This is a very sensitive topic because I have had people come to me and asked for mentoring – career or business related. I am all ears and out there to help as many people as I can, most of the time it is just the direction I give and want the passion to take over to guide them rest of the way. So that has always been my style. Taking a step back to think, what is it that I look for in my mentors and what do I look for people who come to me with this request? Personally, I am gifted to have met tons of interesting people and have made many as my mentor. The list is literally a big one – trust me :).
Mentor is someone who praises when you deserve it and gives heads-up when trouble is coming probably eve before you even have noticed it.
I see multiple qualities in a mentor to guide me. These may not align to your needs but I can assure you that these are non-negotiable for me. These are my Top 5 -
Take time for you
Networking isn’t just time to find your new customers, it is also a way to find new mentors if you like. One who takes time in writing a note to you, remembers you when you need them are critical aspects for a great mentor. More importantly, you want someone who knows the market out there, trends and is willing to point you in the right direction.
Mentor: Someone whose hindsight can become your foresight.
Knows your needs
As you grow the mentoring needs change, you change personally and professionally – knowing someone who can properly guide you in the direction you want to go is critical. Take time clearly to understand what type of mentor you want, understand where you want to go from where you are. What are your key plans, strategies to reach there? Now a mentor has clear understanding to guide you with the intermediate milestones to reach that destination.
For many people who have come to me, I ask them where they want to be in 5 years time. The answers vary from a blank face to something like “I want to be ***** in 5 years”. Now if you have such goals, who are your idols? What has been their path? If you have a reference and you know how they got to where they are – this give you a good indicator to what steps you need to take. Isn’t this a simple strategy? There are no shortcuts to this exercise.
I can accept failure but I can’t accept not trying.
Listen and be Open to ideas
Given the enthusiasm of people, I often see people find it hard to stay calm and listen for the conversation to finish. Listen carefully and to find a mentor this is critical. Pay attention to the choice of words they use, how real they are, and what smart choices are they giving you. These are critical because you never know what ideas might spark from that 5 minutes conversation.
Do your homework, more importantly be open to receiving. If you come out as someone who knows everything the probability to find a right mentor is down the drain. Don’t fall victim of your own knowledge (or lack of it).
The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.
Look beyond the traditional
We are in the age of internet and connected world. So don’t always derive source of inspiration from people around you. There are interesting speeches, videos from TED, books and of course the family hero’s around you from whom you can derive immense inspiration from. You don’t have to meet people to get that insights, but given an opportunity take the extra step in meeting them. The world of social networking has surely brought the divide between people a step closer. Don’t miss out on these channels of Facebooks, Twitters etc !!!
Thank in advance
People help you intentionally or unintentionally, let them know of that help. Someone mentors not for money but for the good will in seeing you successful. The very thought that they want to help someone grow is noble – hats off.
I know there are more to the points I have discussed. Please feel free to share your experiences, I would surely love to hear them. Thanks for reading this far.