Find a mentor to help you unlock new ideas, grasp the lessons from others who have gone before, and develop relationships along the way. We are not designed to journey alone. We need (and seek) relationships, so find relationships that will give you what you need to build your success.
Words became a passion of mine at an early age, but I knew that if I was going to turn that passion into a profit, I needed more than a pencil and paper. I began attending writing conferences when I got serious about living my writing dream.
It took me several years to realize many of the conferences hosted the same attendees year after year. The attendees were asking the same questions and the sessions were offering the same answers. Even with changes in technology, they still rolled up with the “same ole same ole.”
Trial and error (with an emphasis on error) led me to a place where I saw my writing as a business. That shift led me to business conferences and events (which, in turn, led me to WordCamp where I discovered my people hung out). The people at these events were talking about general business ideas and practices – all I knew could translate to word profit if handled the right way.
Eventually, I connected with several people that became mentors to me for the process. We met to discuss what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. Most importantly, they helped me understand why I wanted to do it.
By investing in mentor relationships, I began to learn from others how I could live my best life.
What is a mentor?
The simplest definition of a mentor is someone who helps and guides another person to support personal or business development. It is about taking someone who has less experience in one area and offering wisdom and experience-based information on how to do better, get better, or be better (hopefully all three).
A mentor can be a formal position, someone you hire and work with (many people think of this as a coach).
A mentor can be a structured position, someone you work with through a designated program.
A mentor can be a casual position, someone you meet for coffee on a regular basis.
Mentoring in all of its forms can help create a real impact in lives through relationship building.
What is the role of a mentor?
A mentor will listen, encourage, and be a reliable resource. The specifics involved in the process are determined in large part by the expectations of the parties involved.
Some basic roles a mentor can play:
Determine career paths
It helps to get ideas from others about the paths you can take. Your experiences, education, and passions are unique and may fit into careers you never considered on your own.
Having others with you to talk through goals, dreams, and ideas allows you to hone into what truly matters most.
Create new habits
Accountability alone often provides the fuel necessary to do what you have known you needed to do all along.
Mentors will know people that you don’t already know and can provide introductions to these new circles of contact resources.
Measure and define resources
You can’t always see what you are great at because you are looking from the inside out. It’s like trying to read the label on a jar from inside of the jar. Outside opinions can point out things that are obvious to others but overlooked by you.
It is essential to find a mentor that motivates you to take the next step. The whole point of the mentoring exercise is to encourage you to invest more of yourself and your resources into what you truly want to do and be.
Much like motivation, mentors need to support you in the journey – and this support can come in the investment of time or/and resources. Your mentor should be invested in your success.
You want to find a mentor that doesn’t tell you what to do but shows you. A great mentor will be a role model in success either in your industry or in a way that you can then mold your steps to follow.
The idea behind mentoring is simple, find someone to encourage you and to inform you for your journey to success. The challenge is to find a mentor that will make the investment in you and in a way that works for your unique path.
Your Part to Play
You think you’ve found the perfect mentor and he or she has agreed to the position. What are you supposed to do? Just like your mentor needs to be invested, you have to be invested in making this work.
1. Set your expectations.
Before you begin, you need to go over together what is expected on both sides. Define what outcomes you want to get from the meetings and agree on how long you will meet. You can also set evaluation points to determine how you are proceeding with the expectations.
2. Be willing EAGER
You control your success. You dictate your journey. You have control. If you want to see great strides come from your mentoring relationship then be engaged in, open to, and absorb all that comes through during your meetings.
3. Do what you agree to do
Your mentor will offer recommendations and guidance based on your meeting. Sometimes you will even get homework. Follow through with all the actions you are encouraged to take. If you aren’t going to follow the recommendations then don’t waste your time or the time of your mentor. If you can’t do it (because of time constraints or previous commitments) then don’t agree to do it.
4. Accept responsibility
It is you. Even if your mentor doesn’t give you the perfect suggestions or examples, the end result is still on you. You are responsible for your actions (or inactions). You are responsible for your expectations (and for sharing those expectations). You are responsible for your thoughts (because the thoughts will dictate the steps).
5. Be open and honest with your mentor
Share your struggles. Talk about your concerns. Express frustrations about the challenges or suggestions or homework. And be sure to be open about what is shared in return.
6. Be open and honest with yourself
You know what you have been doing. You know what you will (or won’t) actually do moving forward. If you aren’t honest with yourself about your investments then you will never see the results you desire.
Your old ideas will not get you the new direction or new life or new success you desire. Learning from others is the best and most powerful way to find the next step you need to get there. When you know how to find a mentor and what a mentor does then you can be positioned to make the most of that relationship.
Passing it on – being a mentor
Not only does it help to find a mentor, but it helps your journey to be a mentor as well. No matter where you are in your journey, you are ahead of someone else and you know more than someone else.
Remember, a mentor/mentee program is about sharing, encouraging, and supporting and you are already in a position to do that for someone.
Reach out to your local schools, community centers, community colleges, and other organizations to find a place where you can provide your experience and wisdom to others.
Mentoring can be a powerful tool for your success. Whether you are being a mentor or if you are working to find a mentor. In the end, mentoring is about relationships and we are all stronger and bolder when we are invested in relationships.
Challenge: Look around and find someone to mentor and also reach out to find a mentor for your journey. Set up your first meeting.
Are you ready to build your awesome life? Whether you’ve fallen down and need some help up, you are ready to start stepping again, or you are somewhere else in the circle of falling, we’re here to help.
Join us over at WPprosper for more support on facing down fear, finding your focus, and living your awesome life.
If you are currently struggling to work from home, have we got a show for you. Nathan Ingram and Kathryn Lang shared tips on how to find your #WorkFromHome success (before you feel the need to run away from home). Watch the WPprosper webinar replays.
Kathryn Lang believes it is simple, and as an award-winning author and natural-born hopesmith, she shares tips on how to find your why, pursue your purpose, and live a bold, intentional life – always with a dash of twisted encouragement.