We all know that surrounding yourself with the right people is important and having mentors can be an amazing support network. A good mentor is your go to person and can help you in your career. They can offer you advice and share their experiences so that you can learn from them. This is especially important if you are looking to change careers or if your current work structure means that you do not have a direct superior to learn from.
But how do you go about getting a mentor? Here are the rules to follow.
LET YOUR VALUES GUIDE YOU
When you’re looking for your mentor, think about what qualities you admire in other people. You may watch a great talk by someone and think they would be your perfect mentor but consider if it is the content of that talk or the person giving it that impresses you. It is important to meet your prospective mentor, either face to face or on video chat, to determine if your personalities can work together. Consider the people you work with, they don’t need to be your superior but have the attributes that you’d like to mirror. You can also look at people in your community, anybody who inspires you can be a great mentor.
DON’T ASK THEM
It might sounds like the obvious first step. You find an amazing person that you think would be perfect for you, so you ask them to be your mentor. But this can be a scary proposition for someone, especially if they are busy. People may perceive mentoring as a time consuming task and also one that comes with a lot of responsibility. Instead, make it seem easy for them. Ask them if you can occasionally email them for advice or with a specific question. Acknowledge that they are busy and make sure they know you’re not going to be constantly bugging them, that way they will not feel they are having to commit to anything.
DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF
Don’t be discouraged if you ask a mentor and they say no, they probably have a good reason and it’s not for everyone. Try asking them if they can suggest anyone else that may be interested. You can also have multiple mentors that can help with different aspects of your life and career. Connections are key, so the more you have the better!
SAY THANK YOU
A little gratitude can go along way, so always remember to thank your mentor for their help. Make sure you’re never asking too much of them and don’t take up too much of their time. They are helping you for free and with no real return for themselves, so make sure they feel valued. Try sending them a thank you card or small gift to show how much you appreciate their support. They are far more likely to help you again if they feel that you were truly thankful.