ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR INFLUENCE, BUT COMMIT TO YOUR OWN STYLE

You may get frustrated by comparisons, but do recognize that your style has indeed been influenced by your mentor, whether it's a parent, sibling, or someone else entirely. You may have gotten into music because of your mom’s constant singing; you may have fallen in love with art because you saw your dad painting as you grew up. You’ve spent a lot of time with them, even lived with them, in the case of family—there’s no denying that you learned the basics of the trade from them. At the same time, acknowledging your mentor’s influence doesn’t mean you have no style of your own. Your mentor may have planted the seeds, but the way you cultivate your skills depends on you.


KNOW WHO YOU ARE, AND EXPRESS THIS IN EVERYTHING YOU DO

Identity crises—we’ve all had them, more so if people constantly remind you that your style reminds them of a certain someone. The best defense against being called a mere copycat or a second-rate copy is knowing who you are and being confident about it. Embrace yourself and discover who you are. What are your likes and dislikes? What’s your personal style? What’s your ambition for yourself (and not someone else’s)? The more you understand yourself, the easier it will be to determine your style and stick to it. 


USE THE ADVANTAGES GIVEN TO YOU BY YOUR CONNECTIONS WISELY—NEVER ABUSE

Social networking is at the heart of career and personal growth, especially in the world we live in today. If you have connections, by all means, use them because that’s what they’re there for: to help you grow. By that, however, we don’t mean using your influence to get a job without proper process. What we mean is to know where to look and who to go to for advice when you need it. Abusing your connections will only attach a stigma to your name before you’ve even had a chance to prove yourself. 


YOUR ADVANTAGE DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN SLACK OFF; ON THE CONTRARY, IT MEANS YOU HAVE TO WORK EVEN HARDER

While having an established mentor in the field you want to get into is an advantage, this doesn’t mean you have your work set out for you on a silver platter. In fact, this automatically puts pressure on you to excel as people expect you to equal or surpass your mentor’s success. Keep working, and work yourself hard, but remember that the biggest pressure you’re dealing with is the one you place on yourself. Cut yourself some slack from time to time and acknowledge the person you are and who you will become.


DON'T DO IT TO PROVE YOURSELF TO OTHERS; DO IT TO PROVE YOURSELF TO YOURSELF

It’s hard not to have an “I’ll show you all” attitude, especially when your challenges keep staring you in the face (i.e., the accusing eyes of your jealous workmates), but keep in mind that you’re doing this for yourself, and not for anyone else. They say revenge is sweet, but a hard-earned success is even sweeter. You’ll only feel satisfied once you’re able to tell yourself, “This is it. I made it on my own.” And you did this all for yourself. 


(Photo courtesy of PEP.ph)
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