Mentors

Do you have any areas of your life where you really want to grow but that you have no idea  how to do it?  Maybe you need a mentor!

What is a mentor?  According to the dictionary, it’s a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.  We all need them, at different times in our lives.

They can be used in your professional life as well as in other areas of your personal life.

I want to make two points today about mentors.

First, what will a mentor do for you?

I want you to picture a moving walkway like they use in airports.  You’re using the same energy as everyone else, but you’re passing everyone who’s not using the walkway by.  And it takes no more effort than they’re using—sometimes less. So you get there quicker and with less effort!  That’s smart. 

Secondly, how do you find one?

I would suggest that you never ask someone to mentor you.  Why?  When someone hears the word mentor, they immediately have thoughts like, “I don’t have time to “mentor” anyone.  I’m too busy as it is.” Or, “I have no idea how to mentor someone.

The word mentor scares people off.  You’re putting up roadblocks before you ever begin.

Instead, ask them out to lunch or to meet you somewhere for a cup of coffee.  Then, start the conversation.  Just get to know them and let them get to know you.

It’s a good idea to arrive with a few prepared questions so that you can move the conversation along.  Your real goals for the initial meeting are to make a good impression, begin the relationship, and set another meeting.

I would suggest that you buy!  They’re investing their time in you.  You’re the one who asked.  A mentoring relationship is not a one-way street.  You should always give back to the person in some way.  As my friend Ned Parks says, you want to create an “Equitable Value Exchange.”  That too, is smart!

So where specifically do you need a mentor?  Write down one area of your life where you could benefit from this type of a relationship.  Put it on paper.  Be specific.

Next, who’s the first person that comes to mind when you think about a mentor in that area?  Write down their name.

Now, pick up the phone…

And give them a call!

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