"David, do you really think working all of the time is how you get promoted?"
"Um... isn't it?"
That's an excerpt from a real conversation I had many years ago with my then-manager (and now dear friend), Anny Kirouac.
I really did believe that putting in long hours at the office was the key to success at the company, but Anny was quick to correct me, helping me to understand there's more to life than work; how my outside interests and hobbies not only made me a more interesting person but also a better marketer.
I know that may seem so obvious to you.
And it probably should have been obvious to me at the time.
But it wasn't.
Not until Anny sat me down and challenged me to think about my career (and my life) in a completely different way...
... and that conversation had an enormous impact on me.*
Even as my manager, Anny would never tell me what to do; she knew me well enough to know that I don't respond well to orders.
But she clearly cared about me and wanted me to succeed. So she would challenge my thinking, ask me tough questions, and help me arrive at "the right answer" on my own.
Anny wasn't just a manager.
She was (and still is) a mentor.
Today is Thank Your Mentor Day...
... which gives me the perfect opportunity to thank not just Anny, but also the many incredible people who have served as mentors for me, both formally and informally, throughout my life.
To all of you, too many to name here: THANK YOU!
If you have an "Anny" who has served as a mentor for you and made your life better in some way, be sure to thank them today.
And if you're not reading this post on January 25th, nothing is stopping you from sending a note to thank them anyway...
P.S. I've had the privilege of serving on the AMA Toronto Advisory Council for the past 10 years (a role that began after I graduated from the AMA Mentor Exchange Program as a mentee) and I've served as a Mentor in the AMA Toronto's Career Accelerator program since its inception five years ago. So it's safe to say I'm a big fan of mentorship in general, and I'm doing my best to "pay forward" the time and energy all my mentors invested in me over the years. If you are interested in developing your leadership potential, I'd encourage you to visit the AMA Toronto's Leadership Excellence Website and have a look at the various programs available to you.
* Side note: while Anny was my manager, I was casually dating someone for a few months, but then broke it off with her because I decided I didn't want a serious relationship. Anny also helped me to see that I was being stupid... so I asked that woman if she wanted to see me again for coffee. That woman and I have now been married for 14 years and have four children together. But that's a story for another post.