Imagine you see the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. But instead of Christmas, we’ll call this the Ghost of Business Yet to Come. Say hello to your new ghost.
This ghost is quite insightful. He knows how you can become more profitable. He knows about mistakes you’re currently making and how they will impact your future. He knows what relationships you should forge.
He knows quite a lot about your business and yourself.
This isn’t pretend. The Ghost of Business Yet to Come is real. Though it goes by another name: a mentor.
Yes, what it takes to peer into your future is a mentor. What everyone needs – including introverts – is a mentor who has done what they are trying to do. Does this sound like a hassle? It’s really not. Think about it like this. We only enjoy people who are like us or who we want to be like. A potential mentor is both of those things. So even if you’re introverted, forging this relationship will be easy.
What does a strong mentor look like?
A strong mentor is someone who has already proven their success in the field. An ounce of action is worth a pound of theory. Make sure they have actually walked across the coals of business.
A strong mentor does not have ulterior motives. They want to help you because you probably remind them of themselves at your age. Be leery anyone who tries to push a sale on you.
This all may sound too good to be true. “Why would a successful person want to talk to me?” It’s because you are actually interested in them. People LOVE those who are interested in themselves. Think about it. When someone gives you a compliment (especially when you overhear them talking you up to someone else) that’s a freaking fantastic feeling! Mentors get those feelings all the time. So even though a good mentor isn’t compensated financially – they are compensated in extraordinary ways. Don’t make excuses for why they wouldn’t want to talk with you. Think about why they would want to talk with you.
Actionable Tips for Securing a Mentor
Use these tips even if you’re an introvert. It won’t be intimidating to secure a mentor when you find them via these routes:
Ask if You Can Do an Informational Interview
When I was in college, I would ask professionals for informational interviews. People love talking about themselves so I would always make it into their schedules within a week from asking for the interview. Basically, I would start by telling them their work is admirable. I told them why they personally should be admired. I then asked mentor-esque questions like, “What books do you recommend?” “If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?” It was quite enjoyable for both of us. And I forged a few lasting connections.
Find Thought Leaders via LinkedIn, Facebook Groups, Blogs
The internet is a fantastic place to find mentors. Connect with mentors through any medium in which you feel comfortable. Though when connecting online, it takes extra effort. Because they can’t see you face-to-face, they aren’t sure if you are worth their time. It’s harder for them to see your passion via the internet.
With online mentors, do something to get noticed. Send a written letter through the mail. Send them a small personal gift. Be thoughtful. Also, try to see them in-person. This may mean going to a conference which they are going to or even making a special trip to their city. Yes, plane tickets are expensive but if you gain even one nugget of great advice, your plane ticket may be paid for 1,000 times over.
Say ‘Hi’ to Certain People and Ask to Hear Their Story
One thing I do is I say ‘hi’ to anyone driving a nice car. This is because I’m a car person. My interest is not fake. I ask about the car and eventually ask what value they must provide to society to receive such an expensive item. Yes, you can find a mentor at the gas pumps. Tesla Supercharging stations are hot spots as well. Just try not to be a creeper.
Offer to Work for Someone – Even for Free
Successful people work. So a good way to get close to them is to offer to work for them. For free, if necessary. Remember, business success is a long-term game. Working for them for free may be a pain now but it could be your path to a 7-figure future.
Go to Networking Events
I know these are hard for introverts but hear me out. Local networking events are a great way to meet successful people. However, you will probably mostly meet people who are on the same level as you. But still many of these events are worthwhile. You often make greater connections via these connections.
Ask Your College for Connections
Your alma mater can be a wealth of resources. Let your career services department, office of advancement, PR office, etc. know who you are and what you want to accomplish. Ask if they know anyone similar. I’m telling you – colleges love making connections. It’s how they get multiple generations to attend the same school.
Do you need a mentor?
Yes! Get one now – even if you’re an introvert.