Starting something new is exciting and adventurous, but it can also be quite overwhelming and somewhat intimidating.
Whether you’re starting a new job or you’re embarking on your entrepreneurial journey – actually at every stage of your career and life – whenever you’re in need of honest advice, it’s comforting to know you have someone to turn who you can trust. Someone you can bounce off ideas with. A person that’s walked in your shoes and who is excited about helping you grow.
In the humble 3.5 years of my career, my mentors and mentor-like figures have made a huge difference for me. For example, when I had a change of mind of the direction I wanted my career to go in, my mentor was the one I told first. She was there to give me the advice I needed, but also checked in with me to see how I was doing. During the same time, a non-official mentor stepped up as my sponsor and helped me get my dream job.
Long story short: I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t had people to guide me when it mattered.
The 8 Key Benefits of Having a Mentor
Having a mentor to support you and offer advice will help you tremendously, no matter where you are in life. More than just a guide, a mentor can be many things.
Is a Soundboard
No matter how determined you are, it’s always good to test certain decisions, thoughts or ideas with someone else. Speaking to them might change your view on things it will help to confidently make difficult decisions. A good mentor teaches you how to think, not what to think.
Will be Honest with You
Because of the kind of relationship you have, your mentor will be completely honest with you. Whether this is about business decisions, behaviors, or work-life balance, a mentor will tell you what’s the deal. This won’t always be easy, but you won’t grow if you’re not doing the right things, and a mentor is the perfect person to tell you.
Has a Network You Can Tap Into
Your mentor doesn’t know everything that you need, but they do bring a network with a wealth of other knowledgeable people that you can top into. Your mentor will connect you to the right people to help you get further. My mentor has introduced me to numerous people which turned into valuable contacts and opportunities.
Has Valuable Experience and Knowledge
The challenges and dilemmas you face will most likely sound very familiar to your mentor. Your advantage: he or she has already been through it and will be able to share their knowledge and experience with you. That way, you don’t have to make the same mistakes as they did.
Is Someone You Can Trust
When you’re new to entrepreneurship or a company, it can be quite difficult to determine who you can trust. When you have a mentor, you can be assured that your ideas, questions, and thoughts are safe with them. You can talk about sensitive topics or share ideas without fearing they’ll either steal it or use it against you. My mentor was great when I wanted to change careers. It was really comforting to be able to tell her what I was planning to do without being afraid that what I was saying would backfire or create gossip.
Will be Your Cheerleader
There will be moments where you just don’t know what to do anymore, and you’re close to giving up. This is where your mentor will be the one to pick you up and encourage you to keep going! We all need a good pep talk every now and then.
Doesn’t Cost a Thing
Not many things come for free in life, but when they do, cherish it. The relationship will be invaluable, and will definitely help you and your career or business grow.
Your Mentor Will Also Benefit from You
Mentoring is a two-way street. Your mentor is forced to reflect on past moments and decisions, which is very helpful if you normally don’t take time for this. Also, you might be using this great service/technique/app that saves them a ton of time & money. So, when you’re in a mentoring relationship, you’re not just taking but also giving back. Win-win!
How Do You Find the Right Mentor for You?
After all this talk about the awesome benefits of a mentor, how do you find the right one for you? It’s easier than you may think!
Take a Look in the Mirror
Before you start looking, make sure you know yourself very well. What type of personality do you have, and what type of personality would complement that so you can learn from the other person and grow? What is it that you need? My mentor is way more extroverted than I am, which pushes me outside of my comfort zone and brings me lots of new insights. Look for someone who brings out the best in you, and also provides you with skills you don’t yet have.
Be Vocal About it
Sometimes mentor relationships develop naturally over time, but if that’s not happening, you’ll need to find one yourself. Tell your friends, family, colleagues, and everyone else you’re looking for a mentor. Don’t forget to give them the key details of the purpose and the results you’d like to achieve.
Think About Where You May Find Your Mentor
Think about it broadly. A mentor can be right there in front of you: in your circle of friends and family, colleagues, or the online communities that you’re part of. You can also think about industry organizations or professional networks. It usually helps if you already know the person so you don’t start from scratch. My mentor was assigned to me through the mentoring program my company has. We didn’t know each other yet, so our first sessions were more focused on getting to know each other.
Facebook groups can be great places to find mentors. Join a group, or a couple, related to your industry, and ask around for anyone who may be able to mentor you, even virtually. This can be a great way to connect with like-minded people, and extend your reach beyond your own Facebook friend list.
Be Honest with Yourself
There needs to be a connection, but it doesn’t have to be instant chemistry. You should feel at ease with your mentor. After all, you’ll be talking about the things you’re struggling with and feel insecure about! So if you’re not feeling it, don’t be shy to ‘break up’.
Be honest about what you are looking for, what your availability is, and what you expect from a mentor. Find someone that you feel comfortable with, and who has the expertise to aid you on your journey. There’s no rush to this process, to keep looking until you find the right fit for you.
Having a mentor will always put you one step ahead of those who don’t have one and you will always benefit from the advice you’re given.
Are you looking for a mentor? Leave your questions or concerns in the comments below! Feel free to connect with TrueToast writers via social media for possible mentorship opportunities.