Have you ever reflected on your life and asked yourself, “If I could do everything all over again, would I have done things differently?” I asked that question to Hadari Oshri, a serial entrepreneur who is now focused on imports and exports.
When I asked her, she replied, “No.” Does that mean that her life has been easy? No, it doesn’t. Does that mean that everything has worked out her way? No. After interviewing Hadari, I have come to the conclusion that it just means she values the lessons that her life has taught her, both the good things and more so, the bad.
I don’t think she always had this type of perspective though. To start off the interview, I asked about her first memory of mentorship. She smiled, almost laughed, and then said, “It sure wasn’t the ideal situation!”
Hadari grew up in Israel, and no one in her family identified as an entrepreneur. They were more traditional, teaching her that the way to find success in life was to get an education, marry well, and have a family. Ironically, this advice didn’t apply to her much because she has taken an entirely different path in life.
Back then there was no internet to connect her with bright minds from around the world, and social media did not exist, so the only way she learned was from people around her. In her family, she was taught that it was proper to keep to herself and be lady-like. Business was for the boys. She was curious and wanted to learn, but everyone kept to themselves, which limited her ability as a young girl to ask questions, explore, and grow. It was not until she had a mentor that she started to shine.
To help you accelerate your learning, I challenge you to consider becoming a mentor or a mentee. Here are three tips from Hadari that will help you get the most out of your teaching and learning experiences.
Rule 1: Everyone deserves to learn
As a young woman, Hadari remembers working at a clothing store excelling in sales and seeing some of her older co-workers get promoted to managerial positions. She assumed that if she worked hard, and kept selling, she too would get a promotion. But it didn’t happen. After a long time, she mustered up the courage to ask her boss for a promotion. She remembers the cold look in his eyes, when he dismissed and humiliated her, saying, “No. You don’t have the skills.”
She asked if he would be willing to train her so that she could learn the skills needed to get a promotion. He just flat out said, “No.” The next day, Hadari didn’t come to work. The manager’s unwillingness to teach her new skills was reason enough to quit and search for a job with a company that would value her contributions and help her grow professionally.
Here’s the lesson: everyone deserves to learn. Young or old, there are always skills that we can gain (and we can carve out time in our schedules for it, too!) Having this positive and proactive mindset is crucial for meaningful mentorship.
Since that first job, Hadari has come a long way. She has built multiple companies, practiced international business, and closed multimillion-dollar trade deals. While she will never forget how terrible her first boss made her feel, she’s grateful for him because he taught her what a bad mentor looks like, and inspired a lifelong journey of personal growth, and a passion for mentoring others.
Rule 2: Mentoring should motivate
Hadari’s next job was selling services for a communications company, and that is where she met her first real mentor. His name was Yosi. Not only did he train her in how to sell, but he took the time to get to know her. He wanted to know what her goals were and what motivated her. He genuinely cared.
He was a stark contrast from her first boss. She found the drive to work hard and performed so well that she became a top sales representative. The guidance and mentorship that Yosi imparted helped her discover her passion for entrepreneurship. She recalls thinking, “One day, I will be like Yosi. I will help others learn and grow to be their best selves.”
“My first experience with genuine mentorship was meaningful because I was young and impressionable,” Hadari says. “The fact that someone cared enough to validate my feelings, aspirations, and goals sparked motivation that I never got from my family. It made me want to come to work, learn, and be my best self.”
When you mentor others, make sure to avoid being a helicopter mentor—t rying to do everything for them. Hadari imagines the mentor-mentee relationship as though she is in a car; she takes the back seat while they drive.
As a mentor, she’s there to watch the process and see them grow. She never tells them what to do or exactly how to do things, preferring to lead by example, and share her personal experience if needed. This helps them to learn by doing and gives them a sense of independence and accomplishment. If she sees them make a mistake, she gently nudges them towards more effective strategies. If you want to create an impact as a
mentor, find opportunities to motivate that allow your mentees to gain confidence in themselves. Allow them to tap into their passions!
Rule 3: Make mentoring mirror the real world
I wanted to find out Hadari’s thoughts on mentorship in the real world. I learned that her most impactful mentors gave her real-world experiences. It went beyond fluff and hypotheticals. Today she strives to include her mentees in large business deals she is working on, so that they can see the struggles and triumphs of working in a high-stakes career.
Social media plays a prominent role in Hadari’s mentee search. She scouts her social media feeds for young adults who are motivated to learn and have great potential. She will search for keywords, follow, and observe the types of content they create. If she thinks the candidates are a good fit, she doesn’t ask them directly if they are interested in mentorship. Instead, she simply navigates the conversation to a place where they can create an alliance together.
Over time, she learns more about their personal and professional goals. Eventually, if the candidates express an interest in working on international trade deals, she brings her mentees into her transactions. She shows them that business can be fun, and allow them to sit in on calls with brokers, investors, and buyers. The idea is to help them view the behind-the-scenes process to show them just how exciting it is. And when she closes a multimillion-dollar deal with them, their eyes light up, and business becomes real.
Hadari says that when you mentor someone, you should invite your mentee to experience how your business and work integrates into your lifestyle. With this approach, you can grow your network together and the mentorship journey will help them gain professional skills. This learning by doing approach accelerates their curiosity, and gives you the opportunity to teach and collaborate.
Mentorship is a tangible tool that helps professionals, companies, and communities improve their well-being and performance to unlock their greatest potential. Hadari is very grateful for all of her mentors, as they have made her the entrepreneur she is today. Connect with Hadari on LinkedIn if you’d like to start a conversation about how to serve as a mentor or how to learn by doing as a young entrepreneur.
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