The importance of finding a mentor and how to fast-track your search for the right mentor

Before you actively look for a mentor, you need to have an idea of what you'd like to learn from them and the ways you can contribute to their work or life. Here are some key tips on how to find a mentor and what to look for.

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Photo by Samuel Zeller from Unsplash
Photo by Samuel Zeller from Unsplash

The 20s can be the most confusing and daunting time of your life. You are just starting to learn how to adult with your new job in a new city with new friends. The uncertainty of the future can often surround you like a dark cloud during the boring weekends, those times when you feel like you are not making any real impact, and those times you see your friends seeming to move forward and you want to as well. Finding a mentor to help during those times of uncertainty is greatly valuable.

Think of a mentor as a friend except they are much older and had a successful trajectory in their career. You feel inspired and admire them the most in your life after your parents. I have had amazing mentors throughout my career who were able to uplift me during the toughest times in my life. I have been fortunate to find them as my co-workers, managers, and advisors but not many people are able to find the right mentors. I wanted to share my cup of wisdom in how to look for the right mentor and the kind of things you can talk to your mentor about:

What to look for when searching for a mentor

  • A mentor is not someone who answers your questions. A great mentor will usually focus your thoughts and leave more questions for you to think about
  • A mentor is not your friend. Think of them as the Genie in Aladdin’s lantern who can leverage their network to help solve your problems.
  • A mentor is almost never negative. They encourage you in your endeavors and offer their opinion. They almost will never compel you to take their feedback 

Where to find a mentor

  • The first and foremost is through your co-workers or family. It could be your current manager or a previous manager who inspired you to do more and was able to see your potential.
  • Tap into your network of friends and ask them if they have a mentor. Your friends probably share similar interests as you. If they already have a mentor, you could ask for an introduction to simply meet and talk to them.
  • Lastly, utilize networking apps. Apps like Bumble Biz and Shapr are great ways to connect with like-minded individuals in your area. It’s very similar to dating apps where you swipe to see people around you who are willing to mentor you. 

When you seek out a mentor, most likely, you will run into different kinds of people. It is important to always take your time to see if there is a good fit between what you would like out of a mentor and what they could give. Trust your gut more than anything in these decisions. If you feel like nobody is matching your expectations, keep looking because once you find the mentor you are looking for you will very quickly, realize your life has changed for the better.

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