14 Top Lessons These Leaders Learned From Their Business Mentors

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For those lucky enough to find one, a mentor can be an invaluable ally when starting a business. Their expert guidance and leadership can help provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to push past obstacles and build something truly sustainable.

The members of Rolling Stone Culture Council have each had their own role models and mentors throughout their business journeys. Below, they each share the top lesson they learned from their mentor and how that lesson impacts the way they lead their businesses now.

‘Focus on Yourself and Not What Others Are Doing’

I have had the fortune of having multiple mentors throughout my career. I do believe the one lesson that had the most profound impact on me was not to focus on what everyone else was doing and to just hone my own unique strengths, and that will help me grow in any organization. For me, that was teaching and helping elevate others. I just never realized how that would come to define me over time. – Heidi Pellerano, CONCACAF

‘The Hours Count’

“The hours count.” — I learned that from my dad. Starting at four in the morning puts you four hours ahead of any average competitor. That puts you almost a thousand hours ahead of any competitor that you can slowly but surely crush. Working smart helps, but working hard unlocks an incomparable, gut-wrenching thrill that is tempered only by your ultimate success. — Anthony Katz, MPT Agency

‘Make Yourself Indispensable’

I haven’t had a singular mentor in business, but the best advice I ever received was from a guest speaker in college. Her advice? “Find ways to make yourself indispensable.” I’ve carried that with me for years and use it in my decision making when considering new clients, new tools and new skills I want to learn. – Cynthia Parkhurst, Teammate

‘Rest Is a Professional Strategy’

The biggest lesson a business mentor taught me is that rest is a professional strategy. I thought this was not only absurd, but also unfathomable; However, as my business grew, I learned that this was a cornerstone to success. Why? Rest allows us to recharge, replenish, nourish and return to a thriving work environment. The hard part isn’t actually resting; it’s giving ourselves the permission to. – Ginni Saraswati, Ginni Media

‘Hire Better Than Yourself’

My upper management told me to always hire better than myself, and I have taken this advice into my own company. She told me it is a sign of authentic leadership and would encourage others to follow. This strategy will help you learn from your employees while moving the business forward. Kelley Swing, Head Case Hair Studio

‘Stay Focused on What You Do Better Than the Competition’

A mentor taught me to really activate the story of David and Goliath. As a startup, you’re always David — you can’t out-muscle Goliath. Rather, you have to figure out what you can do much better than Goliath, and — just as David does with his slingshot — aim there, staying focused and steady, adding enough strength (resources) to execute well. – Alen Nguyen, MainStem

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