To me, a mentor expands your thinking, challenges your pre-conceived notions and shares specific advice that’s relevant to you. A mentor-mentee relationship needs context. It is a special one to one equation.
If the person you wish to be mentored by is of some decent repute, it’ll be difficult to get hold of their time and attention. Successful individuals, who provide mentorship, are not scalable in terms of time. Time is a scarce commodity, and that is the one thing they are most guarded about.
But, you can be influenced by multiple individuals. You can have role models, heroes or inspirations. As a talk show host and emcee, whenever I interview important figures, I always ask about their inspirations. And it’s genuinely interesting to hear their responses. The wonderful thing about heroes, is that you can assemble one (or many) for yourself; like a customized outfit. It feels correct for you. They’re free available.
One trait from a person who was with you in college, the other from someone you follow on social media, another from your workplace, someone from the industry or somebody you read about in a book, and just like that, you have a hero ready. You can absorb their thought processes and internalize them in your life. Heroes are generous with their knowledge. So you can always catch some of their thoughts through their writings, videos or interviews.
If the organization or system that you’re a part of, provides you with mentorship that’s particularly crafted for you; good for you. Mentorship is certainly a nice to have; if you can find one.
For the rest of us, let’s find our heroes. They are everywhere. It would be a dream come true for me to be mentored by media moguls such as Oprah, Trevor Noah, The Rock – Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Seacrest, Lilly Singh, Conan O’Brien or JayZ. However, many will be happy and content with knowing that they exist and the world is full of possibilities, because they made it happen.
Infact, for a large part of my life, I too, kept looking for a mentor to guide me. If you’re waiting to land yourself a mentor to give the permission for whatever it is you are seeking, I’d recommend changing that strategy and putting in the hours to build your craft. Competence builds leverage.
Go find your heroes.