A mentor can be so many things. They can be a teacher, a shoulder to sob on, a guide to living life to the full and, of course, a major influence on your career.
Finding a great mentor though, can be a little tricky. Sometimes you expect too much from them or they just can’t deliver on promises. Either way having a mentor is one of the best ways you can become a more successful business professional, chef, builder, dancer or whatever your chosen path may be. If you’re struggling to find the right mentor, check out our top tips:
- It’s not always about their position. Of course it would be wonderful to have a CEO of a thriving multinational corporation who happens to be from the same area and had the same first job as you as your mentor but chances are, that isn’t going to happen (unless you’re really lucky). It’s important to understand even unassuming people can be more knowledgeable and helpful than the obvious choice.If you are looking to get involved in a startup and really want a mentor who has been in the same position as you, why not instead look for someone who helped build a company from the ground up. They might not necessarily be the head of the company but they definitely know the ins and outs of launching a business.
- Be open to a relationship or not. Some mentors will happily reply to your thirtieth text in a row, while others will keep it strictly professional. Knowing what you want from a mentor is important; don’t settle for someone who can only chat to you once a month via email if what you want is someone around for emotional support as well as guidance. It can be daunting and stressful finding a mentor but if you stick with it and persevere you won’t be disappointed.
- Look at what is around you. Instead of searching far and wide for an exotic and interesting mentor why not look to your left, then to your right and see what’s around. Maybe there is an old teacher or lecturer who would make a perfect mentor, or perhaps a family friend runs a successful franchise?A benefit of doing it this way is that more than likely you’ll already feel comfortable talking to this person so you won’t feel bad asking them anything. You would be pleasantly surprised by how many incredibly successful people are around you if you just take a look!
- Consider a paid program. On the flip side of finding someone close to home is the option to pay for a mentor. There is a plethora of programs out there that set people up with mentors; while the obvious negative is that it can be pricey the benefit is that the mentor has a massive incentive to be helpful and useful. These programs usually have mentors that have a fair amount of experience and have been mentors before so they know what is expected from them.
Taking on a mentorship and simply finding a great mentor is such an incredibly rewarding experience for everyone involved and it will no doubt give your career a boost. So, whatever way you find a mentor it’s important to keep in mind that you should never feel bad or awkward asking your mentor for help or advice, which is what they’re there for! Take your time and pick the right one for you and your needs.