“A great mentor helps you achieve what seems impossible” – Mariela Dabbah
Dating back to the Ancient Greeks, there have always been mentor/mentee relationships. Closely related to apprenticeships, the knowledge and experience of the mentor is utilized to speed up the process for success. A great mentor is one that aligns with your values and pushes you beyond your comfort zone to achieve more and be more. There are many types of mentor relationships and mentors can be found in various ways. Although the mentorship is often the act of a successful person volunteering their time and attention, it is a two-way relationship where the mentee can provide return value.
Not only speeding up success, a mentor can help with times of failure. The proper mentor can help you recover from those failures or reduce the collateral damage as you work to fix a problem. You can leverage a mentor’s experience and guidance to help with planning so that many failures or mistakes can be avoided in the first place. In addition, the right mentor help you with creative approaches by providing alternative perspectives to problems you are facing.
While most think of a mentor as someone you know or meet with personally, there are actually mentorsship you can establish on a virtual basis. We can discuss these types of mentors as in-person and virtual.
The most common mentorship, in-person mentors, allow you direct access to an individual that you chose and has accepted the status of mentor in your life. This individual can be someone you respect in your career or place of employment (or anywhere).
Some think of a perfect mentor as one that is 10 steps ahead of you and someone that knows you personally already. However, do not let your network hold you back. If there is someone living the life that you want, try to get into their world. Then, evaluate them for potential mentorship relationship.
On the complete other end of the spectrum is the concept of virtual mentorship. This concept was first introduced to me by the real estate legend, Pat Hiban, as he discussed the concept on his podcast, Real Estate Rockstars Radio. He shared his concept of a virtual mentor as someone that he studies and models their life, but he does not know personally. It is an amazing concept as it opens up the entire world of potential mentors. There is nearly an endless surplus of successful personalities and business leaders available. The best part is that many live their lives in alignment with this age of social media making it very easy to learn about a person’s life, how they found success and habits they create to continue the path of success. You can model your life and habits similar to that of a virtual mentor.
Now let’s focus on finding the RIGHT mentor. The first step is self analysis. You must understand what you want and who you want to be! This step is crucial, as it will define the best type of mentor for you and alleviate frustrations. Once you define the image of your future self, you can find someone that fits that model.
When profiling a mentor to align with the image of your future self, you will want to consider:
- Characteristics of your personality – If you are going to start spending time either researching or talking with a mentor, you should share some personality characteristics.
- Ethics – It is ideal to have mentor that shares the same moral standards. Does this person respect others? Do you share the same importance on family?
- Success Level – Sometimes the gap from where you are to your prefect being can be overwhelming. Instead of considering Bill Gates as a virtual mentor, you could apprach someone that is a leader in your industry. You may be able to relate to challenges of this type of individual rather than challenges Bill Gates faces.
- Respect Level – Consider how a potential mentor reached their level of success. Did they achieve it in ways that gained respect of others?
- Down Time – What do they do to unwind? Go clubbing? Climb Mt. Kilamanjaro?
- Contribution – How and where do they give back? Why?
- Lastly, are you some one that you would like to mentor (if the roles were reverses? Are you open-minded, flexible, respectful, accepting of advice? Are you eager to learn, and committed to change and success?
Places to find a mentor
Now we get to the point of this article and actually find a mentor. While these relationships happen by chance, you have better chances proactivly looking for mentor. Below are a few ideas of places to find a mentor.
- Trade organizations – Successful people network with other successful people. Get involved in a trade organization to expand your network and create better potential to leaders in your industry. Search your industry to find an organization.
- SCORE – This non-profit provides free mentoring services for entrepreneurs. One of my mentors is from the SCORE program. I cannot recommend this service enough.
- Findamentor.com – Another free service I found. I don’t know anything about the organization. Please comment about your experience if you have used the service.
- Podcasts – Successful people are constantly interviewed or host thier own podcasts. I have found many virtual mentors by listening to them on podcasts.
While the mentor is volunteering their time/etc, there are many ways you can “pay” them back for their sacrifice. Mentors volunteer their time for many reaasons. Your job is to determine what that perpose is and help them out. In many times they just enjoy what they are doing – so brining them fulfilment in their efforrts is enought.
A few ways to share your graditude to your mentor include:
- Listen & Take Action – Your mentor wants your success. You simply listen, take the advice given and take action. It’s a win-win!!
- Buy Lunch, Coffee, whatever – If a mentor gives up time to be with you, make sure you don’t let them pay.
- Promote Them (if they want it) – You can like and share their posts on social media or support their organization.
- Do Good – Since the basis of mentoring is volunteering, do your part and give your time or money to make the world a better place through a chairing or such.
In conclusion, we all know finding a mentor is a good idea. However, many never take the initive to make it happen. If you are truly committed to your success, you will make it a priority this week. No excuses.