The mentor-mentee relationship has been used for thousands of years to transfer knowledge and skills because it works well.
The process of seeking out someone who you admire and learning directly from their coaching and mentorship is the best way I’ve found for staying motivated to achieve difficult goals.
If you want to become a master of your craft, it accelerates your development when you follow the advice, mindset and personal examples of the successful people that came before you.
Want to try out mentorship to see if it’s for you? We’re testing a new 8-week mentorship matching program in our Facebook Group. It’s free to join.
Why You Must Learn From Practicing Masters:
The fastest way to mastering something is to seek out practicing masters who don’t just teach but are also actively doing their craft.
In today’s fast-changing world, theories and assumptions must be regularly applied and tested to be validated. The reality is that many teachers who don’t actively practice their craft end up teaching yesterday’s solutions to today’s problems.
That’s why the advice of practicing masters is so valuable. If you want to rapidly acquire a difficult new skill, the best way to learn is through a close relationship where you can model the behavior of a practicing master.
As you can imagine, the most successful practicing masters are very busy and they protect their time. This means you need to do your research and work diligently and strategically to build a meaningful relationship with them.
It won’t happen overnight but if you approach the mentorship relationship with emotional intelligence and persist over time, you can build a relationship with nearly anyone you choose.
Once a relationship has been established, you can get creative and find a mutually beneficial way to help each other.
The fact is many of the best and brightest people want to give back but the master will only appear when the student is ready.
1. Do Your Research:
You should start by asking yourself, why do I need a mentor?
Try to identify what key area of your career or business that you want to improve. This will help you narrow your focus to the potential mentors who can help you achieve your goals.
Once you know exactly what you want and why you want it, you can start researching local entrepreneurs, authors, and inspiring people with expertise on Google, LinkedIn or Twitter.
If you can’t find anyone specific that you really want to contact, search on Google for local events and conferences where you can meet successful people in your industry.
2. Always Give Before You Take:
This is something most people don’t do. I usually get 5-10 emails a day from complete strangers that ask me for favours before they’ve even introduced themselves.
It makes me wonder if some people are raised by wolves… I’d estimate I get 50-100 emails like this for every person that mindfully provides some value and properly introduce themselves before they ask for a favour.
If you’re going to approach successful people, you can bet that they are very busy and don’t have any time to waste with people who don’t value their time.
You must know exactly what you want and be able to demonstrate how you can give back. The best mentor/mentee relationships are always the ones that are mutually beneficial.
If you’re young and inexperienced, you may think that you don’t have anything valuable to provide someone who is much more experienced. If you spend some time contemplating what you’re good at and most passionate about, I’m sure you can find something to offer.
Perhaps you have a unique understanding of a new and disruptive technology, you’re on the cutting edge of an emerging trend in business, or you know someone in your personal network that you could refer to your potential mentor.
There is a lot of knowledge and know-how that people of different generational mindsets can share with each other in a mutually beneficial way.
3. Create Real Connections That Last:
Business is done based on relationships today more than ever before.
Ironically, today’s mainstream culture relies on texting and social media over talking on the phone and meeting people in person, which means that many people lack the necessary skills to form authentic business connections.
That’s a massive liability in today’s connection-based economy.
The most successful people and the best entrepreneurs are those who cultivate create long-term relationships.
You can create a meaningful connection with a prospective mentor by clearly communicating what you can do for them and ideally also finding a creative way to demonstrate it.
It’s important to follow the reciprocity principle. People want to reciprocate gifts with something of comparable value in return.
Ideally, you want to help your potential mentor learn new things, grow their business, or connect with others.
If you’re connecting two people together keep in mind that you want to make sure the connection will provide value to both parties involved. If you can provide people with valuable connections, they will remember you and reciprocate the favour when you need it.
When you’re attending a networking event, challenge yourself to meet the most influential people in the room and find creative ways you can engage and help them.
You can start by asking them what is most important to them or what their biggest business challenges are.
Skip the awkward and unnecessary small talk and hook their attention by asking them directly why they started their business and what gets them out of bed in the morning all fired up.
This helps establish some common ground that you can build a relationship upon.
4. Find Successful People In Your Community:
To engage interesting people at conferences or parties you should focus on being a “giver” who provides them with value right away.
This will immediately set you apart from the crowd and establish rapport with smart people in a short conversation.
Successful people usually want to leave a legacy and they’re more than happy to help individuals who approach them in the right way.
Once you’ve established rapport and provided them with something of value, you will find them much more receptive to helping you out and spending some of their valuable time with you.
5. Follow Through Is Everything
When you meet someone that sparks your interest, I recommend that you send a quick e-mail or LinkedIn message within 24 hours.
This shows hustle, which all successful people can appreciate. Good communication skills today means sending and replying to emails promptly (never wait more than 24 hours for important emails).
In your email, try to mention something about your conversation the day before and let them know that you’d be interested in talking with them again in the future.
If you feel comfortable asking them right away to meet again for a coffee or lunch, then offer to buy it for them. That makes it a lot harder for them to say no.
Before you write your email, you should Google them and browse their website, read their story and learn about their career path and current position on LinkedIn.
6. Mentorship Only Works If You Take Action
If your potential mentor is an active content creator, you should comment on a blog post or video they put online so they know you’re serious about learning more from them and taking their advice to heart.
If they provide you with good advice, whether directly or through what you’ve read from them online, put it into practice immediately. This demonstrates you have a high level of commitment and that you’re someone who won’t waste their time.
By taking action, you can follow up and tell them how you’ve applied their insights or advice. Nobody will want to mentor someone long who doesn’t take action and follow through on their advice.
After doing your research and applying any advice that they have given you, you can follow up with them again to continue to build the relationship.
If you’re comfortable on the phone, it’s probably best to give them a call.
If that’s not your thing then an email will do.
When contacting a potential mentor make sure you have a specific reason for doing so and to continue the conversation you can ask them to meet for a coffee, lunch, or at an upcoming networking event.
7. A Good Mentor Is The Ultimate Game Changer
You never know if the relationships you make networking will turn into genuine mentorship, apprenticeship or work opportunities.
Establish the connection, do your research on how you can provide them with value, and then approach your potential mentor by asking them for something specific that you want to learn from them.
You’ll be surprised at how well taking this approach to seeking out a mentor or apprenticeship opportunity can give you the structure, accountability and support you need to achieve your biggest goals and realize your deepest aspirations.
Even the best athletes and entrepreneurs with great natural abilities work regularly with coaches to consistently improve their mental game.
There are few things more powerful in this world than a great mentorship-mentee relationship.
You may not find the perfect mentor right away but with persistence, you’ll build a lot of meaningful relationships and eventually you’ll find someone who can make a huge impact in your life.
We all know how an exceptional teacher in high school or college can inspire us and even transform our outlook on life. Some people are complete game changers.
Try Out Our New Mentorship Matching Program:
I’m testing out a new mentorship matching program that’s free to join.
You can join by joining our Facebook Group and clicking on the Mentorship Tab once you’re approved.
- You sign up under the Mentorship Tab.
- Complete your mentorship/mentee profile.
- Look for a match that meets your needs.
- Send them a message to get their approval.
- Then you will both get sent helpful conversation starters each week so you get to know each other better and hold each other accountable to your goals.
There is a post with more detailed instructions pinned to the top of the Facebook Group stream.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.