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Personal Branding for Creative Professionals

Lesson 17 of 20

Mentors and Powerful People

Dorie Clark

Personal Branding for Creative Professionals

Dorie Clark

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Lesson Info

17. Mentors and Powerful People

Lesson Info

Mentors and Powerful People

Mentorship is something that in the course of lecturing about my book reinventing you I I have heard a ton of questions about because we know that if we are wanting to take control of our personal brand and really, you know, reinvent ourselves tio to be recognized for the full talent that we have, we need mentors we need thio learn from people and and make sure that we're getting new ideas so that we don't have to make every single mistake on our own, but it could be surprisingly hard to find a really good mentor I know you know, this gentleman right here his name is tom delonge and he's, a professor at harvard business school, and when I interviewed him for my forms blogged and I, you know, quote him in the book as well hey was telling me that he actually believes that there's a sort of mentorship crisis these days because when he goes into a room, one of the exercises that he likes to dio is he asks people, have you ever had a really great mentor that has supported you and helped you...

over the years? And he says that invariably almost everyone in the room, if you're over forty, you probably raise your hand and if you are under forty, you probably keep it down and part of the reason that he thinks that's the case is it? In the past twenty years, the economic pressures have gotten so severe that the way people do business is really different it used to be that more senior professionals they would be able to sort of step back a little bit and take time and really helped cultivate and nurture the younger generation. But these days people don't have that luxury there's a lot of financial pressure that everybody is under and so instead of taking time for things that don't immediately produce roo, I like, you know, helping a junior colleague really learned to excel instead they have to be out there rainmaking they have to be out there doing the work and so it means that there's this fundamental gap so the question is what do we do about that? Because hopefully we're not just resigning ourselves is saying no, well, I guess I won't ever have a mentor will have to figure out everything on my own that would be kind of sad, right? Hopefully there is a better way of doing it. And so one of the things that I proposed and reinventing you is actually a redefinition or re conceptualization of mentorship there's a woman that I profile in the book named hank phillipe ryan and she's a newscaster in boston actually she's a television investigative reporter she's won many emmy's really cool person and she for years I had a dream of becoming a mystery novelist and it was not anything that she really took super seriously, but it kind of been in the back of her mind for a long time, and she told me a story when I interviewed her for reinventing you about something that actually began teo really for at first kind of burrow inside her mind and eventually it changed her life, which was that there was a young woman who was her intern to start out with and this woman interned for her and you know what was really cool, really enthusiastic and had this dream that one day when she graduated from college, she would come back and be hank's producer at the news channel, and it turned out this woman was very ambitious. She was very good and so that's exactly what she did, you can't start out in boston, which is a fairly large media market, so she graduated from college. He got a job in a tiny town working as a television producer and she, you know, worked her way up over time and eventually there was an opening and she really did get hired back, his hank's producer working in boston, and so in the intervening years she had kind of picked up a new hobby and she had started to write a romance novel, and so she got a first good first draft of it and when she got back to boston she said to hank, would you be willing to read my book and offer feedback on it? And hank really liked her and said, oh, for sure I'm happy to do it and as she's sitting through and reading this book that her former intern created it began to dawn on her and she told me don't worry it was like, you know, it's like that zen saying when the student is ready the teacher will appear and she said in that moment she really realized that for intern could write a book of course she could write a book she just needed to make the time and make the space and make the effort to do it and so she got started she was inspired by her interns example and she did write a mystery novel and in fact right she'd been doing it for a decade now and she's written about half a dozen mystery novels and has become tremendously successful has won, you know, the agatha in the cavity and the edgar and all the all these all the big prizes in the mystery writing world she's one and has become successful because she was inspired by someone that most of us would say is actually fairly unlikely when we think about a mentor we think you know this perfect person who could teach us everything you know this perfect person who is just like us, but fifteen years older than us that can save us all the trouble. And so it turns out maybe your mentor looks like that, but maybe your mentor is younger than you. Or maybe your mentor's appear it's a really wide variety. I actually was doing a workshop in a law firm a month or two ago, and a woman you were talking about mentors, and she told a fantastic story. She said when she first got hired, this very prestigious elite law firm that, you know, she was kind of scared, you know, she didn't really know her way around, and it turns out that in the interim between getting hired and then starting, you know, which was a number of months later, she had become pregnant and because of whatever way the health insurance work, the health insurance policy at her company should because it was, you know, like a pre existing condition before she was hired, it turned out that the cost of her pregnancy expenses and, you know, going to the hospital, having the baby was not going to be covered by her insurance. She was gonna have to pay for that out of pocket, and she was really worried about the cost of it, and so she was telling this problem to her secretary. Who had been around for a long time and was, you know, sort of a sympathetic listener and this secretary you know, into the woman's like I don't know how I'm going to do it you know, it's going to be so expensive to pay for this I'm really worried and the secretary basically just slap some sense into her and said, you know what if you can't advocate for yourself on this I don't know what kind of a lawyer you're gonna be and she was so stunned and she said ok, ok? And she got up the courage as a result of that to go to the senior partner in the law firm and said, you know, we we need to change this I need the firm to cover this and they did and she said that she was mentored by her secretary that her secretary prided herself in the secretary self identified as a partner maker and said everyone who works with me they get to become partner and so we need teo look beyond ourselves we need to look beyond the usual suspects to find the people in our lives that really can teach us things maybe maybe it's a friend who's really good at something it could be you know, your assistant, your intern, your secretary it could be, you know, an older person but maybe they're in a different company or even in a different field another attorney that I talked teo during the same workshop she said, you know I said, well, who's your mentor and she said, you know who I really learned a lot from my yoga teacher, she said, I get so stressed out at work I get really nervous and freaked out because of all the things that have to do and when I'm doing yoga, I can relax and my teacher has helped me see the importance of work life balance and that I don't have to be stressed out all the time and that's one of the most powerful lessons. So what I would like you guys to be thinking about we're going to talk about this in a moment is in your own life who are your mentor's? Um I wanted to draw a distinction for a moment there's a there's a think tank in new york called the center for talent innovation turned by woman you sylvia ann hewlett and they've done some interesting work and they had a book that actually came out from my publisher harvard business review press last year called forget a mentor find a sponsor and they're trying to make make the point about this and you know they're they're they're sort of making it extreme point because mentors are always good but it's true that sponsors even are a little bit better, so I just want to explain the difference as we think about it a mentor is somebody in your life who gives good advice somebody who cares about you you could go to them they can you know, give you ideas and inspiration a sponsor is somebody who expends political capital on your behalf somebody who is really not just willing to give you ideas and advice but is really willing to kind of stick their neck out to help you you know? So maybe if you're, um you know if you if you run a piece of event planning maybe there's somebody who is a meeting planner for a large corporation and they're interested in subcontracting us out some work to you and you know this big corporation they wantto twenty events all around the country and your friend the you know, the meeting planner if this is a sponsor would say no you know I can I can guarantee all that's going to do a really good job you need to hire her for this piece of your business you know, somebody who's uh who's really going to put themselves on the line and can make a difference for you. And one of the most interesting things that I found in this book that sylvia ann hewlett did pardon me is the idea of you know what it really takes the cultivate a sponsor and this is and this is true really inventor relationships as well she discovered that seventy in in a mentor protege orsino sponsor protege relationship seventy percent of the effort comes from the protege I just want that a sink in for a minute because oftentimes in the popular narrative around mentors and sponsors, we think, oh, it's this successful person and they see promising us and then they choose us, and then they just like do stuff for us, and that is why there are not any mentors anymore is that if people have this idea in their head it's not gonna work it's not gonna happen because who is really famous and successful and has time to be like, oh, I choose you and now I'm going to do everything for you just cause I mean, it doesn't really work. So what needs to happen instead is that you, as the protege, need to put in the time and effort to keep the relationship going because this person they may really like they really want to help you, but it can't be their top priority, right? If there, you know, if they're running a company or their, you know, traveling around the world and things like that, the top thing is not going to be advancing, you know, this person they're mentoring are sponsoring, they want to help where they can, but you have to be the one that keeps it alive so it means that two thirds of the effort has to be coming from you, and so part of why I want to have this discussion and I'm excited to have john corcoran come in to talk about this is that many people get flummoxed here because they think, oh, well, you know, how do we keep the relationship going? Cause I don't want to like bother this person I don't want, you know them to be thinking like, oh, jeez, another message from so and so or they think that they don't have anything to offer the other person that you know, why? Why should they want to hear from me or what can I possibly do for them? And it really is a trick here because you have to solve that problem. They can't even tell you can't ask him, what can I do for you? Because they don't know they're, you know, it's in southern job to think of it, if we really want to prove ourselves to our mentor or to our sponsor, we need to come up with ways that we can be helpful to them. Take that off their plate so that they really see wow, this person is making an effort I mean, sometimes it's literally just keeping in touch like if they give you a piece of advice you look back and say I tried your advice it was really great, you know? Thank you so much, you know, here's what happened? They appreciate that, you know, but there's other things to maybe it's a simple as if they have a blogger, you comment on their block, maybe it's re tweeting their tweets, maybe is helping tio provide college advice to their child. Maybe it is getting involved in a charity that they're involved in, maybe is teaching them something about technology that they might not know or doing a favor. You know, if you're a graphic design designer for someone, I mean, you don't wanna be giving away your work for free every tom, dick and harry that you know, but do you want to give away your work for free as a favor to somebody who is a powerful mentor? That's helped you? Yeah, maybe you do if you if you think it would be beneficial to, you know, to have them, you know, like, oh, you know, maybe they don't they're complaining, oh, geez, I ran out of business cards well, guess what you can help and so there's a lot of ways to think about it but there's something that I would love to have you guys do both here in the studio audience and at home is to really think about the question who is on your team of mentors and so I'd like to actually ask you um you know, guys guys here you khun start teo work this out but I might actually call one of you up on stage and so barbara, I'm wondering if I can grab you if you don't mind yeah come on up here here outgoing my worksheet yeah do it you can come on here I'll sit here yeah don't quite really if we really wish we did but don't really yet have a tea momento should we write wish list of absolutely make it great point if you don't have a team of mentors, put your wishlist down and hear the things at home viewers that we like to think about so we make a list and it should hopefully be at least three people but maybe more people you know, because we want to have a good robust teams on dso who our day this could be existing or wish list mentors who are they? What do you hope to learn from them and what can you offer them? So this is the this is the crucial thing here because a mentor doesn't have to teach you everything they don't have to be the perfect person the reason we want to have a team of mentors is that some people are going to be better at other if certain things than others so maybe there's one friend it's really great networking maybe there is one friend who is really great delegation or someone like your yoga teacher who's really great work life balance and if you have that you can learn those different pieces from those individuals doesn't have to be the whole package you can still learn from them in different ways so barbara I just wanted to start a conversation with you about this question. So do you do you feel like now you have a team of mentors? Well it's um I don't think I have a team and it's funny you should say yoga because my yoga teacher is my mentor yeah the two women in my yoga class peggy a seventy eight maiden and joanne seventy three and they're so beautiful and looking great so for the last few years they've been my mentor wow and so when you say that what what form does that take like what what do you do with them? How much time do you spend with them and what you and I spend time I make time to spend with them and I just see how they handle life's ups and downs that's kept them in this very looking great at seventy eight right being able to move and do yoga like a twenty year old because if you don't see them from the front you think they're twenty years old so as you get older you want to kind of figure that out wow so they've been able to really teach you about health and resiliency and sounds like yeah and so but I am at the time in my life right now when I would like to have a professional for my work mentor on and I was actually thinking about that recently and haven't located who that is our identified but him I'm thinking about look yeah that's great and so for the for your yoga teacher and the people in your class when you think about what what you give to them what what did they get out of the relationship? How do you get back? Um well we're good friends and and I'm a good listener again and people like that especially older people yes and um and I'm young and they got energy so it's something done I'm there for them that's great, you know? And I come from a small town like I was saying in chicago, so I kind of miss the different the grandfather and the father it's just me and my husband, my kids that we don't have that extended family and the whole community yeah, I used to have so I'm kind of on the look out for that now somebody well, I'm thinking older but as you said, it doesn't necessarily be older but that's my idea of it at the moment right absolutely knows business not necessarily graphic design or photography but someone who's a good business person yeah, I think I think you raise a really important point, barbara because many of us again you know, we sort of limit ourselves when it comes to mentors because we you know, we say oh, well, you know, they have to do what I d'oh and so you know, maybe tomorrow might say, well, I have to have ah, you know, an equine photographer is my mentor and if you do that I mean you might find somebody but you could probably learn almost this much from somebody that you know that's maybe a general photographer or maybe just someone who's a self employed creative professional in a different way you look like you had a daughter a story sorry about that has, um when I have started a queen photography, I wasn't really interested in people yeah, unfortunately, but we chose you chose well then yeah, exactly, but it's just that I probably I just haven't seen that many great portrait ce around me in my home town, but then there were uh, there was this amazing photographer, and the second is so his portrait I was like, well, while they make me take and, you know, and I was like, I want to learn from him. I want him to be my man, terry yeah, so the story is hate. He taught in my hometown, and they went to his photo school, and I finished his course, and I was so and they're getting during that time that he was like, well, I like that, like, you just stay and work for me on they worked for him for another year, and then I've learned a lot about portrait photography. Yeah, and it took my decline for terry with two completely different level. Like, from just, uh, he used to say that it's a psyllid of a horse than a take pictures off. And then I started teo really important prince horses. So, yeah, definitely looking in the other fields is really, really important. Oh, what a great story. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, I think I think it's so important because you can. We often really underestimate what we can give to other people. And sometimes, you know, literally just working hard for somebody, they appreciate that so much because so many people are just giving average or they're giving you no like enough and if someone can see that you're a passionate that you're interested and really willing to make an extra effort they want that around them that becomes magnetic and you know, you were saying barbara that you know that the women around you I mean you know that you're young you're energetic I mean it really matters if you're if you have an older mentor who could teach you a lot and you know let's see they get sick and you're the first person who says, hey, can I go grocery shopping for you? Do you need some orange juice? You know, that's the kind of thing that makes people say, wow, I am so glad you're in my life you don't have to give in fact you shouldn't be probably be giving to them in the same way that they're giving to you because they always air going to no more than you on you know, x y z subject you know they're going to know more about than you are about being older and healthy they they always win on that because they are older but but you can you can give to them in a different way I'm curious what we're hearing online well there's one distinction that some of our chatters would like, which is what is the clear difference between a mentor and a coach hmm can you help us to figure out the differentiation the differences or the similarities are they two different things sure yeah so I mean the way that I think about this is you know when we talk about coaches you coaches that's generally a paid designation so I guess you know you could you could sort of use it is like a verb like oh my friend barbara is coaching me on how to be a better designer or something like that but typically if someone talks about a coach that's someone that they've hired for that purpose could be a life coach or an executive coach menu no nutrition coach so that's great and it often is somebody who you know is providing similar kinds of learning and engagement but it's in a structured way with a financial relationship a mentor I mean there could there could be a paid mentor program and I actually offer something on my web site similar to that where it's you know kind of like you know, a paid mentor engagement but but mohr typically when people talk about who their mentors are that's usually a sort of person to person pro bono and arrangement so that's how I'm using the terms great well cathy once to know most of my friends do similar work to mind I learned from them but actually we're in competition for business so how can I find sponsors is that the right question to ask it could be yeah, I mean really what what I would start with is a sponsor so if we go to the definition of it, a sponsor is somebody who you know, unlike a mentor who khun b, you know, literally almost anyone a sponsor can actually on ly b a very particular type of person because that is someone who is willing and able to expend political capital on your behalf and so that, you know, that there's a lot of people I mean, I could be your mentor, you know, I you know, I can you can ask me business questions and all that kind of stuff, but I'm not really in a position to be your sponsor because I don't you know, I don't have any kind of, you know, horse big horse connections or something like that, but if there was a person who was let's, say, the marketing director for the race horse association of america and that person could probably be your sponsor because they have the power to be ableto really make important connections, they could maybe even have the association hire you to do photographs of you know what we're going to send tomorrow to the kentucky derby and she's going to take pictures of all of the race horses there, you know, something like that, so they really have that ability so generally, what I would advise is that people should cast a wide net for mentors, and then some of those people who are your mentors, who, you know, you begin to have really great, powerful relationships with where they are doing things like offering insight, an advice some of them depending on their positions, maybe candidates to be sponsors, while others would not distinction. We have a great comment from mary w two on the flip side, in my previous corporate work, I've meant toward many others and absolutely loved it. I loved to pay it forward, and I learned from them too and it's important to remember that even as a mentor you can learn, I think sometimes people forget that mental is love doing it because it's it's a refresher it's like what's, totally fresh, isn't it everytime mental somebody? And so, you know, I think some people are scared to talk to a mentor in case I say no, but in fact, some people that have mental before have loved the experience and learned from it yes, yes, it's, it's really true and, you know, I think that that's that's a powerful perspective because, you know, the old model, the sort of twentieth century mentor model is, well, you get older and wiser, and then you pass it down you know, and that's great, but but I think that what we need to be thinking of more now, you know, we're kind of going to a flatter world in general and it's kind of limiting to just think like, oh, well, I'm I'm going, you know, mentor people, you know, there's a stage in your life or your mentee and there's a stage when you're a mentor and that's it, I would like to say that at all times we should try to be both mentors and mentees. My children are my mentor also, because as I'm doing websites and everything, there's so many new things that I don't keep up on, yeah, I'm constantly having to have them show me what's going on that's, that's, exactly right? I mean, it's, you know, just just by way of example, I mean, you know, susan rohan, who was just here, she was saying, you know, john corcoran was a great connector who's going to be on momentarily he's been connecting her with all kinds of podcasts to be a guest on and, you know, this is ah, whole new world for susan, who, you know, when podcasts were not invented, the internet was barely invented when her a book came out twenty five years ago and so the fact that you know she was saying last night she said they said that she was so grateful that she's been exposed to these new audiences through these new vehicles you khun you khun give in a variety of different ways so I think that's exciting and it looks like you had something you wanted t mention shammari well no just that our our studio are at home uh students the global audience I mean they're just actually reemphasizing the power of mentorship and that cat rises so grateful to have so many great mentors I don't have to lean on any one of them too much so it's like casting the wide net as you as you spoke about and spreading spreading the job around right yes absolutely I think I think that's really true and I want to stress another element here which is the importance of essentially creating your own curriculum as as a mentee and you know here's what I mean by that which is that if you there's a woman that I profile and reinventing you named roxanne crete and she told the story about this this program she was working in fundraising at the time and so women and development is a big uh you know, kind of group for for women in fundraising and they had a specific mentor program you could sign up for and in it they you know, it would assign you to somebody, and she said she did it, and she thought it was so amazing she thought it was just the greatest program, she loved it, but when she came back a few months later and she's talking to other people who are participating, they all hated it, he thought was terrible, and they're all complaining, and she wanted to understand what the difference wass between her great experience and other people's lousy experience, and what she really realized was that she had created her own mentoring curriculum. She would have breakfast once a month with this woman, and she would have a list, and she'd prepare in advance, and she'd say, well, tell me more about this. I'd really like to hear about your experiences with x y z and then the one when we tell a great story and then the next month should have prepared ah, fundraising letter and she give it to the woman in advance and would say, tear it up, critique it. I would really appreciate your feedback, and the woman would do it, and she would learn, and she would get better where, as so many of the other people who are complaining just sat back and was legal, teach me, teach me now and you know, the mentor doesn't even know where to start, they don't know what you need to learn, and so it was a bad experience for them. Yeah, so my actual bachelors degree program was based on mentorships. It was is called the adult degree program at prescott college, and I designed it myself. I called integrative arts, and each semester I would have three topics, and I would find a mentor in my community, and it was sort of this structured, like, I think they got it three hundred dollars stipend, and so, depending on that, they would meet with me, like, maybe once a month, or if there are more generous, maybe more than once a month, and I had to have clear objectives and activities, and so is a nice kind of structure thing was so nice to have that that all of those little mini relationships with all those people in the field and then recently I've been sort of trying to find a entertainment agent owner as a mentor, somebody who I could, you know, run my ideas by and share ideas as well, because I've, you know, I would be able to contribute to their businesses well, and I don't want to approach any of the local agents in case they were thinking of me as competition. But I haven't had luck dris reaching out to random people in other countries or states I've I've tried, I should probably try harder, but I haven't had luck with that, and I also tried to join like a mentor hookup mentor website, and they just didn't really have anyone quite in my industry because it's so specific, right? So I've been sort of craving a relationship with a mentor for a while, and I haven't quite made it happen and part of it again, the same thing with follow up is that thing of like, I'm much more comfortable if I know I have something to offer if I'm wanting something, then I don't really like to put myself out there it's the same thing with if I'm following up with somebody who could help me versus somebody I can help same thing with the mentor it's like, um, so if you can address, um and that it wasn't based instinct, but because yes, absolutely and you know, I'll actually I'll put it to the studio tea at at home audience as well. If you guys have suggestions for debt and ideas about ways that she might be able to tap mentors, that would be really interesting to hear what you would dio, eh, so we would welcome those, but I would say that one possibility would be you know, it's it is hard to you know, just kind of cold call somebody and like be my mentor I mean there's no there's no way that that they could really it means easy to say no because there's not a bond on dh so I want to suggest some ideas about ways to make it a little bit easier and warmer but jean marie it looked like you had exactly the thing that everybody wants to know all right? But I can send you back to your seat to thank you so much for coming and hanging out great. Yeah, really the question that we've got in here uh ion echoes this I find people look to me for mentorship I sell seldom feel I know enough to say yes so what's that polite and respectful way to decline a request to be someone's mentor yes, very important. So one thing that that I suggest to folks is you know, I actually I generally don't like the you know the question will you be my mentor? And the reason is that whenever I hear it at least I'd be curious you know what other peoples experiences but when I hear that I think oh my gosh, this is like this overwhelming question I mean basically to me will you be my mentor is the equivalent of like, will you be my son's godparents and you know, it's like that you nurture this person and whatever and like I just I just agreed to be somebody's godparents and it's like that's a big deal like now I'm like, oh my goodness like how do I how do I do this? Well and you know, I'm like thinking about my strategy, you know and like, okay for the rest of my life I have to be very diligent and you know, I know some people blow things off, but I'm gonna blow off being somebody's mentor if I agree to be their mentor, I'm gonna blow off being their godparents and so similarly so it's like it's like almost a too big thing like maybe if I was so tight with this person already but mostly you know what you get is like you give a talk and somebody comes up to you after your talk oh you're so cool, will you be my mentor and it's like whoa that's that's like, you know the sort of proverbial like will you marry me on the first date? You know you don't want to go there, so what I suggest is actually too different possibilities about this so the first one is what I call stealth mentorship and so basically it's like you kind of try to start cultivating the person as a mentor treating them like a mentor but not calling them is a mentor because you know you don't freak him out so basically what you want, teo sort of you know a technique you here in sales is to get small, incremental yeses. And so the first ask is not will you be my mentor, right? It's not will you marry me, it's, will you go on a date with me? And so the first ask is is a good one is like, wow, you know, I really respect what you said in your speech. I feel like, you know, I really agree with what you've said I share your values. I would be so honored. Tto learn mohr about how you do it. Would you be willing to answer a few questions for me for just fifteen minutes? Could I you know, do something there was just convenient for you couldn't come to your office. Could I buy you a cup of coffee? Could I do a phone call with you for ten minutes? You know, whatever would be convenient would you be willing to do that? And if you if you really make it very limited and small oftentimes the person will say yes ten minutes, fifteen minutes most people, they mess up because they either you know st lingo huge like, will you be my mentor? Or they say something like oh can I buy you lunch and it's like oh so like an hour and a half and then we'll kind of lol around and you know that's for a busy person that's really hard so you want to come up with a very discreet ask another possibility which you know for someone who's really, really busy don't even ask him that send them you go up to them shake their hands say how much you like them say would it be possible if I emailed you a follow up question oh that's like super easy right? You could answer that in like two minutes and so probably no one's going to say no to that so like oh, you can email me that so email on one question and then guess what? You started a dialogue so you right back to them a month later you say thank you so much I tried your thing here's what happened then? You know, would it be okay if we stayed in touch in the future and you know, okay, that's pretty general, they're probably going to say yes to that. So then you know let's say a few weeks later a month later you send him another like one question by now they remember who you are, you've been in a dialogue and as robert chaldean e has shown this is the arizona state professor that we were talking about earlier he wrote his famous best selling book influence the psychology of persuasion one of the things that he talks about in there is called the commitment and consistency principle and basically what this means is that people begin to think of themselves in a certain way if you vote you know democratic or you vote republican and you can keep doing that over time you begin to think of yourself yourself that way it's like oh, you know I am a person who is a democrat because I vote democratic and similarly and so gets to be part of your identity and your oh I am I am a good conscientious citizen because I'm the kind of person that always picks up later and you know boom if you get someone to start thinking of themselves as wow I'm the kind of person that helps samantha uh you know we have a dialogue we have a good relationship I help samantha over time they begin toe get in the head space of like oh I guess I kind of am a mentor to samantha so yeah story so photography there's a um it was like a photography group and I met a woman who said she was into filmmaking I wanted to do films so I kind of overheard her talking one time and I said you call me, I'll work for free on your, you know, production, so I did that and she's like, oh, you're a really hard worker. So then she started calling me when she had paid jobs, or when someone else she knew had paid jobs, and recently she, um, like, created this post saying, like, if you're ever looking for someone and that's, you know, hard worker, you know, consisting or I can't remember the specific terms it calls samantha henderson and I was like, what? Well, I wasn't expecting that public shout out, yeah, but, you know, it started with, you know, being friendly and then just volunteering my services for free. So without the experience, I said I could do this, and I showed her and it led to, like, more work and other opportunities oh, that's so great. And I love that that's that's a perfect story because, you know, oftentimes is creative professionals. I think we struggle about the questions of, you know, how how do we price our work? How do we give our who do we give our work away for free to? Should we give it away? So anyone and you know, here's, what I would say you just the trick is you've got to be strategic you know, we heard a story from tomorrow yesterday about you know, being like kind of a little weird with friends one time we're like the kind of expected it for free but you know, it was just sort of murky and you don't want a situation like that what you want to do is if you give away work or time for free do it in a really strategic way I think that actually if you are goingto do something you know for free for somebody this is one of the best ways to do it because these you know, these folks if if you really want to build a relationship with somebody who could be a a riel influencer if they see that you are good if they're seen you know, they they have a big reputation right? They're not gonna risk their reputation on some random person but if they've seen proof for themselves that you are really good and you really are hardworking usually these people are rising to the top because you know they're good networkers they're well connected and they do want to pay you back and so if samantha's been working for me for free and has done a bang up job I am gonna want to refer work to her in the future and I am going you don't want to tell the world about it so that's that's really great you know it's about having the strategy behind how you do it so I love that that's really great. So anyway, so the stealth mentor strategy that's number one and then point number two that I just want to make another possibility is if you do find yourself in the situation where you ask someone to be there for you to be their mentor know for them to be your mentor that's a totally okay, thanks to you, as long as you put boundaries around it. And so for instance, in my book reinventing you, I quote a executive coach named michael melcher, and he told me a great story about a guy who became his mentor, and he said, you know, I had the conversation with him, and I said, dick, I would like you to be my mentor, and that means that every six months you would have breakfast with me and give me your opinion about questions that I have would you be willing to do that? And dixon? Sure, no problem that's a pretty easy ask because you don't want to be somebody's mentor, where they're calling you every five minutes and saying, I'm having a problem, what do I do? And then they start crying and you know, it is too much, but if you if you have something where you explain very specifically what you mean buy it then you have the opportunity for the person to really in an honest way so you're on the same page say yes or no to that request reminding me of that phrase I'd like to pick your brain yes over lunch thank you yeah yeah no it's tze true I mean, people people throw that around all the time like you know, that's uh e am so glad you raises having lunch with someone is a great thing to dio if you really are peers and you really think like, oh, I could make a great relationship with this person then we could be pals well, you know, if you're going to be pals or colleagues, having lunch is great because you're forming, you know, nice relationship where you're getting to talk with the person plenty of people I asked out to lunch but you have to be cognizant of power differentials this is a really this is a real issue that people don't address or don't think about it and, you know, in america we want to be this very egalitarian society and we are I mean, I'm not saying somebody has like, you know they're better than you if they're more powerful, but if you have just started your business and you have no clients and no revenue and you don't know what you're doing and there's someone in your field that you really respect and they've been in the field for thirty years and they're a worldwide expert and you know they have this great career and you just say hey wow, I really like what you're doing wanna have lunch I'll pick your brain basically what that means is not I want to be peers with you that that means that means I want free help from you and I don't have anything to offer you except maybe a ten dollar sandwich you have to do better than that if your peers you could do that but you have to recognize so you can address it properly you know this this thing where if someone has more experience or more power in a relationship than you it's not you can't do it with a sandwich you have to find better ways to make yourself more interesting toa high level people and yeah debt you had a thought like unaltered native to the mentor thing which you just made me think of with this like once every six months idea so I had an idea of just a board of advisors and then it's and something very similar to that where I rent out a really nice little space and I you know have a nice thing catered and I invite like let's say there's four to six people and that we do it twice a year and it's clear they know that I'm I'm gonna have my questions well organized because there's a specific time and I know what I what wanting and I'm basically there like a steering committee you're not gonna waste your time yeah and then maybe they they'll agree to like answer simple questions in between but the only real commitment so that's kind of easy to say us too and it all says less like board of advisors being an advisor to someone versus being a mentor is kind of a lighter version but it's similar dynamic yeah I liked that absolutely and I think for everybody you gotta put your own personal spin on what feels comfortable but I can see that being an appealing offering in particular if you actually get some really good people on your board of advisors I might be interested in doing something like that if I am thinking well, who else is on our debt sport of advisers oh I'd actually really like to connect with this other person and this gives me an opportunity twice a year not just to help a debt but maybe make a few connections of my own so that's pretty cool so you know really briefly and I actually I made a video for creative live about this this topic for ways to make yourself more interesting to high level people so you could see that on youtube in on the creative live pages well if it's if it's of interest to have a super succinct two minute version of this but basically, when a sandwich won't cut it, you know when when, when it won't work for you to say, oh, angelina jolie, please you no have have lunch with me, you've got to dig deeper, come up with better ways of doing this so four ways you can make yourself interesting the high level people number one interview them someone may not want to just have lunch with you, but if you say even if it's just for your own blogged you know, can I can I interview you? They know yes, they're spending time with you, but it will be seen by other people and they'll be out there on the internet forever benefiting others, so you expand the impact of that person that makes them more likely to want to hang out with you to write about them, you don't even necessarily initially have to meet them. You can just write about them. I've met some great people, david allen, who wrote getting things done ra meet state, he who has a blogging, a book called I will teach you to be rich they're you know they're really prominent people with big followings, and both of them actually reached out to me because I had had quoted them in articles that I wrote incited them so sometimes you know, when we talked yesterday about the concept of having kind of a beacon so that other people can find you if you write about the people you like and admire sometimes they come to you third do them a favor of some kind I mean, this could be you know, hard t figure out exactly what but if you know them I mean, you know, we cited the example earlier about maybe someone's complaining that they have run out of business cards or you know, whatever and you know, maybe you say you know what? I'll design new business cards for you or maybe you are doing them ah favor, you know, like barbara was saying maybe some of her older friends maybe one of them gets sick and she brings them soup. You know, people really appreciate that maybe online you're following somebody who you really respect and they're tweeting around and they say hey just landed in san francisco anyplace good to eat around here and you send them you know, links to good suggestions that's a way of doing somebody a favor there's a lot of ways if you try to put on your cap of thinking, how do you be helpful and the number four do something unique and by which I also mean be something unique every you know everybody's average everybody ah, blah blah they do all the same things, but if somebody meets you and you really stand out if you capture their imagination in some way, you can offer them some real value, you know it is it is genuinely interesting sometimes toe talk to people on dh, you know, try toe, try to cultivate hobbies to become an expert in something interesting. I mean, it's it's actually really interesting if you, you know, have somebody who likes animals and tomorrow says, well, you know, I'm a horse photographer, whoa that you know, that makes her stand out. You want to know about that? I want to know how to make a horse smile. I mean, do you you tickle what you know, is it carrots is just bribery. I don't know how you make a horse smile, but tomorrow knows and I know that if I'm talking to her, then I will find out. So those are some ways that people can become really interesting link of angelina jolie if she likes horses. She's gonna want to know you and so that's that's. Pretty cool, because then you don't have to be like, oh, please, angelina hangout with me like everybody else, she'll be like, oh, my gosh to mark and I have your card so that's, that's awesome.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Positioning is a fundamental business practice that individuals looking to advance their own careers can apply to themselves and their small business. Learn how to position yourself in this introductory course to the must-have personal branding skills for all creative professionals.

This course will teach you the skills you need to build an online and offline brand, presence, and portfolio. You’ll learn exactly how to make a rock solid first impression and how to craft and convey the message you want others to hear about your style and your work. Dorie Clark will teach you how to make the most of interviews, introductions, webinars, and more. You’ll create strategies for connecting with the right people at the right time and learn how to use those connections to nurture and grow your brand.

The success of your creative endeavors depends on how well the world understands your professional vision and what you do best. With these core branding skills you’ll level up your prospects and your business.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Dorie Clark - Personal Branding Workbook

Dorie Clark - Syllabus

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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user Snaphappy

I took advantage of the free on-air broadcast. It was a marathon day jam-packed full of things that are rarely, if ever, included in branding discussions including business etiquette ( how to navigate awkward and uncomfortable situations) developing discernment regarding on your clients and associates, developing crucial relationships for clients, collaborators, mentors and sponsors, finding the appropriate social media channels for your business(es), and real-life examples from audience participation. Credit Dorie for my "aha" moment where it all came together resulting in focus and a clear idea of what my business is, my brand and a strategic plan I began implementing within hours after viewing the broadcast. This course is an absolute must for any creative with a business idea, a new business or an established business who wants to keep up with current business trends taught by a witty, intelligent, engaging, insightful, and inspiring instructor and equally informative guest speakers and who doesn't want to reinvent the wheel or spend a fortune going down rabbit holes. A very big shout out to Dorie and Creative Live - my creative go-to "peeps"!

Washeelah Youshreen Choomka

I came across Dorie Clark's work three days ago. I bought three of her online courses. I started with this course and I feel so grateful to her. She has done an amazing work and the course is awesome. I have been in politics before as a woman from a small island in the Indian Ocean and I wish I had done this course that time. The content is properly structured and Dorie's delivery is perfect! Thank you!


Dorie is awesome. If a teacher can get me fully engaged while I'm taking a class from home, they are a great teacher! After taking this class, I felt inspired about my future. I learned new things and was affirmed on some existing knowledge which is also a good feeling. I would definitely take another class from her and feel this is an important class to revisit.