Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can — there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did. – Sarah Caldwell
Why is it so hard to ask for help? Do we feel like we should have all the answers? I decided to hire a coach… someone I’ve admired and had an email friendship with for many years. I was a big fan of her projects including Escape from Cubicle Nation and more recently “Body of Work” and she was kind enough to review my first book.
I happened to be in the Phoenix area for business and realized that I was in Pamela Slim’s backyard! So, I emailed and asked to buy an hour of her time. I’m so glad I did! Even though we’d never met in person, we picked up like old friends and I got more out of that hour with Pam than I did circling around in my own head for months. Pam was able to provide clarity about my 50 Plus Reinvented project, help me cut through the resistance and get me back on track.
The thing is, if you’re in a receptive mindset, mentors are everywhere. I wrote a blog for my getAbstract client about a book called 48 Laws of Power focusing on hip hop artists like Kanye West, 50 Cent, Jay Z and Ludacris who were inspired and ultimately, mentored by Robert Greene’s book. (Side note: 50 Cent loved “48 Laws” so much that he teamed up with Greene to write The 50th Law based on the concept of fearing nothing.)
Think and Grow Rich author Napolean Hill came up with what he called his “invisible counselors,” an imaginary board of directors that enabled him to tap into the “minds” of Jesus, Lincoln, Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Homer, Newton, Edison and William James and many others. Hill said “while the meetings of my cabinet may be purely fictional, and the meetings existent only in my own imagination, they have led me into glorious paths of adventure, rekindled an appreciation of true greatness, encouraged creative endeavor, and emboldened the expression of honest thought.”
Let’s say the “invisible counselor” idea doesn’t work for you. Where would you find a real life mentor? Below are a few suggestions.
5 Ways to Find Your Dream Mentor
1. Start with your existing contacts
According to Kathy Caprino in a recent Forbes article, you don’t need to go outside your current network: “Find great mentors through the inspiring people you’re already interacting and working with now,” says Caprino.
2. Attend events
In an article called “Richard Branson’s Guide to Finding a Mentor” for Entrepreneur, Branson recommends “…going to industry events like lunches, seminars, talks and conferences. Join community groups — your local chamber of commerce is a great place to start. Chambers of commerce often host networking events and meetings that bring beginning entrepreneurs and successful business people together.”
3. Identify potential mentors
According to an article in Business News Daily, Assistant Editor Nicole Fallon suggests, “Creating a spreadsheet of people who have at least one characteristic that makes them potential mentors. For instance, maybe they have your ideal job. Look into your personal network, and research influencers in your field (practitioners, experts, bloggers, journalists, speakers, authors, business owners, etc.). Sort and prioritize these potential mentors, placing the ones you are closest to and feel the most natural connection with at the top.”
4. Look for Mentor-Protégé programs
An AARP article by Kerry Hannon suggests “…contacting your local Rotary Club, the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) in your town, and the Chamber of Commerce near you are good resources. There are often lunches and other events sponsored by these groups who have guests whose wisdom you need. You might discover someone who is looking for a protégé and has expertise to lend free-of-charge and time to devote to lending a behind-the-scenes hand without seeing you as a competitor. The SBA also offers a Mentor-Protégé program designed to help small businesses compete for federal government contracts.”
5. Find a role model
In a Fast Company article, writer Lolly Daskal says to “Look for someone who exemplifies the traits and skills that you want to adopt. Choose a mentor you truly respect and one who resonates with you.”
If all else fails, Napolean Hill’s “imaginary counselors” might be available.
Have you had experience with a mentor? Please comment and share your story.