One of you recently approached me with a question that I think is relevant to all of us as entrepreneurs, especially those of you who are in the early phases of your journey.
“How do you find a mentor?”
If you’re in a position where you are looking for a mentor, there are 3 STEPS you can follow. If you are in a position to be a mentor to others, you can use these steps to consider how you might take others under your wing.
The first step is identifying WHO you want as a mentor! Obvious right?
But it’s actually not as easy as you’d think.
Choosing who you want to be your mentor is a big decision that you should take seriously, and there are a few things you can think about to help you make the right decision.
First, think of who is where you want to be in your career, and who is doing the types of things that you want to do?
Often times somebody may appear to be a good mentor but, behind the scenes, they aren’t doing the things that you really want to be doing.
For example, early in my career I thought I wanted to go into sports marketing, so I worked for a sports marketing company one summer and quickly found out that was NOT something I wanted to do.
Sports and marketing are two of my favourite things, so a combination of the two seemed like the perfect fit.
On the surface it looked like a lot of fun, but when I actually got into it I realized that it wasn’t right for me.
Because the work itself – the actual tasks involved in the daily life of a sports marketer – were not what I was expecting.
The same thing can happen when picking a mentor.
A person may seem like they are exactly where you want to be in your career, but until you look further to understand the things that person is actually DOING on a daily basis, you won’t know if they are a person who you truly want to learn from.
Next, the most IMPORTANT part of choosing a mentor is identifying a person whose VALUES align with yours.
There are a lot of great people who are doing incredible things, but it’s very difficult to learn from somebody if their values don’t align with your values.
That is my #1 tip for identifying who you want to be your mentor.
The second step in finding a mentor is finding out HOW you can be of service to this person.
People often think that you’ve got to have a relationship with somebody before you can approach them to be a mentor.
…that’s NOT true.
The number one thing that successful people DO NOT have is TIME.
If you realize that, you can be of value.
Early in my career, I worked for a number of people who I wanted to mentor under.
…and I worked for FREE.
I was young. I had an abundance of time!
Being able to exchange your time for an opportunity to learn is a HUGE advantage you have if you’re looking for a mentor.
Think, “What is stressing this person out? How can I add a tonne of value?” and, most importantly, “How can I save this person a tonne of TIME?”
Be SPECIFIC in how you can help.
I have a lot of people who approach me who want to learn from me, and they say, “If you ever need any help, just let me know.”
It doesn’t work like that!
The easiest and most effective way to get the attention of a mentor is to give them something very specific that you are willing to do for free in exchange for the opportunity to learn.
Another tip is to start SMALL. Don’t make huge promises or proposals that might be too much for your potential mentor to even think about at the time of you approaching them.
The third and final step if you want to find a mentor is to OVER-DELIVER on your promises.
If you find something specific and small to help with like we talked about in the last step, that door of opportunity has been opened for you.
You can capitalize on this opportunity by OVER-DELIVERING on whatever it is you offered to do.
Then you can seek other things to help with.
The more ways you can think of to save your mentor time, and the more you can over deliver on your promises, the more you will earn their TRUST, and they will send even more work your way.
To recap those steps:
1) Figure out WHO you want to be your mentor.
Make sure they are actively doing the things you want to be doing.
Make sure their values align with yours.
2) Figure out HOW you can help them.
Approach them and offer to help with small, specific tasks than can save them time.
3) OVER DELIVER on your promises.
Whatever you offered to do, do a great job at it and then look for even more opportunities to help.
Okay, your turn.
Do you currently have or have you previously had a mentor?
How did you get connected with them?
Are you a mentor to somebody else?
What advice would you give to somebody looking to find a mentor?
Looking forward to reading your comments below.