Thanks to John Doherty of Distilled for sharing his mentor story with me.
I got started in SEO a few years ago and found my way through the first part of it. I was lucky to be on a team with two other guys, Ryan Fontana and Ethan Lyon (both now with SEER), in my first job and they both taught me a lot.
…giving me tough feedback…
I have to say, though, that my biggest mentor in my SEO career has been Tom Critchlow. Tom was my boss for my first year at Distilled, sitting next to me for most of it. During that year, he was always there to be a listening and supportive ear, giving me tough feedback where I needed it and helping me to think through the problems that come with bigger clients, bigger responsibilities, and big dreams.
Tom helped me with my thinking in a lot of ways, and a few of them can be summed up in quotes of things that he always told me:
“Communication solves all problems”
This is one of our internal mantras, or memes, at Distilled. Tom constantly impressed upon me the importance of communicating with clients, with bosses, and the team around me. It’s something I’m not naturally good at (except with clients), and remembering this has helped me to be better at my job, though I still screw it up continuously.
“What could go wrong?”
This is one of Tom and Will’s favorite sayings. Basically, it’s said when we’re unsure of something and decide to take the “F*ck It, Ship It” mentality that many of us have adopted. We’ll set something loose, see if it flies, and then decide whether or not to continue with it. In the right situations, this can be extremely useful and lead to large returns.
“You can accomplish way less in three months than you think possible, but way more in one year than you think possible.”
Sometimes progress feels slow. This saying reminds us that while it may be hard to see changes in the short term, if we keep looking back we’ll see just how much change is really happening and how much better we are getting at our jobs/tasks. This also helps us to prioritize what we say “yes” to, and to realize that we can’t do everything otherwise we’ll burn out.
This post still kicks me in the pants frequently when I’m on my phone too much…
I’d have to say Tom’s The Time For Content Marketing Is Now is my favorite post that he’s ever written in the SEO/marketing sphere. It was game changing for many people. A personal post of his that I loved was The Art of Being Switched On. I was working on a very similar post at the time, and Tom said it way better than I ever could. This post still kicks me in the pants frequently when I’m on my phone too much and tuned out from life.
I’m definitely biased since I am involved in the creation of this, but I’d say DistilledU. We’ve been putting a ton of time, effort, and sweat equity into it, and I’m really proud of how it is coming out. We also recently added all of our conference videos to it (over 60 hours of advanced SEO training), so I think it’s an absolutely amazing value.
I’m the Director of and a consultant with Distilled in New York City. I write all over the Internet, but mostly on my personal marketing website JohnFDoherty.com. In my spare time, I’m a traveler, a skier, a bicycle rider, a rock climber, and a Brooklyn resident enjoying life in the big city. I’m working on some personal projects as well, including an ebook and a single gear bicycle website.
Do you have a mentor story you want to share? I’d love to hear it!