For over a decade, I have made it a point to have a mentor in my life. Early in my career, I received mentoring from one sole individual. As I continued to grow, I realized having multiple mentors was even more valuable.
At this point in my life, I have three different mentors. I utilize each mentor for specific areas in my area. When I have a tough business question, there is one specific individual I seek out. For questions about relationships, I have a mentor for that as well. When it comes to leadership, I seek out my third mentor. Each one of these men are very similar but each are extremely strong in their specific areas. When I express to others how important it is to have a mentor, they often ask me how do you go about getting a mentor. Here are some key steps to acquiring a mentor.
1. Identify what areas you need to grow
Before you attempt to find a mentor, what areas of your life do you need the most growth? Is it with your relationships, health, finances or career? The most important task in this step, WRITE IT DOWN. It is hard to explain but once you commit and idea to paper, it is easier to put it in place. Once you have identified which area you need assistance, you are one step closer to finding a mentor.
2. Who are you spending your time with?
Look around at the people who are in your inner circle, who are you spending the most time with? Are they at a point in their life, in a specific area, that you strive to achieve? Or are they not going towards a level of success? If there are those in your circle who are on the right path, your mentor may be closer than you think. If the individuals you are spending your time with, are not building you up to the next level, you need to find a higher caliber of individuals to spend the majority of your time with. Notice I said majority. Just because others aren't going in life where you want, does not mean that you have to block them out completely. You just have to be careful with how much time you spend with them. Time is the most valuable asset you have, don’t waste it with the wrong people.
3. Do your research
So you have identified an individual that may be able to offer you some counseling. Great! Now ask questions. Ask others their opinion about this person. Research them online. Facebook, Linkdin, Twitter, Instagram. Would you trade places with this person? If not, do not seek their advice. It amazes me how people seek advice from those who are not qualified to give it. Having trouble with your relationship? Why would you ever take advice from someone who has been divorced 3 times?! It is obvious that they have issues in this area. Yet, it does not mean that they would not be able to offer you sound advice in other areas.
4. Set up a meeting
So you have recognized what areas you need help in, you have identified the individual and you have done your research. Now it is time to set up a meeting. Let the individual know that you admire what they have been able to accomplish in a specific area of their life. Tell them that you are looking to grow in this area as well and that you would like a few minutes of their time to discuss some ideas. Offer to take them to lunch and pay. If they are successful, they understand how valuable time is. Make it worth their while. Come prepared with a list of questions. What made you start your business? How are you able to manage a successful relationship? What tips can you give me? Many will not admit it, but this is a huge stroke to anyone’s ego. Most are flattered that you would seek out their advice. At the conclusion of your meeting, ask if it would be alright to check back with them in x amount of days to check in and provide an update.
I have never had to pay any of my mentors to spend time with me. I was ambitious and hungry for their advice. They could see this in me. If you are striving to become a better individual each and every day, the opportunities will present themselves. Before you know it, others will be coming to you for advice and you will be able to provide the same counsel to others that you have been afforded. Be sure that you PAY IT FORWARD.
-Samuel W. Anderson