New Eyes Lesson #8. Finding Your Mentor
“You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it within himself” ~Galileo Galilei
My mentor will be canonized someday. For real. She has the patience of Job, the servant’s heart of Mother Teresa and the wisdom of Solomon. Especially that part about the patience of Job. Especially concerning me. After all these years she hasn’t given up on me. If she doesn’t become a saint I know for sure the good Lord has a VIP Jacuzzi suite waiting for her behind the pearly gates at the very least.
We met accidentally almost. She presented at the university where I worked and I was determined to attend her program somehow. In five minutes I knew I wanted to be just like her and captivate an audience like she did that afternoon. It was about nine years ago and I cherish every time I get to sit at her feet to hear her words and lap up her wisdom. She feeds my soul.
How to find a mentor
Once in awhile you stumble on to one. I found mine by sheer luck and sometimes it works that way. Young Jeff Goins is a favorite blogger of mine and a darn good thinker. In his wonderful book The Art of Work he describes “accidental apprenticeships.” In a nutshell, it happens when you discover that someone you already know or work with can give you a lot of help even if they are just ten steps ahead of where you want to be.
Choose someone who is successfully doing what you want to do and study them. A role model. Study their work every way you can. Read their books, follow their blogs, look them up on LinkedIn and on Facebook. Learn everything you can about them before you even think about making that first contact. Nearly everyone has some sort of “digital footprint” you can explore nowadays. Do your homework. It’s not stalking, it’s gathering knowledge. Sincere admiration.
When you do make the first contact, simply ask them to have lunch or coffee, your treat of course. Tell them that you follow their work and tell them how you want to learn and apply what you see them doing. Take notes. Follow up, thank them for taking time to meet you. Don’t ask to pick their brain or if they can do you a favor. Don’t ask for anything until you begin establishing a relationship. There is an element of courting that needs to take place first.
What you bring to the table
I have found that successful people genuinely enjoy helping others and see it as a way of paying it forward. However, to create a relationship that is mutually satisfying, there are some things that will go a long way toward assuring that. The true mark of a good mentee is that you are teachable, curious, eager. Listen more than you talk.
Make sure you come prepared with a list of questions, respect their time and thank them for what you are learning. Let them know how you apply what they share with you. Compliment their work, “Like” their posts and share. Be an ambassador for them. Be humble, be grateful. Make it a pleasure to spend time with you.
One more thing, know that a mentoring arrangement may be temporary in nature. Even then, what you learn brings you closer to your goals. We might have many mentors through the years that can serve to help us grow in various areas of our life. What a privilege! Welcome each one!
Be ready to mentor others
There is someone ten steps behind you, someone who believes you know the answers. We’re all on the path at different points on our journey. Be gracious in sharing what you know because the universe loves an attitude of abundance. There is no room for scarcity thinking. By far the best way to learn is to teach so be generous with your wisdom as you hope someone will be lavish as they share with you.
Do you have a need for a message of generous mentoring in your workplace or group? If you do, I’d love to bring you my program about seeing life with new eyes. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on this post.
See you Monday! Spring is on her way!
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own” ~Benjamin Disraeli