As I think back to my own career, I see how mentorship has played a big role in getting me to where I am. Sometimes it was really formal mentorship like a coach. Other times it was literally learning from my friends and colleagues. My point is this: I’ve always had someone to guide me. Okay, maybe not always. But definitely for at least half of my career. The question then becomes how to find a mentor from the very beginning.
STOP STRESSING SO MUCH
As much as you may try, finding a mentor can’t always be forced. In my experience, you’ll know when someone is meant to be your mentor. They typically know too.
Unfortunately, I often times get questions stressing about not having found a mentor yet. They know it’s important and they want to find one almost immediately. I usually respond by telling them to calm down. First, because they’ve got time. Second, because if they do everything I’m going to detail in this post, they’ll find a mentor.
START ATTENDING INDUSTRY EVENTS
A great way to find a mentor is to stop hiding out at home and start attending industry events.
I found one of my mentors by joining a local startup networking group. I’ve had friends find their mentors at industry parties. For example, a few of my entrepreneur friends have found their mentors at startup events.
I even found one of my mentors at a smoking lounge when we both happened to be ex-employee of a common employer. We hit it off immediately and he has been teaching me about business finances ever since.
The reality is potential mentors are everywhere. You just have to go outside to find them.
Another way to find a mentor is to start working on finding them online. Now, I don’t mean stalking someone on LinkedIn and sending them a message (though that could work), I mean start following thought leaders and bloggers in your industry and build a relationship with them.
In my experience, when I started taking blogging and social media seriously, I naturally started finding other people in the industry. Eventually, these people became my friends and mentors.
LEARN FROM YOUR FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES
As I already mentioned, mentorship isn’t always formal. Some of my best mentorship has literally come from friends who were really good at an area of business where I struggled.
For example, one of my friends is really good at Information Technology and its implementation. Me, not so much. He’s having a conference and a boot-camp in November where he’s going to be teaching people how to set this up for themselves. I immediately booked a ticket for that very event. Another example is a friend who is fantastic with affiliate sales. As soon as she published a course on the topic, I bought it.
While neither of these examples in the sense we’re accustomed to, it’s still mentorship. You’re still learning from an expert in the industry. It counts.
The ability to find a mentor doesn’t need to be as complicated or stressful as people make it out to be. If you follow these tips, you’ll get the mentorship you need without all the stress people place on it.