A recent discussion with someone who’s writing a book about mentorship reminded me how important my mentors and advisors have been in my life. I literally wouldn’t be where I am today without their help and guidance.
Having a set of mentors around you who give you valuable, unfiltered feedback; with whom you can be vulnerable; who provide advice and coach you through challenges is, in my eyes, crucial to your success. Not only as a young, aspiring entrepreneur but also later in your career.
With that being said — here’s how I (in a nutshell) go about finding and engaging with mentors these days: Start out with making a list of people you admire and who you believe would provide valuable insight for your personal growth (this can be subject matter experts, people who have walked in your shoes before or generally speaking people you admire for their opinions). Reach out to them, ask them if they would be willing to meet with you for lunch/coffee/dinner and tell them why you believe that they would be amazing mentors to you (the last point is crucial as it will increase your chances to get your meeting manyfold). When you meet them come prepared. Have your questions ready — while dancing in the moment and allowing for the conversation to take you wherever it’s meant to go. If you and your mentor click after that first meeting, design your alliance. Ask what is important to your mentor in the way the relationship works, explain what is on your mind and become clear about the mechanics (when you will meet next, how to stay in touch, etc). And lastly: Always follow up. Mentors love to hear from you — that’s the reason why they meet with you in the first place.
And here’s a challenge for you: After reading this — find a mentor. Reach out to them, set up an initial meeting and see what it does for you.