A few days ago I was at an event a friend was hosting and they mentioned how they placed a high value on mentoring people trying to come up in their industry. They thought there was a serious lack of it, especially as it pertained to mentorship for women.
As I think back to my own career, I see how mentorship has played a big role in getting me to where I am. Sometimes it was really formal mentorship like a coach. Other times it was literally learning from my friends and colleagues.
My point is this: I’ve always had someone to guide me. Okay, maybe not always. But definitely for at least half of my career. The question then becomes how to find a mentor from the very beginning.
Stop stressing so much.
As much as you may try, finding a mentor can’t always be forced. In my experience, you’ll know when someone is meant to be your mentor. They typically know too.
Unfortunately, I often times get desperate emails from blog readers (usually really ambitious younger ones who are just starting out in the careers) stressing about not having found a mentor yet. They know it’s important and they want to find one almost immediately.
I usually respond by telling them to calm down. First, because they’ve got time. Second, because if they do everything I’m going to detail in this post, they’ll find a mentor.
Start attending industry events.
A great way to find a mentor is to stop hiding out at home and start attending industry events.
I found one of my mentors by joining a local women’s networking group. I’ve had friends find their mentors at industry parties. For example, a few of my photographer friends have found their mentors at gallery openings.
I even found one of my mentors at an airport when we both happened to be on the same flight to a conference. We hit it off immediately and they’ve been teaching me about business finances ever since.
The reality is potential mentors are everywhere. You just have to go outside to find them.
Another way to find a mentor is to start working on finding them online. Now, I don’t mean stalking someone on LinkedIn and sending them a message (though that could work), I mean start following thought leaders and bloggers in your industry and build a relationship with them.
In my experience, when I started taking blogging and social media seriously, I naturally started finding other people in the industry. Eventually, these people became my friends and mentors.
Learn from your friends and colleagues.
As I already mentioned, mentorship isn’t always formal. Some of my best mentorship has literally come from friends who were really good at an area of business where I struggled.
For example, one of my friends is really good at automating sales funnels. Me, not so much. She’s having a business retreat in February where she’s going to be teaching people how to set this up for themselves. I immediately booked a ticket.
Another example is a friend who is fantastic with affiliate sales. As soon as she published a course on the topic, I bought it.
While neither of these examples in the sense we’re accustomed to, it’s still mentorship. You’re still learning from an expert in the industry. It counts.
The ability to find a mentor doesn’t need to be as complicated or stressful as people make it out to be. If you follow these tips, you’ll get the mentorship you need without all the stress people place on it.