Over forty years in business have taught me that great mentors are everywhere. You don’t have to find the one golden Master Mentor to make all your dreams come true. However, you do need to know what you’re looking for and what kind of results you’d like to achieve. Here are a few ways to find the right mentor(s) for you and the best part is that you can get started right away:
Read, Read, Read
Some of my best mentors have been those that I’ve read about in books. They’ve provided role models for developing my character and work ethic along with motivation in instilling in me that if they could do it so could I. When looking for a business/personal mentor look for those that have values that you admire along with personal integrity to always be true to their values. Another thing I look for is someone who has overcome challenges and not given up – these challenges mold people into strong leaders. I admire Bible prophets, the Founding Fathers of America, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Gandhi and Napoleon Hill to name a few. Harry S. Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.“ I have found this to be an absolute truth.
Search the Internet
On the internet there is a wealth of information at your fingertips. These can be your virtual mentors. You can engage with this type of mentor by consuming content such as blogs, video trainings, TED talks, podcasts and articles from leaders you admire. You can engage with people in chat rooms or by commenting on social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Face to Face Mentors
Choose business mentors that are a good fit for you – that you would be comfortable in sharing your challenges and ideas with. Please keep in mind that they aren’t your personal therapist so keep your time with them professional and about business. The most effective way to find these mentors is to look at the current relationships and networks that you have so that you can build off your existing connections. Don’t approach someone to mentor you unless you have a clear idea of what their background and strengths are and specifically why you need their help or what you want to learn from them. Ask yourself if there is anything that you can offer them to make it mutually beneficial.
You may not want to ask someone prominently successful to be your “mentor”. Chances are that they are very busy and worried about the time commitment you would expect even if they really want to help you. But if you go this route, I recommend that you don’t think of them as an ongoing mentor. Be sure to clearly communicate to them exactly what you need their advice on. Also, I would ask for less than an hour of their time, meet where they suggest and be sure to express your gratitude for their valuable time if you are able to meet with them. If they want to continue to advise you let them extend the invitation.
Some people hire business or life coaches to help them with business and personal goals. There are many resources out there either online or by asking your network for referrals. These mentors can do in-depth evaluations, help you develop short and long-term plans and hold you accountable with follow up meetings and/or phone calls.
Financial advisor Suze Orman said, “The key to being a good mentor is to help people become more of who they already are — not to make them more like you.” If you find that your mentor is trying to mold you into someone exactly like them, you may want to seriously consider this. You will be most successful if you build upon your own talents and strengths with their guidance and support like a partnership. A great mentor will help you reach your highest potential to achieve your dreams. In my memoirs, My Life Encapsulated, on page 92, I share about the importance of mentorship. “But isn’t that the responsibility of a leader (mentor)? To expect more out of their people than they think they can give? It’s not that people can’t do it, they just don’t see it in themselves. I’ve accomplished so much more than I ever imagined, but I couldn’t see this potential in myself when I was a young man. Sometimes we need a mentor there who can see more in us, to help us rise up and accomplish those things we never imagined doing.”
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve” is an oft repeated quote by Napoleon Hill. You can believe that you can accomplish anything and may have achieved many goals, but could benefit of the expertise and counsel of someone else to help you achieve ALL of your goals. Or maybe your business is suffering or you’re stuck, so you just need help recovering or moving forward again. This is really what mentoring is all about – helping others to succeed wherever they are on their journey.
I hope that you find the best mentor(s) for you and wish you all my best on your path to success.
For more on my journey as an entrepreneur, check out my book here.