The idea of mentorship is not new. It has been around for centuries and it is still a very popular way to learn. The mentor-mentee relationship is a two-way street, where both parties are committed to the success of the other.
Mentorship can be formal or informal, but it always involves a more experienced person guiding and teaching someone who is less experienced. Mentors can be found in many different places: in schools, at work, in social settings, or even online.
Mentors are often people who have achieved success in their field and want to share their knowledge with others so that they too can achieve similar success. They may also be people who have faced similar challenges as the mentee and want to help them overcome those challenges.
Who is a Mentor?
A mentor is someone who provides guidance and advice to a person or group. Mentors are often people who have been in the same position as the person they are mentoring. They can be a great source of knowledge and experience for those who are looking to learn more about their field.
Mentors can be found in many different places, such as schools, universities, workplaces, and even online communities.
Benefits of having mentors
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
This African proverb expresses one of the important benefits of having a mentor: social support. When we surround ourselves with encouraging people who believe in us, our efforts are multiplied.
A mentor is someone who has been in your shoes before and can help you navigate the challenges of your career. Mentors are not just for people who are starting out in their careers, but also for those who have been in the industry for a while and want to take their skills to the next level.
Mentors can help you with everything from networking to managing your time. They can also provide advice on how to handle difficult situations at work or how to deal with a difficult boss.
Here are 5 perks of surrounding yourself with people who cheer you on.
1. You will take more risks.
When we surround ourselves with encouraging people, we are more inclined to seek opportunities and engage in new adventures. Having someone keep us accountable helps us stay motivated and put our best foot forward as we pursue goals.
When I asked Emilis Mackay why she finds it helpful to have a mentor, she said, “Having someone support you and help keep you accountable is the number one reason why women should have a mentor.” She continued, “You can’t do everything alone. I think women are hard on themselves and tend to be perfectionists. Having someone you respect guide you while cheering you forward is invaluable.”
2. You will take calculated risks.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of having a mentor is learning how to make sound decisions, especially when it comes to taking smart risks. I asked my friend Wesley Ingram what she looks for when deciding which opportunities are worth pursuing, and she said, “When you have a solid foundation in your industry by identifying mentors who are willing to teach, listen and support you…those are the ones to take.” Wesley continued, “[Only] move forward on an opportunity if it’s being taught–not just pitched. If it’s being taught, it’s mentorship. If it’s just being pitched, you should probably walk away.”
3. You will have more fun along the way.
Who doesn’t want to have fun while they’re pursuing their goals? Having a mentor injects levity into our lives and keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously. Tracey Branch shared with me her favorite part of being a mentor, saying, “The best perk for me is seeing the ‘light go on’ in someone’s eyes. When they suddenly understand something because you were able to explain it so clearly or you inspire them to take action because you have been there and done that, I feel rewarded.”
4. You will gain clarity about your personal vision.
One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is “What’s my vision?” Having a mentor to help you answer this question ensures that you are on track with what matters most to you. My friend Kirsten Padilla suggests that women keep asking themselves, “Are you being mentored or just having advice from a guru?” If the answer is the latter, she says to look for someone who’s actually taking action towards accomplishing their personal vision so you can follow in their footsteps.
5. You will have a bigger impact on the world around you.
When we surround ourselves with encouraging people who believe in us, we’re more likely to step out of our comfort zone and take on the world. When you aren’t afraid of failing, it’s easier to act with courage and accomplish your goals.
How to Find a Mentor; 7 Tips for Success
now that you understand the role of mentorship in improving your life, career, or business but don’t know how to start your menteeship journey?
A quote from Henry Ford sums this up nicely: “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, either way, you are right.”
The people who succeed in life are those who realize that most of the time they are the ones holding themselves back. They understand why other people’s opinions and perceptions of them are so important.
They also understand that they are the only ones responsible for their results in life and that it’s time to take action. You can’t control what others say or do; you can only control your own actions and reactions.
But how do you find a mentor? And once you find them, how do you know if they’re right for you?
Here’s a Step-by-Step Guide: 10 Tips and Strategies to Finding and Choosing the Right Mentor
1. Take action now!
Nothing happens until you take action. Your first step is to write down where you are in life and what your goals are. Look at your resume and see if there is anything you’d like to change or improve upon.
What skills would you like to learn? What habits do you want to adopt? Don’t wait until tomorrow; start today. When you take action with a clear intention, doors will begin opening for you. Sometimes the right people will appear in your life right at the moment you need them. Have patience and take small, consistent actions everyday.
2. Write down all the people in your life who have what you want.
Mentors can come from any walk of life – someone you met on vacation, a family friend, or even an acquaintance you meet once every six months for lunch. Don’t discriminate; list everyone who comes to mind.
Write down their names, the qualities that attracted you to them in the first place, and what it is about them that interests you. You should feel inspired by their mere presence.
3. Focus on small wins over time.
Your mentor doesn’t have to be someone famous or accomplished. They can be people who are just a few steps ahead of where you are right now.
When I was in law school, my mentors were classmates who did very well on their final exams. When I started my own business, my mentors were other small business owners who achieved the results that I wanted to achieve. The local college coach was my mentor when I wanted to get in shape.
Make a list of everyone you know who has the ability to help you achieve your goals. Don’t judge them based on their personality or how much time they have right now; focus on what they can teach you and how being around them will inspire you.
4. Find a champion to help you.
You need a cheerleader, someone who believes in you and your abilities.
They should be able to answer questions like: “If I learn this skill or achieve these results, where will I end up?” They should be able to show how their success story is connected with helping you succeed as well. Find someone who is enthusiastic about your success.
5. Do what they do, not what they say.
Words are cheap. Whether it’s a coach, mentor, or mastermind group you’re involved with, take them seriously and walk the talk. Don’t treat your mentors like gurus; be willing to roll up your sleeves and get dirty alongside them.
If you want to gain a skill, be willing to work on that skill every day – not just the days they’re telling you to do it. If you find yourself getting frustrated because of their advice or actions, ask yourself if there’s something more important going on inside of you that needs to be dealt with separately from them.
6. Ask for help.
A mentor is not there to make your life more difficult or complicated. They are not an obstacle. They aren’t perfect, and they won’t always give you the answers you want to hear (sometimes they’re wrong).
But if you trust them enough, they should be able to point out some of the flaws in your thinking so you can stop making the same mistakes over and over again. And if they tell you to do something that isn’t working, take responsibility for fixing it yourself.
At the end of the day, mentors are there to help you achieve your goals more quickly than you would have on your own. They want what’s best for you. If you tell them what your goals are, they can assist in helping you achieve those goals more easily than if you tried to do it on your own.
7. Be appreciative.
People like doing things that matter. When I was in law school, my mentor took me out to dinner and thanked me for all the hard work I did. It meant a lot to me because I was so hungry for her approval or acknowledgment, and she gave it to me freely.
Offer your appreciation when someone helps you get where you want to go faster than if they had not helped. Show gratitude towards them even though you’re the one receiving all of the benefits. Show your appreciation by sending a handwritten thank-you note, or telling someone who is important to you what they mean to you.
This person makes your life better, and the world would be worse off without them in it. Thank them for being an important part of your success.
How to Ask Someone to be your mentor
It can be tricky to ask someone to be your mentor. After all, this is someone you’re asking to take time out of their busy schedule to help guide and support you. Here are a few tips on how to ask someone to be your mentor:
1. Make sure you’ve researched and thought about what you want from a mentor relationship. What do you hope to gain from the experience?
2. Approach the person you’d like to be your mentor in a respectful way. This means sending an email or talking to them in person, rather than just sending them a LinkedIn request.
3. Make it clear that you’re interested in learning from them, not just seeking advice or feedback on your work.
4. If you get a no, don’t give up! People are sometimes too busy to mentor. If they aren’t the right fit for you, ask them to point you in the direction of someone who might be better suited to your needs.
5. Be positive about what you can offer your mentor, both now and in the future. This includes how you can help them to achieve their goals.
6. Be purposeful about how you’ll enter into the mentor relationship (e.g., what types of communication will work for both people).
7. Make sure that your mentor knows how often they’ll be meeting with you, and ask them what sort of structure they’d like or need the relationship to have.
8. Make sure you have a good idea of what your next steps are now that you’ve asked someone to be your mentor!
We hope you find these tips useful as you embark on your mentorship journey, we have previously made a post on How to Find a Business mentor, do well to check it out so you may want to add some more tips to the ones we already shared here. If you find these useful, don’t hesitate to share them with others. Cheers!