Simon Sinek on How to Improve Mentor and Mentee Relationships

In Chapter 11 of 16 of his 2009 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek shares why gratitude and repayment are so important in building mentoring relationships. Success is a team sport and requires the help, support, and, often, risk of others. Sinek shares examples how this works and how, when approached correctly, it opens doors to pay forward the support. Simon Sinek is a trained ethnographer who applies his curiosity around why people do what they do to teach leaders and companies how to inspire people. He is the author of "Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action". Sinek holds a BA degree in cultural anthropology from Brandeis University.


Erik Michielsen: Throughout your career and throughout your personal development, you have had many mentors.  What have been two key takeaways from your mentoring relationships and how is that shaping how you want to give back and serve others?

Simon Sinek: Success is a team sport.  You cannot be successful by yourself.  It doesn’t exist.  I don't care how smart, strong or talented you are.  It always requires the help or risk of others, whether someone gives you a break or some advice, it is how the world works.  The two takeaways from a mentoring relationship, one is gratitude and the other one is repaying it.  When someone does something for you, helps you with advice or an opportunity, it is not that you are awesome, it is that you have to show gratitude.  Say thank you to these people.  In return you do it for someone else.  You can't do it for them because they have already achieved more than you have.  Sometimes they will look to you. In the scheme of the world you do it for someone else. You got ahead because someone helped you. Ultimately the more you give the more you get.  It works out both ways.