I LOVE YOU MAN Who Are the Influencers In Your Life?
By Jessica Sitomer

Peter Klaven was perfectly happy with his life revolving around his girlfriend, Zooey. But when they get engaged, it becomes obvious that he’s not a real “guy’s guy” so he sets out to make some male friends, you know, have a few “bro-mances”. Enter Sydney Fife, an overgrown adolescent, who bonds very quickly with Peter, for better or for worse.

If your career success is based on the sum of the 5 most successful people you’re closest to, how successful can you potentially be? Most people surround themselves with people who are in the same place they are. So if you’re out of work, the 5 closest people to you tend to be in the same boat and have the same connections as you.

It’s time to expand your circle of influence. I stand by my statement that mentorship is the greatest strategy for getting work. The reason is because whether or not a mentor ever hires you is irrelevant, it’s learning from successful people. You may have heard me say, “Success leaves footprints.” I did not coin that phrase, I just pass it on because it’s true. Not only can mentors advise you on the fastest and most direct strategies for getting work, they also inspire you, give you new ideas, open doors that were once closed to you, and even put your mind at ease if you have some concerns about your future.    

Every month I have the privilege of interviewing successful entertainment industry professionals for my Greenlight Mentor Program. I’d like to reveal some of the common themes these Greenlight Mentors share:  

1.    Age is not a deterrent. Many of the mentors I interview either reached success at a typically ‘older’ age or entered the industry after doing something else. They didn’t have hang ups about the “young hip it guy” or the “older experienced guy” as their competition, they just went for it. Do you get caught up in age? Do you worry about the sands of the hourglass?

2.    People Get Fired. Yes, I’ve spoken to Academy and Emmy Award winners and nominees as well as successful working professionals you may not have heard of, and they get fired. But do they walk into their next interview and blurt it out? No. Do they wear it like a scarlet letter? No. Do they learn and grow from it? Yes. One of the Greenlight Mentors even thanked the woman who fired her because she realized she was complacent in her job. She went on from that firing to find her dream job.

3.    Don’t Ask For Work Ask For Advice. I tell you this all the time, so I’m hoping that knowing that the Greenlight Mentors agree with me, will bring it home for you. When you are getting to know someone, ask for advice, ask for help, but if they don’t know you well enough to trust you with their reputation and their paycheck, and they are working on someone else’s big budget project, they are going to hire their “go-to-people,” it just makes good common sense. It’s nothing personal, but a reel and resume is not enough. Talent is not enough. There is too much at stake for a successful person to take a chance on an unknown. Are there exceptions? Of course. If you ask for advice, they will know you’re looking for work, and if there is the possibility of an exception, let it come from them.

4.    Life Experience Is Key (Be a Storyteller). We are in the business of storytelling, so hone yours. When I interview Greenlight Mentors, they don’t answer me in lists of skills and attributes, they share stories, and in those stories are the gems that are revealed about their work ethic, skills, personal lives, and more. Instead of listing your talents to people, share a story that reveals your talents. Believe me, believe the mentors, people will pick up on more than you even realize, and they will be far more entertained.

5.    Take Risks! Every mentor I’ve interviewed has taken risks over and over and over. For every successful person out there taking risks and pushing through a fear, there are 100 people who aren’t willing to, or are stuck in their fear and the “conversations with themselves” as to why they can’t or shouldn’t push through, and take a risk. Who do you want to be?

I’ve learned through the years, that hearing it from me, doesn’t have the same credibility as hearing it from mentors, so I implore you to get yourself some fabulous mentors, so you can be surrounded by 5 highly successful people.

And Action!

1. Get 2 mentors this month and 5 next month and then 10 the next. You won’t be able to help yourself. Conversations with successful passionate people are addictive!    

2. Unsure about how to get mentors, or want to start off with mentors who are brought to you? Join my Greenlight Mentor Community.

Peter learned a lot about being a man from Sydney. What was interesting is that he learned from the good and the bad, that’s why, there really are no bad mentors. There’s always something to learn.