Social Media Strategy, Personal Branding

The Virtuous Circle of Mentorship and Its Impact on Your Career

plant handsJay Baer Blog PostMy friend Marcus Sheridan wrote a very forthright blog post (as is his custom) recently called “8 People That Dramatically Impacted My Life in 2013.” I was amazed and gratified to have been mentioned in that post. Here’s what Marcus wrote:

I’m going to be very honest here and say there have been times I’ve asked myself why Jay Baer has been so kind to me over these last couple of years. His interest in my well-being and success is literally baffling, and the fact that he asked me to write the foreword to his bestselling Youtility has proved to have a major impact on my career as well. I simply can’t thank Jay enough for the person he is.

Those are kind words, and I wanted to thank Marcus for them. But, given that he said he was confused why I have helped him (insofar as I have), I also figured it would be a good opportunity to explain myself and my beliefs about careers and the virtuous circle of mentorship. Maybe it’s just the old man in me surfacing as the calendar flips again to a new year, but I felt the need to put it out there as a comment on Marcus’ blog. He encouraged me to write a blog post about it, so here it is.

I wrote:


Honored and touched to be here, my friend.

Why do I take an interest in you? Three reasons:

1. You are an incredibly good person who genuinely cares more about others than about himself. It’s rare, and I try to surround myself with people who have real values, because it can be a struggle to toe that line. Simply put, I’m a better person when I’m around you than when I’m not.

2. You are in the “steep ascent” career phase, and I know how tricky that can be. You get flooded with opportunities, not all of them long-term benefits. I want to continue enjoying your extraordinary talents forever, so if a grizzled old dude like me can provide some advice on occasion to avoid you burning out and moving to Anguilla, I will.

3. I have had astounding and amazing guides my entire career. The guy who owned the McDonald’s where I worked my first job? Awesome. Taught me everything about work ethic. My college advisor? Awesome. Taught me everything about thinking big. My first boss when I was in politics? Awesome. Taught me everything about strategy. My first boss when I worked in corporate marketing? Awesome. Taught me everything about relating to employees. My first boss during my initial stint running a major division of a company? Awesome. Taught me everything about choosing your battles.

First person “of influence” to ever tweet one of my blog posts? Jason Falls. Second? Chris Brogan. Those guys – and so many others – have helped me a ton, and continue to do so. I’ve been so lucky on the speaking side, too, to have many world-class mentors like Kelly McDonald, Rory Vaden, and Mark Sanborn who go out of their way to make sure I’m progressing. They don’t have to do that, but they do it because someone helped THEM.

Mentorship, advice and counsel is a virtuous circle, and is constantly under-appreciated in business and in life.

I’ve never taken a business class. Not one. I’ve gone to business school by having outstanding people take an interest in me and what I’m doing. And that’s why I’m happy to help you whenever and wherever I can. Not only because I love you, but because I owe it to the people who love me.


Friends, I know there are a lot of places you could spend time on the Internet, and I cherish each of you who choose to visit us here at Convince & Convert. But none of you would be here if it wasn’t for the people I mentioned above, and SO many others. Will you do me a favor, please? As you think about what you want to accomplish in 2014, remember the virtuous circle. The more people you help, the more people you’ll have helping you. Thanks for giving this some thought.

And if I can help you, never be afraid to reach out to me.

Facebook Comments


  1. dtstanley says

    Love this Jay. Being lucky enough to be friends with Marcus and being
    lucky enough to meet you at Mark Schaefer and Nick Westergaard events, I
    can attest to how you both live the #Youtility mindset. It is evident
    you really care about the work you do and the people you connect with. I
    mean it wholeheartedly when I say you both set an amazing example that
    shows that good guys finish first and inspire me daily. I’m so grateful
    to learn from you both. And I’m truly bless to be able to pass your
    wisdom along to my students and my clients. You are both changing many
    businesses and many, many lives. Here’s to an amazing 2014!

  2. says

    The greatest thing about this blog post is that it’s true. Plenty of successful people will ask, “How can I help?” But they say it either hoping you won’t take them up on the offer or planning to funnel you into a five-figure coaching program. Even worse, they’ll often just brush you off like so much dirt on Jigga’s shoulder. But your generosity with your time and true desire to help others succeed is humbling and inspiring.

    I was recently telling a non-marketing friend how much you’ve helped me and they replied, “But, if you’re successful wouldn’t you be his competition?” It was a stark contrast between the scarcity mindset that still dominates so many in business and people like yourself that understand “we can always build a bigger pie.” How grateful I am that you fall in the latter group, Jay!

    Merry Christmas!!

    • says

      Thanks pal. I’ll write that post someday, too, which is that the reality is that everyone is competition. But the trick is understanding that a rising tide lifts all boats.

  3. Henry Griner says

    As I have been following you since our friend Larry Benet introduced you to me a few months back I have come to know you as a man of wisdom and integrity. What Marcus and others have written and what you share helps to give me even more insight into your character. I am blessed to enter this new year of 2014 knowing you and learning from you. May you enjoy the harvest of the seeds you have sown in helping others.
    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and an awesome New Year.

  4. Samir Penkar says

    The power of a mentor can surely impact not just your career, but your life. Since ancient India, there is a guru-shisha (teacher-student) concept, where it is as much important to find a good student as it is to find a great teacher. Thanks for the post Jay.

  5. says

    Jay you are a stud! You help so many people. It’s an honor and privilege to be associated with you! As Charlie Jones once said “I never really give anything, I simply pay back a little of all that I owe.” Sanborn has mentored me too!

  6. says


    Wonderful stuff here. It comes down to paying it forward. We all receive benefits at one time or another and it feels right to benefit others with our experience. Of course we seek out folks whom we value, folks who make us feel good, and honestly, Marcus is one of the best in the feel-good department.

    He responds to my comments and social chats in such a warm, genuine fashion that I feel like I have known the guy for 30 years through an offline, face-to-face relationship type thing. Amazing energy he has. I can see why you have connected with him Jay because you too have that rare, infectious, genuine, heart felt positive energy.

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. says

    This is lovely, and also timely as January is National Mentoring Month. Mentoring is so underappreciated and is so crucial in careers and, as you say, in life. Thanks for posting this.

  8. Paul Blais says

    “The more people you help, the more people you’ll have helping you.” I find comments like this to be a bit uncomfortable. Not because I don’t believe it or think it isn’t true, but rather because it always echos a bit of selfish approach to life. In other words, I help because I’ll get back. I know that is not the intent of your words, Jay. I would like to be authentic in giving to others without this back-minded attitude that someone somewhere therefore owes me.
    Having said that, I think the way you are suggesting it is more like it is a natural consequence. I like that a lot. Give and you will receive. But don’t give so you will receive.
    Great post, Jay. I love the story of how others gave so much to you.

  9. says

    Great topic, Jay! A good mentor can greatly affect your career path. I was incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing one in one of my first post-college jobs. She dedicated so much time to teaching me everything she knew and sparked a greater interest in the social media and digital marketing field. At the time I just looked at the dispelling of her wisdom as part of her position. After being in the industry for a while, I realize how much effort it was.

    I think that others who have a valuable mentor initially then feel more inclined to offer others assistance. Because of my experience, I love meeting with recent graduates and offering insight, job opportunities and introductions.

  10. Daniel Parkins says

    Mr. Jay,
    I just found this site through twitter and I like what I have seen so far. My own ambition in life is to help those who surround me. My family, my friends, neighbors and, of course, complete strangers are all people I want to extend a hand to.

    I have one problem though: I’m young, and I don’t know enough to make this dream a reality yet.

    So here it is. I’m not asking for much. All I want to know is what you would tell yourself to do right now, if you were just starting out in marketing. Send me a tweet with your response @DtParkins if you don’t mind helping a greenhorn find his way.

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