If you don’t have a mentor in your life, it may be time to look for one. With that in mind, here are five tips to get you started.
1. Find a great person, not a great title
Good mentors come in all shapes and sizes so it’s important to pick mentors who align with your personality and aspirations. They can provide you with invaluable advice and help direct your decision-making process. They can also connect you with resources and other people who can help you throughout your career. So, don’t just look at someone’s title to see how high up the ladder you can reach; find the best fit for you and what you need, no matter where they are in their career.
2. If you admire someone, get on their radar
If you admire a particular person (especially if they’re outside your company), follow their work and find ways to support them – even if it’s from a distance initially. For example, retweet their posts and comment on their blogs. Help them by referring new clients, partners or business to them. Get on their radar first, and then approach them about possibly mentoring you.
3. A mentor isn’t your buddy
We all like to be liked, right, but some of the best mentor / mentee relationships come about when the mentor is able to dish out some tough love. Have fun with your mentor, sure, but let them be frank with you, and take their advice to heart.
4. Look for a complement, not a mirror
When looking for a mentor, it’s usually good to identify a person who complements your skills or experience, not someone who is exactly like you. The goal is to learn best practices and be exposed to new ways of thinking, not just find someone who will validate the status quo.
5. Put in the work
Once you have a mentor, it’s up to you to put in the work. Your mentor probably has a heavy workload of their own, but they’ve given you their most precious asset – time. Make the most of it. Put their advice into practice and see if it works. Just listening without action is a waste of time for you and your mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but you absolutely need to take responsibility for doing the work and taking ownership of your journey.