Why a Mentor is Valuable
Having a mentor is one of the easiest ways to get ahead in life. Someone who is an expert in something you want to achieve will have all the knowledge needed to get to where you want to go quicker. Even the simply 2, or 3 nudges can be incredibly valuable. I will never forget, nor stop thanking the mentor I had in my corner early on in my career, telling me college is not necessary, and that the amount I was asking for, was below market value. Those two pieces of advice, and the collective 2 minutes of time it took, have made me $500,000 dollars more over the past 5 years.
Lean Creativity as a framework will not go into the depth of why a mentor is important. However, we did want to mention it is important, and something to be very aware of. In addition, how to achieve getting a mentor in the most efficient fashion. Finally, how to make it flexible to achieve your unique needs.
Realizing Getting a Mentor is Your Responsibility
The first and foremost most valuable step towards obtaining a mentor is realizing that getting a mentor is your responsibility. Many times, mentors will be farther progressed in their career and personal life, making them incredibly important busy people. From this truth comes many things.
Clear and Concise
All asks should be as clear and concise as possible. If a mentor gets a ask such as, "Hey, I want to be a lawyer, and I see you have your own practice. I was wondering if you can help me?" I can assure you they will not respond. However, "I want to be a lawyer in immigration law. I saw your piece on immigration law xyz. I have an interest in being a clerk at your law firm, and have written an article on issue xyz on imigration law. I was wondering if you have time to grab a 10 minute video chat sometime? Thank, and I very much so appreciate your time." The latter with some fine-tuning might just do it.
It's very important that a first impression is important. Many times if the way you approach someone like this the first time is incorrect, with a follow up "correct approach" it will be infinitely more difficult, than a correct "first-time" approach.
Mentors Exist Cross Industry
As you progress along in your journey, you might find yourself needing a mentor in an industry that is not yours. In that scenario look less so for a mentor, and more so for a consultant. It's important to make sure you keep your circle of mentors tight.
People Like Helping
Being that these people are busy, and skilled, they want to help. Primarily, because the ability to do so, is limited. Help convince the mentor that you are being helped. Try and offer some way of helping them beyond just the regular
As specific as a Path as Possible
Getting to know what path you want to be on, is a pre-condition towards finding a mentor. Once you know your path, getting a mentor will be infinitely more valuable.
Once You Know Your Path - Tool at Your Disposal
I'm going to be honest, I've done quite a bit of research on this one, and I am unhappy with the current solutions provided. Instead, I am going to offer LinkedIn.
Search Linkedin for: 1. Someone physically close to you. 2. Has a role in something you want to be in. 3. Choose someone you feel you can relate to
Message one ask at a time
Finding a mentor is a painstaking experience. In addition, these mentors will over time perhaps fade. I've experienced that once before, due to this individual just getting busier. It is something to be aware of. Nonetheless the template for messaging this person is something such as this:
Hello Name Goes Here, my name is Name Goes Here. If I may, I would like to introduce myself. My name is name goes here, and I am a Profession that lives in city goes here. I am looking to advance in area xyz. If you had 3 pieces of advance for someone looking to advance in area xyz, what would that be? Thank you, and I am incredibly appreciative of your time.
Message at a later date
Hello Name Goes Here. First and foremost, thank you for your prior advice. I have currently received an offer at Company goes here. I was wondering if you think this amount is worth it, or if I can perhaps negotiate at a higher rate? Thank you.
Push Back on New Mentors
Try and push back on new mentors as much as possible. Primarily, because as important as mentors offering things to you, is you reciprocating and offering things to them. However, one thing I have found is that there is often a disconnect between professional mentors, as well as personal mentors. So I usually have two mentors. One for my personal life, and another for my professional life. Lucky is the person who can find a single mentor.
Keep it Cordial
Make sure to keep in mind some key events:
Use Google Calendar, and have it remind you two weeks in advance.
Family and Ongoings
In your Google Drive, create a folder called "Name of Mentor". In google doc, make sure to update 1. Where they live 2. Who they are married to and kids 3. Ideas on how you can contribute to their success
Be supportive on Social Media
Make sure to frequently like, share, and expose their content.
Send Letters Every Two Months
There is nothing more personal, other than meeting in person, than letters. Make sure to send a letter every two months. Same situation, set a reminder in Google Calendar, and set notification for 2 weeks in advance.
Offering Money - Meeting every 2 months
As I mentioned previously, probably the unique 2 minute advice I received early on in my career, allowed me to make an extra $500,000 over the past 5 years. I strongly believe in meeting with a mentor for 15 minutes every 2 months to touch base. Offering this mentor what they are comfortable with, keep in mind, is always going to be worth it. I think $100 for those 15 minutes is worth it, but I personally would be more than happy to pay upwards of $500 for the right person, for just 15 minutes. Try and keep in mind, the advice, and connections these people will offer, is physically impossible without them.
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