Getting a Mentor: Your Guide

The term mentor has somewhat become more of a stylistic statement than it was in the past. Successful people often referencing their achievements to getting a mentor that gave them life changing technical or self-development advice. Yet despite all the noise, a mentor does really have immense value.

Benefits of getting a mentor:

  • Technical exposure to a subject area
  • Guidance on what to learn and how to learn it
  • Intuitive tacit knowledge exposure
  • A network to climb the corporate ladder or any landscape for that matter

Types of Mentors:

People often think a mentor can only be a high profile person. This is far from the truth. Believe it or not, even the janitor can be a mentor. At the end of the day, mentors are just responsible for transferring knowledge they have gained to another individual which allows that individual to gain success in that particular area. But why not extend this definition to inanimate objects? Why can’t books and audibles also be mentors. So you see, you do not have to search far and wide for a mentor to take you in; a simple walk to the local library is more than enough. Here are some examples of mentors around you and then benefits they can give you:

1. Parents

Parents are excellent mentors and what makes them even more suited is that no one understands you better and wants better for you than a parent. They are self-less with what they know and have to share. One just has to be wary of them being too intrusive in your direction. You should always have a firm grasp of what you are trying to achieve and just use mentors as guidance. You don’t want to be a clone of your mentor. Authenticity is always the best root to success. Always play on your talents.

2. A Manager

Another great place to find a mentor is at work. It could be a manager for example. Managers are more keen to be mentors because your output is a direct reflection of them. The better you perform, they better they get looked at by their superiors. In most cases, you also want to somewhat one day be a succession plan to your manager – so learning from him and the steps he took to reach his position is very important.

3. Books/Podcasts

Books are the ultimate source of pure unrefined knowledge. Passed on from some of the greatest minds. Its often this knowledge that physical mentors absorb and churn out as secondary knowledge. However, if you are disciplined enough – you can choose the right books and apply yourself becoming a success story.

Getting a mentor step by step:

So we have established the importance of acquiring a mentor and the types of mentors. Now we will delve into some practical steps of getting a mentor.

  • Find out the type of mentor you want. This could range from a self-development mentor, a technical mentor for a sport or hobby or just a mentor at work to build your career.
  • Then find possible candidates that emulate a version that you want to be. Remember the goal is not to clone another person but to develop good skills and attributes that will guide you towards reaching your own authentic goals and aspirations.
  • identify your value proposition. Why will this mentor want to mentor you? What can you offer him or her? Remember Mentors are losing valuable time mentoring you. In some cases mentors develop a soft spot for you but in other cases, there’s usually something they benefit from. This could include it being a part of their job description or meeting qualifying criteria for an accreditation etc.
  • Ask. You will never get anything in life if you don’t ask. Remember asking doesn’t need to be in the form of a statement. Alot of mentorships become an unspoken thing. A simple “can I just chat with you for a bit?” can turn into multiple meetings and exchanges of information before it inadvertently develops into a mentorship. So asking in this context means putting yourself forward as someone eager to learn.

This post delved into the essentials of mentorship and gave a basic guide to getting a mentor. While getting a mentor and choosing a mentor can be daunting it is possible but also comes with responsibilities. Remember having a mentor means trusting his/her decisions and playing your part as a hard worker. If you don’t reciprocate the effort your mentor is giving you he/she will lose interest. So use the gift of a mentor responsibly and never take it for granted. It is one of the greatest life hacks to success.

Do you love learning about multiple subject areas? Then you may be a polymath. Read: Your Ultimate Guide To Being A Polymathto understand how to harness your mind’s full potential.

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