All entrepreneurs have an adventurous spirit – that’s why you’re doing it on your own instead of working for someone else, right?
That’s a great quality to have, but don’t think you don’t need some guidance now and again. In business, you can always benefit from some well-intentioned outside opinions, even if you’re not a young, first time business owner. You can get hit with tough decisions or need support at any time.
That’s where a mentor comes in – to get you from where you are now to where you want to be. But how do you find the perfect mentor?
What is a Mentor?
Let go of your idea of what a mentor is.
When you read the word “mentor”, you probably thought of some older gentleman in a suit, someone with years and years of experience behind him. You’d be surprised, though, what younger people can teach you.
There are many aspects of technology that millennials have experience in, and they can help you see the world with fresh eyes.
People who maybe haven’t followed a traditional path or found those typical markers of “success” can also have a whole lot to teach, since we learn more from struggle.
In addition, a mentor doesn’t have to be one person who gratuitously takes you under their wing. There as paid coaches who can serve this roll, or support groups (i.e. masterminds) of like-minded people that can provide the type of feedback and accountability that comes with mentorship.
Figure out what you’re looking for in a mentor.
Just like with anything in business, you need to have a clear goal in mind to achieve any kind of success. The same holds true when you need a mentor.
Take a moment to figure out what you need. Are you looking to get through a particular problem or are you generally feeling unclear? Are you looking to change careers or the direction of your business?
Different problems can be solved by different types of mentors.
Where do you find Mentors?
Don’t forget to look in your own backyard.
When a lot of people start looking for a mentor, they look everywhere but at their own network.
No one gets to where they are alone, and there had to be people along your way that helped you, guided you, or inspired you.
Look to those people in your professional network, those good supervisors or former teachers. There’s a high chance they’d be thrilled to help you.
Be willing to take mentorship how it comes.
When you’re wrestling with a problem or struggling to find your direction, don’t discount inspiration or guidance from unexpected places.
People can mentor you without even knowing they’re doing it sometimes!
You don’t have to meet in a boardroom, over coffee, or go on long meaningful walks through the park. Online or virtual mentors exist, so don’t worry and open yourself up to inspiration wherever it may come from.
I personally have many people that I consider “mentors”. Actually, I consider them “secret mentors” because they unknowingly mentor me almost daily through their books (i.e. Tony Robbins), blogs (Tim Ferriss) and podcasts (i.e. John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire).
While it is true that these people are speaking to a wide audience – so you lose that one-on-one relationship – it doesn’t make that knowledge transfer any less valuable.
One of my favorite secret mentors is Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. To further connect with and help his audience, he started a second podcast, AskPat. Listeners can submit their questions directly to Pat via SpeakPipe, and each episode features Pat responding to a listener’s question. This more personalized approach helps reduce the gap between virtual mentor and in-person mentorship – providing access to someone you might not otherwise be able to meet with.
Virtual mentors are the best way to get started, especially if you’re struggling to find someone in-person.
Remember, you can have a mentor at any age.
Lastly, don’t be nervous to try and find a mentor even if you’re older.
You can be a successful business owner and still hit snags or rough patches. Needing some guidance now and again doesn’t make you weak or stupid, but rather the opposite. It takes courage as well as humility to ask for help, so don’t feel like you have to know everything.
The bottom line is that there’s no shame in getting a mentor if you find yourself at one of those forks in the road along your entrepreneurial journey where you need a little guidance.
Let go of your preconceived notions, open yourself up to help, make clear goals about what kind of help you need, and then get out there and find the perfect mentor for you.
Go one step further, and Become a Mentor to someone who is currently in the same position as you were one year ago. If you’ve received guidance from someone in your life, remember to pay it forward by helping someone else level-up in life.
And in the spirit of mentorship and paying it forward, I’m excited to be one of the first to offer readers of Testing the Muse FREE early-bird tickets to this year’s Success Mentor Summit.
Many of you attended last year, and you’ll even recognize some of the names featured in this blog, such as Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Jeff Goins, Chandler Bolt, and many more… (100+ speakers participating!)
I’m super excited about this virtual mentorship opportunity, and really hope you join us at the Success Mentor Summit. Stop over and grab your free ticket here: http://testingthemuse.com/mentorsummit
See you at the summit!