We all need mentors.
Whether you think you’re okay going it alone or not, the truth is that every person would benefit from a mentor. And not just a mentor, but a mentor from within their industry. The question is, how do you go about finding one?
Finding a new mentor can be a lot like blind dating. It’s not really something that you want to just grab out of a hat. It takes time, effort, patience, and in some cases, a lot of trial and error before you find the right one.
But one thing remains true: A solid mentorship can do wonders for your career.
- The importance of finding a mentor within your industry
- How to go about establishing a mentor/mentee relationship
- Building the courage to reach out to a mentor
- The guiding principles to keep in mind when looking for a mentor
- Three qualities that make up a strong mentorship
Why a Mentor?
It sounds incredibly obvious.
But the truth is, the people who really stop and take a look at their careers will probably notice a few things.
For some people, they will notice that they were probably incredibly lucky. The cards fell their way, things lined up perfectly, and they ended up getting the promotions and the jobs that they wanted with little effort.
But those people are the exception, not the rule.
For most people, when they look back on their careers, they can probably point to one person—one person who took a risk on them, one person that took them under their wing and helped nurture them, one person who saw something in them that nobody else saw and was able to speak into their lives. Whether they were intentional about it or not, their lives were changed by a mentor.
Get to Know Yourself First
It’s hard to find a mentor if you don’t know yourself. Think about it. If you sat down with a career coach and they asked you where you saw yourself in five years—and you had no answer. That coach’s job just got infinitely harder.
The same is true with a mentor.
It’s incredibly hard for a mentor to help you guide your career if they don’t know you, and they can’t know you if you don’t know you.
The Guiding Principles
As with any major decision in life, a mentor is a big investment. You’re opening yourself up to someone and letting them get to know you in a way that a lot of people may not know you. So there are some guiding principles to keep in mind when looking for a mentor.
- Be Unafraid
You need to be unafraid to admit your need for mentorship. Know that you would benefit from someone speaking into your career.
- Shop Around
Much like you wouldn’t buy the first car you drove, you probably shouldn’t just commit to the first mentor you meet with. Shop around. Get to know people. Do your research.
- Don’t Limit Yourself
This is especially true for women. So often women feel like they have to limit themselves or hold themselves back from conversations. Don’t believe it for a second.
Go out there, chat with everyone you look up to—man or woman. Get your foot in the door, and be a part of whatever conversations you think are going to be most beneficial to your career.
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