Stop Looking for Mentors and Focus on Friendtors

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Friendtors are perfectly positioned to give you the life and career advice you need most.

As a teenage entrepreneur, I was always told to find a mentor. Mentors were going to be the people who guided my career. Mentors were going to be the ones to help me navigate through major transitions. It should be my top priority to find one.

Except that didn’t happen. While I have had many amazing sponsors who performed a critical function in a specific season of my life, I can’t think of one formal mentor relationship I’ve had outside of a college professor I met very early on in my career. 

My business success is due to my friendtors. What’s a friendtor, you ask? It’s pretty much what it sounds like–peers who play the role of mentor, giving you critical advice in your current season of life. Friendtors are not your brunch besties, ride-or-dies or friends for life. 

Your friendtors will likely not even be in your industry, but they will be on the same trajectory as you. They are the people who share common life-stage experiences with you and are facing similar career challenges. They are often overlooked and are the perfect people to give you advice.

Not sure what makes friendtors so important? Here are the top three reasons you should have them.

Friendtors are not your friends. They’re your peers. There’s enough distance in the relationship to be both vulnerable and honest enough that you don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings.
And you inherently know what they’re dealing with – whether it’s growing your family, looking for a partner, or trying to get the next promotion – because you’re dealing with it, too. You don’t have to explain these things, and you can jump right into how you can support each other.

Friendtors expand your network. The greatest friendtors I have are not in my industry. They may be adjacent to it, or know people I work with, but that’s it. And that’s a good thing. Through my friendtors, I gain access to new ideas and networks.
I have been a marketer for most of my career, but I’ve had friendtors in tech, health care, and finance. Learning from them has helped me realize how different industries work together and support each other.

Friendtors keep you accountable. There’s nothing like a peer to keep you accountable – they do not accept an ounce of your BS. I remember a time when I wanted to close my company to take what I thought was the big dream job.
My friendtors challenged me to “do the thing only I could do” and rejected the idea of this dream job. This is because they knew me and my career goals and they knew I was ultimately giving up on myself to take a cushy job. Their response basically boiled down to, “You’re not fooling us.” I will forever be grateful for that conversation and accountability.

Now that you know why you need friendtors, one question remains: How can you find them?

Once you decide you’re looking for friendtors, I bet they’ll start showing up right and left.

By Tina Wells



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