Updated: May 6, 2019
In today’s video, we’re going to talk about the importance of having mentors. Even the greatest, wealthiest and richest people in the world have benefited from having a mentor in their life.
People like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, all have relied on the advice from people who had more skill and knowledge at that time.
In today’s video, we are going to talk about:
Why mentors are important
How to find a mentor
How to ask someone to become your mentor
Mentors are important for a variety of reasons.
They help us acquire knowledge and information that we don’t have.
They help us see growth opportunities. Meaning, they know what our weaknesses are and help us develop a plan to address them.
Having a trusted resource like a mentor with whom you could brainstorm, share ideas and in general get their perspective without having to rely on your opinion all the time.
The #1 Question To Ask Yourself When You Want to Find a Mentor
What type of skill sets and experience do I want to acquire?
It’s not really about finding the person who is the highest ranking in the company or going for the person who has the highest title. That’s not really the point.
The point is on focusing and finding someone that you truly admire or certain traits that person possesses.
Whether it’s something for example like conflict management skills or creative approach that they have, or perhaps a business skill set that you would like to develop yourself. So, don’t go for titles, go for specific skill sets that you want to acquire.
Something else that I noticed is that people usually look for just one mentor. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to have just one mentor, in fact, it’s recommended to have more than one mentor to be able to truly learn about about getting a well rounded understanding and approach to specific subject matter that you’re interested in learning more.
Look for a variety of mentors, one mentor could help you develop interpersonal skills. Another mentor can help you get a business acumen and there are so many other ways in which mentors can help you grow and become better.
2 Categories of Mentors:
People that are surrounding you on a daily basis. If you are in school, you have access to your professors and lecturers. If you have internship, you have access to your internship supervisors. If you already have a part time or full time job, these are possible mentors: - Your direct supervisors - People that you work with - Peers that you admire for certain skill or experiences
People that are not necessarily in your immediate surrounding. These are people that you admire and follow. These can be authors, social media influencers, blogs, podcasts and any other type of information that provides value to a skill set that you are after. I love reading books by Tim Ferris, who is an excellent writer and a great mentor that provides value in developing important skills. I love listening and reading Simon Sinek’s work. Also, at the end of everyday, I make sure to listen to at least one Ted Talk before I go to bed. And I start my morning by reading blogs, podcasts that I enjoy. All of that helps me develop skills and experience that I’m hoping to accomplish in the next year or three to five years, depending on what your long or short term plans are.
How you can actually ask someone to become your mentor.
Most likely going up to someone and saying, “Would you like to be my mentor?” is not the best way to approach. It can be an awkward situation and depending on how well or not well you know the person, you may get rejected. So, the best way to do this is to really pinpoint something that you like about how a certain person handles a situation or a specific skill set that they have.
Sample example to ask someone to be your mentor:
“I really appreciate the way you handled this conflict.”
“I really appreciate the way you approach project management.”
“I really appreciate the way you handle the creative approach to a project.”
It’s a good way to start and then ask them... "Would it be okay for me to stop by every once in awhile or perhaps grab some coffee because I’d like to ask you some more questions and get your input. I appreciate your feedback.”
Starting it like this would actually be a more easy going way of starting a conversation and it doesn’t put pressure on either party.
Once you have the first couple of meetings under your belt with your mentor, I recommend asking them if it would be okay to set up some regular meetings. They don’t have to be every week. Every other month for an in-person meeting or maybe some conference calls. It will help keep things moving and assure that you have an opportunity to touch base with your mentor on a regularly scheduled time. That way you won’t take up all of your mentor’s time. They’re always busy and they don’t always have the time to sit around and wait for someone to call them or stop by their office.
So, formalizing the schedule will make sure that both of you will know about the expectation and are committed to the time you spend together.
Mentorship is a Two-Way Street
You also have to be giving. Make sure to genuinely be interested in what your mentor is going through. Whether your mentor is working on a specific project or perhaps they have some sort of need or challenge that they are currently facing, try to find a way to help be a part of the solution.
Perhaps you can either give your time or provide other resource. Relationships are a 2-way street and that includes mentoring.