How did I end up starting my own business, having confidence in my product, and getting to a point where I truly can say it is flourishing? I surely did not get here on my own. I have many people behind me supporting and encouraging me both professionally and personally. Finding a mentor is such a great feeling and knowing that you have an invaluable relationship to help you grow professionally gives you the confidence that you are making the right decisions.
It’s okay to have more than one mentor and it is certainly encouraged. The most important piece is building the relationship between you and your mentor(s) while meeting with them frequently. There are two different categories of mentors: 1) the people who are experts in your field and can encourage you to reach new heights, and 2) those who are experts in fields that are not your forte, so you can challenge yourself.
How do you find that perfect mentor? Here are three of my top tips to finding a great mentor:
- Identification: Mentors come from all different backgrounds and don’t always have to be 20 years your senior. They can be a peer. Don’t judge someone by their age or experience level, since mentorship is all about learning new things and pushing yourself outside of that comfort zone. Write down a list of 10 names of people that would push you professionally and that you respect. Reach out to them in an organic way, building off of a previous relationship.
- Communication: Remaining in contact is very important, but be mindful of their schedule. Check in every 4 weeks or so, determine a time to meet based off of their schedule, and be flexible. Setting up a dinner or breakfast can prove easier than interrupting their work day with a coffee meeting.
- Organic: Nothing is more awkward than asking a person very bluntly, “Will you be my mentor?” Make the mentorship a natural progression. Suggest ideas that would help them first. Go out of your way to volunteer for a project they are leading, offer to perform a small service for free, something to encourage them to help you next and pay it forward, opening the door to mentorship.
Building that mentor relationship can be tricky, but don’t overthink it. A lot of the time you don’t even realize that you have a mentor until you reflect on it. Are you a mentor to someone? What would you add to the list or suggest to someone seeking a mentor?