Getting a Mentor
Everyone needs a mentor. It doesn’t matter what phase of your career you are in. Mentorship is really important for getting you to those next phases in life. We don’t have to go at it alone. There are folks in this world, in our circles, who have more experience and wisdom and who want to impart their knowledge so that we don’t experience the same pitfalls.
1. Identify a mentor. Who do you want? Why do you want him/her? What can he/she do for you?
2. Never waste anyone’s time. What are you expectations? Be ready to share those with whomever who ask mentorship from. How much time do you want out of their day? What are you goals? And even more importantly, why do you want to get mentorship from him/her? A little flattery never hurts.
3. Follow through and follow up. Don’t ask for 3 hours a month an never reach out to set up appointments. On the other hand, don’t ask for 3 hours a month and try to squeeze out 6 hours. That’s not fair either.
ALWAYS be clear about expectations so that your potential mentor can make an informed decision to say yes or no. If he/she says no, don’t despair. Why would you want someone who cannot commit? Thank them for their time and honesty. Then consider asking them to introduce you to someone from their network who may have similar skills to offer you. Perhaps this person can refer you to the mentor who WILL be right for you.
And keep your eyes and ears open. You may already have someone who is mentoring you informally you don’t realize it. Sometimes the people we seek out are right under our noses, waiting for us to notice them.