What do successful people all have in common? Well..you have to be smart. Hardworking. Charismatic. Be willing to take some risks. Confidence helps. Movie star looks do too.
Ok, that’s not all true.
The truth is successful people have all asked for help from someone that’s been where they want to go. Somewhere along the way, they asked someone, “will you be my mentor?”
I know what you’re thinking
Maybe you’re thinking mentorship is old-fashioned like 1-800 Collect or Cable TV. Or that it’s uncomfortable to ask for help. You might think you’re being an inconvenience. Or that you can get there on your own. And where does someone even find a mentor anyway?
We’ll get to that, but first…
The magic of mentorship
Mentorship might be the 8th wonder of the world…really. Think about it, someone, maybe you, works their entire career to gain the right knowledge, skills, and experience for which they become well compensated.
But then they discover their hard-earned wisdom’s true value when they start to share those life lessons with others (this is where you come in). This is why mentor-mentee relationships are typically mutually beneficial.
Mentors give you access to information and guidance that can save you years, even decades’ worth of time.
What’s that worth?
How to choose a mentor
Do you look for a mentor that’s 10 years ahead of you in your career? 30 years ahead? Your former boss or someone retired? The answer is yes.
“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.”-Anonymous
Whether it’s your former boss, a peer, or even someone you’re mentoring, everyone has something of value to contribute to your career journey.
That said, do your best to be intentional and build your own personal board of advisors. It works for companies. It’ll work for you. “Mentor” doesn’t have to be singular and the two of you don’t have to get married. My hunch is that over the course of your career, plenty of successful people have crossed your path.
What if you reached out to one of them with a question about your career path? Or sought their advice for a challenge you’re having at work?
Would they ignore you? Really…would they?
The email doesn’t have to say “will you be my mentor?” but it could say “I’m struggling with this challenge and wanted to see if you’ve encountered something similar. Do you have time in the next week to talk?”
They could say no. They might say no. Or maybe they say, “I’ve been working on something too and could use your advice…will you be my mentor?”