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Forget a Mentor, find a Sponsor! The new way to fast-track your career.

Don't get me wrong, mentors and role model matters, and you need them, Mentors can build your self-esteem and provide a sounding board but they are not your best ticket to the top.

Who's pulling for you? Who's got your back? Who's putting your hat in the ring? Odds are this person is not a mentor but a sponsor.

Mentors take an interest in counselling you because they like you, or because you remind them of themselves, or they are paying back their own early supporters. It´s an asymmetric relationship – The energy is flowing one way: towards you.

Contrast with the decidedly "one-way" street of mentorship, sponsorship is a two-way street. Where mentors give, sponsors invest. Don't expect a sponsor to give you and easy ride, their “protégés” rise to the top because they get the toughest challenges. You are not going to be given a ride on the coat-tails of anyone who doesn´t see you pulling your weight. Mentors may pick you, but you pick your sponsors by committing yourself to their best interest.

Sponsors can be role models, but they needn' t be, and often they aren't. What's important is trust, not affinity. 

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