After some time in your career, do you feel stuck and stagnant? You had good runs and achieved a certain level of success already. But you can't seem to find that additional oomph to finally propel things to the next level.
More often than not, you need a mentor in your life. Mentors have a lot of experiences and skills that can guide you on the proper path.
But why is it so hard to get someone to agree to coach you? You might be having some skewed understanding in a mentor-mentee relationship.
Worry not. We are here to help! Check these 7 common misconceptions in finding yourself a mentor.
Most people want the ultimate mentor for their careers. Yes, it would really be ideal to be mentored by the topmost person in your industry. But asking a prominent person who doesn't know you (plus the fact that a barrage of people is already asking) might not be a fruitful venture.
Out of all the people emailing them, why would they mentor you? The ones in the big leagues are so busy now. They have to invest their time in something or someone that's worthwhile. And without knowing you, how will they gauge that?
This is not to discourage you. But why not try first with your circle influence? You might have met some successful people in your life. People who you have proven your skills and your potential to.
Additionally, they should also like you and believe in you before they can offer their help. Surely, you have better chances from your own circle.
Most people want to pick a mentor who is exactly like them. Maybe of the same nationality, same height, same gender, and etc. If you find a mentor exactly like you, well, good for you.
But you should not focus on finding someone like you. On the other hand, you should look for SOMEONE YOU WANT TO BE LIKE.
Remember, the purpose of mentorship is to transcend your career to new heights. And who best to guide you there than someone who has been in those heights.
See their results and try to get their mentorship regardless of differences in ethnic, gender, or etc.
When contacting your possible mentor, the worst thing that you can do is to ask for mentorship right off the bat. And mostly, with no regard for their time or their selection process.
If you were in their place when you receive "please be my mentor because I want to learn.", wouldn't you feel infuriated? I mean this may sound innocent. But most likely you'll get rejected.
I mean, do you expect it to be free? I'm not saying you should pay them money. Mentorship is a time-consuming process. It is imperative to also add value in return.
Don't ask for mentorship, but be an avid follower of their work. Ironically, the way you can do this is by offering your services for them for free, pretty much like an apprentice, without expecting something in return.
Be persistent but not demanding. Be helpful by posting related articles that point to their work. Genuinely share why it has helped you. Or maybe sharing their posts on your own social media accounts.
If you're having a hard time thinking of something to give, you can be creative. If you find them posting about visiting a city, why not offer your time to tour them around and introducing them to the possible clientele you know in your vicinity? Or just a simple lunch to chat might do.
It may not land you a mentor-mentee relationship, but it will surely get your feet in the door.
If you finally get to meet, make sure that you don't put your would-be mentor on a pedestal. Do just talk about the multitudes of awards they got or their career achievements. It is your chance. Get to finally know the person. Organically grow your relationship.
Did you have fun when talking? Is s/he someone that would likely be a friend? Because if not, even with his/her accolades, you would not be a good fit together.
Mentorship is a life-long relationship. Yes, a mentor would challenge you and test you. But if you don't have the least chance to have a good relationship (I'm talking about at least a decent enjoyable working relationship, not the "you are my best man" relationship), it's better to look for a mentor somewhere else. You don't need a bullying dictator in your life.
For the common folk, we look for a mentor without even knowing what we want from them. We message multiple high profile people. And after getting their "help", we just assume we will learn something.
You know what, we actually will learn something. But don't make the mistake of blindly wishing for the right words or advice to be said to you.
Set a specific thing that you want to learn from them. Describe your situation and pique their ideas on what they would do if they were in your shoes. When you finally find a mentor that will invest in you, make sure you get the answers you intend to get.
When you look for a mentor, you don't expect them to save you from impending doom. Your mentors have goals of their own. Do not sulk and beg them to pull you out the deep despair hole you are currently in.
Remember, you are both contributing to each other. If you have this "Save-Me-I'm-Helpless" mentality, how can you actually give value?
Lastly, mentors are not there to tell you what to do step-by-step. Do not ask them for stuff you can easily search using Google. They are not here to spoon-feed you to success. And certainly, s/he is not someone you have on speed dial whenever you encounter difficulty.
A great mentor is someone who will guide you in finding the answers for yourself. Every situation is different. They will teach you how to think of solutions even if they are not there.
They will occasionally give you advice, feedback, and challenges. It may be hard or borderline frustrating. But this is what you need to grow.
With that, I hope you find the perfect mentor for your career! Good luck!