I don’t know about you, but I have always been the type of person who tries to do it all myself.
When I started my first business years ago, I prided myself on working everything out, and making it a success without any assistance.
After a while, I realized I was a fool.
The only problem with never asking anyone for help, is that you actually keep yourself at a lower level of development. You eventually become a big fish in your own little pond, swimming around in circles, impressing nobody but yourself.
So, you have a choice: Do you try to do it all yourself, stagnating your success? Or do you grow as a person and reach a new level?
I believe one of the fastest ways to grow yourself is to find a mentor. Someone who has walked the path before you, who has made the mistakes and can shorten your learning curve. Someone who has an altruistic desire for you to succeed just as they have.
Of course, finding a great mentor isn’t as easy as it seems.
While there might be a lot of suitable candidates, it is hard to get them to actually spend time with you, and to offer help. Most people who would make a good mentor are busy in their own lives and businesses, so they may not be immediately receptive to you wanting their help.
But there are things you can do to find a mentor. Here are some really valuable tips I’ve used to find a mentor and benefit from the experience.
1) Decide you are looking for a mentor
Just like a single person who can’t decide if they should be dating or not, you can’t be ambivalent about whether you want someone to help guide you.
Make a clear decision that you want to grow, and that you are seeking a mentor to guide you. The more clear you are on the type of person you want to have mentoring you, the more you are likely to meet them.
As woo-woo as this might sound, you are much more likely to attract the right mentor to you if you are consciously wanting to meet someone. The Buddhist proverb ‘when the student is ready, the teacher will appear’ is very apt.
Also keep in mind, that the person you are looking for may be a mentor in one specific area. You might have one for business, one for health, one for spiritual growth, etc. Your mentor doesn’t have to be a guru of all things. Get clear on what specific area you want guidance in, and you’re halfway there to finding the right person.
2) Go where they are likely to be
Of course, you don’t just have to sit around waiting for your mentor to arrive. You can be proactive.
Once you are clear that you want a mentor, and what you want to learn from them, the next step is to go where they are. If it’s business mentor, then go to business seminars and networking events. For health go to classes or gyms. For any specific skill or ability you’d like, there are groups of people already skilled in that area.
If you can’t find the person in your local areas, then also remember you can look for people remotely. You can search for people who are experts in the area you want to learn and reach out to them via email or phone.
3) Offer to help them first, and ask for advice in return
This is a step that most people miss. Instead of trying to draw value from your mentor, first ask them how you can help them. Or if you see a way that you can bring value to their business or personal life, then offer to help.
By offering to help them you create a synergistic relationship.
Your new mentor will see you have character; that you are willing to give instead of just take. They will be much more likely to to supporting you if you show them your willingness to give value first.
Once the connection is established, you can ask advice and for ideas to support what you want to do. If they have walked the path before you, they are likely to be willing to help you.
4) Listen and Take on Feedback
Having a mentor isn’t fun sometimes. They will often see your shortcomings well before you do. They may suggest doing (or not doing something) that makes no sense to you. Trust their judgement and let go of your ego. If they are in the position you want to be in, then trust their experience and intentions.
5) Take action on their suggestions
If your mentor suggest you take a specific course of action, be sure to follow through. Your mentor will be watching your behavior to see if you are serious about developing yourself. If you start avoiding actions or ignoring their suggestions, you will likely find your mentor has less interest in helping you.
The more action you take based on a mentors advice, the more you will find yourself leveraging their wisdom and speeding up your growth. Be open to change, be brave to take action, and keep learning through the tasks they suggest for you.
Speaking from my own experience: having a mentor is like stepping onto an escalator to ascend to another floor. You have to take the first step to get on board, and you have to trust it is going in the right direction.
If you persist with the mentoring relationship, you will find yourself moving to a new level in life, much faster than you would have by doing it all alone.