or manager, someone at your company, someone you met at a conference, church, old classmate, etc. The worst that can happen is that they pass on the opportunity so don't be afraid to ask (at the least, they'll still be flattered).
It’s difficult to go through life and navigate alone…so go find your rabbi(s). If you are in a position to mentor someone, then pay it forward. (The more you give, the more you get back.)
I attended the awesome SASE (Society of Asian American Scientists and Engineers) Conference as a representative of ITW - the keynote speakers and workshops all emphasized the importance of mentors. SASE's Executive Director, Khanh Vu, asked me to spread the word about their new video on this topic, so here it is: