A mentor is the key to more success in your life and career.
It’s widely recognized that people with mentors, grow their careers or their businesses faster than those without.
It makes sense, having someone who has walked that same path before and reached a level of success you are still striving for will be able to help you navigate the same path more quickly than you going it alone.
What is a mentor?
A mentor is someone who can give you advice and encouragement and help you navigate challenges. Often they are in a similar industry or were in a similar role as you are now and are generally someone you admire and want to emulate in some way.
But how do you find a mentor?
The key to this is to be realistic in who you ask and how you ask.
Who to ask?
Big names in business pop to mind when you think of business success. And as successful as these people are, they are also incredibly busy and flooded with requests from people just like you, so the answer is very likely to be no. So rather than trying to pin down Oprah Winfrey or Sara Blakely, the better strategy is to target a much lesser known leader, more specific to your industry, that is more accessible to you, and more likely to actually consider your request.
Your mentor doesn’t even need to be at the top level of the success you want to reach, they could be just a few levels ahead of you and once you get there you look for a mentor that has reached the next level you want to achieve.
How to ask?
No seriously we mean it. Asking someone flat out to be your mentor is a HUGE ask. It implies hours and hours of their time over months or years of relationship. The most effective way for most people is to just make the first single ask and let the relationship build organically. Get in touch with them and tell them you admire what they have accomplished in some specific area, that you are experiencing a challenge in that area and could they spare 30 minutes to help talk you through it, for example.
How can you keep the relationship going?
Make it easy to say yes – you do the work to make it as simple and easy for them to give you their time. You work around their schedule, you travel to where it’s most convenient for them etc.
Value their time – always be on time, don’t reschedule or cancel meetings, go in with a clear purpose each time you meet and be prepared.
Show your gratitude – a mentor is likely to have a huge impact on your business or career, they are giving their time and expertise to help you achieve your goals. Show your gratitude by first of all, valuing their advice and feedback, but find other ways to give back to them whenever you can.
A thank you note, or thoughtful gift are always good options, but beyond that, keep your ears open for ways that you might be able to assist them with their careers or company with referrals, introductions to your contacts or ideas.
If you are starting or growing your business make sure you check out the One Step Empire podcast where we walk you through one simple step each week to build your empire.