It was Issac Newton who said:
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
All though this particular quote doesn’t refer specifically to mentors I have borrowed it for this post (By the way, this quote makes newton seem humble, but he was actually far from it).
I have previously talked about what is mentoring, so I won’t bore you again with the details. The fact is that mentors help us get better results and reach our goals faster. Whether you are a c-suite executive or a teen with behavioral problems if you are being mentored, you would perform better and reach your goal faster.
Since all of us have goals (and if you don’t, you might want to create some) and reaching goals is fulfilling, having a mentor is important for our personal development and our life.
A mentor for self-development
I’ve been wanting to find a mentor to help with my personal development for quite some time. I do follow some people online and consider them my mentors. I read their (online and real) books. Listen to interviews, take part in their personal development programs, and if I can find any books on their lives, I read those as well.
It’s true that this online sort of mentoring does help. I have learned, and am still learning every day from those people, and do my best to integrate the ideas they talk about and suggest into my life. The results in my life have improved as well, but sometimes, online mentoring isn’t enough.
When I have a question or facing some challenge that I can’t quite solve I usually try to think what would Bob proctor do in this situation? How would Tim Ferris react? What would Jack canfield think about this? Sometimes it works, and an answer would pop up. but most of the time I don’t find any resolution.
Which is exactly when I tell myself that if I could have had personal access to someone, who would have more experience than me with that specific challenge, I could probably learn a valuable lesson here. This is where “live” (as oppose to online) mentoring is by far more effective and more valuable. And it’s also the reason why I’m looking for a “live” mentor.
Wisdom of the crowd
Since I don’t quite know where to start when looking for a live mentor (I bet my mentor would have been able to help me out with this) I’ve decided to turn to the second best source of knowledge – the crowds.
Specifically, in this case, I used quora which (in case you are not familiar with) is a great place to ask questions and get real answers from real people who are actually qualified to answer your questions – since they have been doing or already found the answer themselves.
The question I asked was: “How do I find a mentor to help with my personal development?“. I received 5 answers, two of which were simply advertisements, but the other three were quite insightful that I really wanted to share them with you.
Below are the three answers summarized. I added action items at the end of each one if you don’t feel like sifting through the entire response. I also added some personal interpretation of my own to make the answer more clear at times. If you want to read the entire answer of each replier, you can simply go to the original question on quora and check the answer there.
1. Writer, Speaker, Reader. Founder of mysavvymind.com
It’s easy to find a mentor, but not all mentors are right for us. It’s important to find a mentor which aligns with your core values and also achieved to some extent what it is you want to achieve. When you know what is it you want to achieve in life, and know yourself enough, look for a mentor.
Mentors can come from anywhere. They can come from the community, school or even the Internet, but for close mentoring it’s probably best to pick someone close to you. If you can’t find a person close to you, then go for the next best option.
After you find someone you think is suitable let them know about it. Write a letter contacting them, and let them know what you think of them. Massage the ego a bit by praising and quoting him using his phrases from over the years. After completing that, state your own achievements in the field you are looking to be mentored on. Then politely ask to be mentored by him and hope for positive feedback.
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a reply in a day or two. If no reply came after 3 days, send a reminder.
1. Before looking for a mentor, know your own values and goal, then look for someone who aligns with those
2. Send a mail to your chosen mentor massaging his ego a bit by letting him know what you think of him, and quoting him. After that, state your achievements in the field you want to be mentored on and politely ask that he would mentor you
3. Wait for a reply. If no reply comes in three days, send a reminder
It’s possible to be mentored online as well.
I found my mentor on Stanford’s ETL podcast, and by listening to him, I decided to create a Twitter account so I can just follow him. Since this particular person is busy the best I could get was social media. I get “mentored” simply by following his thoughts from tweets, Instagram posts, link posts, etc.. I read articles on him, interviews and all.
I am not saying that you shouldn’t find an actual mentor that you will meet periodically, but if you don’t currently have one, you can easily get your mentor online. Today.
Use what you have now. Today. To build.
1. Until you find a live mentor, follow someone online. Follow him on every social channel he has, and read whatever he posts
3. Allan Rogers
After understanding what it is you are looking for in your personal development do the research on a few people. It’s possible you would need to be mentored by a few people before you find the right mentor for you. When you have experience with a few, you will know who is right for you.
Look for personal recommendations from people and from other mentees you can talk to yourself. If you are unable to do that, read reviews on-line or in publications about your chosen mentors. Read their life story and where they have come from.
Make sure they live what they teach. You’d be surprised at how many mentors don’t do that.
Spend time around them and use your own intuition about them and their teachings
Make sure you resonate with them and what they teach and how they teach it.
The most important tip is, make sure you can implement what they teach you, and gain real world results you can verify for yourself.
1. Choose a few people and research them. Read their publications, read about their life if possible
2. Get recommendations from other people who have been mentored by them
3. Start getting mentored by a few in order to gain experience as to how do they mentor. Once you have some experience at being mentored, you would know who is best suited for you
4. Check to see your results are improving. That is the best way to determine if the mentor is right for you.
So… what’s next?
I have to say I wasn’t expecting these sort of insightful answers from people. There are some key points here that I think are useful for everybody looking to find someone who could help them in their journey, find their own giant to stand on.
I’m going to try these suggestions out and see where they lead me. Hopefully, I will find a mentor that would help reach the next level.
Now back over to you. What are your experiences with mentors? How did you find the mentor for you?