How to Find a Mentor
Advice on how to find a mentor doesn’t vary that much from source to source. Typically, the advice includes instructions like:
- Know your goals.
- Know what you want from a mentor.
- Make sure you’re committed to doing the work.
Of course, there are additional guidelines to follow when finding a mentor, and, when taken all together, they can make the process of how to find a mentor somewhat intimidating. The selection, the preparation, the expectations, the asking … it’s as if all mentors are out of reach, high on a pedestal, demanding homage.
But finding a mentor doesn’t have to be intimidating or overwhelming—not if you think about mentors as regular folks who are in a position and willing to help someone who asks.
It’s true that you want to be sure about what you want from the relationship, whether the person you intend to ask to be your mentor is the right choice, and you want to ask in an appropriate way. But, at its core, finding a mentor is about building relationships and being willing to ask.
When Luke asked Kevin Harrington, this week’s guest, about how to find a mentor, Kevin shared story after story about how a conversation turned into an opportunity to build a new relationship that opened a door. At the heart of each story was the initiative he took and the work he put into making things happen.
When he first started out, Kevin didn’t know all the big names he knows now. He started out the same way we all do—talking to people he did know. Family, friends, friends of friends, strangers he met and struck up a conversation with, people he cold called … all these people knew other people who could potentially help Kevin with what he needed.
But first, he needed to ask.
Once he had a business, he realized that all the people he was writing checks to—suppliers, distributors, lawyers, accountants—were also people who could help. He only needed to ask.
What does it mean to have a mentor?
People looking for their first mentor sometimes assume that it’s the mentor who does the bulk of the work. They couldn’t be more wrong.
They may assume the mentor tells them what to do when, in fact, good mentors offer advice based on experience and knowledge.
They may assume that the mentor is responsible for keeping the relationship going, for checking in, and following up. In reality, that is the job of the mentee.
Mentees may assume that the mentor is going to open up doors and lay opportunities at their feet. While a mentor might knock on a few doors, the mentee needs to demonstrate they are worth the risk the mentor takes when they endorse their mentee. It’s up to the mentee to make the necessary good impression.
One of the most important points that Kevin Harrington makes about working with a mentor is being your mentor’s best student. Be eager. Take the initiative. Do what is suggested. Don’t waste your mentor’s time and energy if you aren’t going to do the work.
In addition, Luke talks about giving the mentor something of value in return. Pick up a lunch tab or offer to take care of an errand when your mentor’s time is stretched thin. Don’t be concerned if, in your eyes, what you have to offer isn’t as valuable as what you are receiving. The important point is to find ways to show your appreciation.
- How to find a mentor is really a question about how to build relationships. Look to friends, relatives, professional organizations—people who can put you in touch with other people who can help. But also look to people you interact with during the course of doing business—suppliers, distributors, financiers, lawyers, accountants. They could be a valuable connection and should be willing to help.
- Shifts in mindset, which a mentor can often provide, can move you beyond what you initially thought was possible.
- It’s one thing to take advice. It’s another thing to believe the advice. And it’s still another thing to act on the advice. Be your mentor’s best student, act on their advice, and offer something of value in exchange.
Get a mentor and be the best student that mentor has.
You can leave a message for Kevin at KevinHarrington.tv.
If you want a copy of Kevin’s book, Mentor to Millions, then visit GetMTM.com.