Self-starter and self-creator, Sikin Samji, shares her approach to mentorship and how the journey through entrepreneurship is as much about mastering your relationship with your self as much as your relationship with your business.
After spending years as a freelancer, Sikin is now Senior Assistant General Manager at Equinox Fitness in Toronto. Stepping away from full-time entrepreneurship and into a leadership role, Sikin credits her teachers and mentors for contributing to her strength and success. Passionate about giving back by doing the same for young people and entrepreneurs in her community, Sikin joined Futurpreneur as a volunteer mentor, dedicated to providing valuable support and guidance to young Canadians entering the business world.
“Something that I feel really passionate about as I move into this next stage of my life is helping entrepreneurs get to where they want to be,” says Sikin.
“In my world I didn’t have access to a ton of resources and guidance. Or I didn’t know about those things, and they weren’t really actively put out there for me as someone who wanted to work for themselves, so I want to take the skills that I have and use it towards this.”
In April 2018 Sikin was invited to speak at a conference in Victoria B.C. where she met members of the Futurpreneur team and learned of the opportunity to mentor new and aspiring business owners. She jumped at the chance and was matched with Mary who now runs the most sought-after Brazilian chocolate experience in Toronto – Mary’s Brigadeiros (read story).
For Sikin, understanding the human experience in business is critical to the entrepreneurial mindset. Sikin shares her tips for how working with a mentor can help you take the right and necessary steps towards achieving personal goals and building business success.
There’s more to business than just starting your business
There’s so much more to business, especially when you’re an entrepreneur, and you’re doing things on your own. You have to know yourself really well to be successful.
For me, before I could think of being the CEO of a business, I felt like I had to become the CEO of my own life. As someone who’s been mentored before, I feel like mentoring has given me the life skills, the listening and the ability to open up and gravitate more towards the human experience side of business, before even being able to scratch the surface of what I was going to do. It was more about me and how I was going to allow myself to grow into this role and ask myself tough questions to create that entrepreneurial mindset.
Having an objective outside perspective helps
The best mentors have given me what I need, not what I was asking for.
Having a mentor is having that person who can help guide you, and it doesn’t have to be about numbers necessarily, it doesn’t have to be about marketing, it can be about whatever you need, and it can also be about something that you don’t see happening.
As someone who has been through it, who has life experience, who can see into some of those areas that you might miss or avoid when going through the process alone is the biggest value of a mentor.
As a mentor you have to be able to intuitively read into what that is, along with listening really closely, and as a mentor you have to really be open to receiving and trusting to be able to go to that space as well.
Go into your mentoring relationship with no agenda
To have the most rewarding experience for both mentor and mentee is to come in without expectation or a specific agenda, other than to get to know the person, build the relationship and build trust. That’s how you’re going to get into that rich information that’s going to be powerful and potent for working towards improving and achieving goals that are going to change you and that you truly need, versus just scratching the surface on a lot of things.
In mentoring I separate myself from the situation and collect data as much as possible about what lens the person is looking at life through – what captivates them, what paradigms govern their thinking. I know that I personally helped myself shift my own patterns of thinking by observing those things in myself and having others observe them in me, and so I think those things are foundational to being able to give someone the tools rather than the answers so they can be successful on an ongoing basis.
Go slow to go far
I knew this when I first started working for myself but it probably didn’t resonate in the right tone until a little later in my career. I wanted to do everything. I had all these ideas and it was when I stopped and started going a little slower that things grew in a way that felt meaningful.
Starting a business can be exciting, and your mentor can guide you towards taking the right steps and the necessary steps versus taking all the steps at one time.
Your business is a relationship between yourself and your business, but it’s also a relationship between yourself and your self.