Even at this point in my career, I still regularly work with a number of mentors. I have a mentor for business advice, financial advice and more. The one thing that I’m overcoming is that you can’t be a one-man band in your career, and the advice and assistance of others is so important.
Zig Ziglar said ‘A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could’.
In the early stages of my career, I had always wondered, what type of mentor should I look for and how can I utilise my mentors’ skills to assist? In many cases, my mentors originate from people whom I trust their opinion and advice.
Here are my top pieces of advice when it comes to mentoring.
Break out of your comfort zone
An important lesson I’ve learnt from my previous and current mentor is breaking out of my comfort zone. The people I’ve chosen to work with are those who encourage me to keep on progressing in ways I haven’t always considered. This is a great way to expand your outlook and build your view on work and business.
My tip: Don’t decide on your mentor with the thought process of ‘who you’d grab a drink with’, instead look at someone who is excelling in their field and decide how their knowledge could assist yours.
The best kind of mentors are those who have a different lifestyle and outlook towards life, which really help you grow. My past mentors have never held back, they don’t tell you what you want to hear – but give real advice, to keep you honest.
Know what you need
With every mentor, it’s important to have a bit of an idea towards how you want to benefit working with another individual on this professional level. Having a clear goal and purpose will ensure that your meetings have reason behind them and that you can watch your progress as time goes. There’s no point in just speaking about general business topics the entire time if you’re not applying the information directly to yourself.
My tip: Know your purpose behind getting a mentor. There’s no point in organising meetings, if you don’t have a reason and or a goal associated.
Ask yourself – What is the purpose? Why do I want a mentor?
You don’t need to be location specific
With technology these days, there are so many ways to develop strong relationships. Whether that’s through Skype, FaceTime or other applications. Give yourself the freedom to find a mentor in a different location, even in a different industry to yours. For me, I’ve had great mentors who have been leaders in the sales and energy fields. This is a great way to build your knowledge and view of areas outside of your working bubble. An old fashion phone call could be a two-way street, where the mentor could also be a mentee.
My tip: Look beyond your area code for a mentor. They are just a phone call away.
But how do I find a mentor?
There are a few ways to find a mentor, whether that’s asking your friends and family, or hiring one. A great way to negotiate time with a mentor is by offering your time, services and skills in exchange for 30 minutes of their time. Often, people are extremely flattered by this question and you will receive enormous value, for very little in return. If you’re catching up on a monthly basis consider buying them lunch, paying them, or providing your services for free in exchange for their time.
My tip: Always be sure both people in the mentor program are getting value in return and that your mentor has some kind of motivation behind it too.
Really, as I said previously, on many occasions the mentor also becomes the mentee. So setting up a regular catch up can really be a win/win for both of you and the best part is, you may both win financially!
What are your thoughts on getting a mentor? I’d love to hear them.