Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. (What you’re missing out on by not having mentors)
I felt this was an important topic to touch on, not simply because having a mentor brings so much value into one’s personal and professional life but more because I feel so many of us in our 20’s lack such a wonderfully beneficial relationship. Mentors are awesome people. Over time they become your own personal advisor and you can literally find them everywhere! They’re in your University, at your job, on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and everywhere in between, at Networking events and even more informal places like the park, the library, Target, a baseball game, etc. They’re just about any place you’d find a productive human being.
What exactly is a mentor?
A mentor is someone that you don’t necessarily need however, when you have a valuable mentor in your corner, it can make a world of difference for you and your future. There comes a time when we have to realize that we want to grow and become a better version of ourselves. No matter what you are, a Makeup artist, an athlete, music producer, dancer, real estate agent, entrepreneur, blogger, hell even a stripper. There’s nothing you’ll appreciate more than having a trusted advisor with the experience that you’ve yet to attain.
Think ahead for a moment. In 5 years, where do you want to be career wise? Financially? Mentally and emotionally?
Now ask yourself, how do I get there?
Hopefully you at least have a general idea of how to get there, unfortunately most people have no clue. Mentors are great people who have been in your shoes long before you even knew what it was that you wanted to pursue. They’ve gotten their battle scars, have seen the good and the bad on their journey to self discovery. Often times they completely enjoy offering their insight; such as what things to avoid, how to do certain tasks, what people you need to reach out to and they also know other great people just like themselves.
I’ve met one of my now amazing mentors through another mentor of mine who owns his own Digital Marketing agency. It’s a connection that would have otherwise never been made, had I not built that relationship with my initial mentor and discussing with him how interested I was in real estate. The resources, advice and assistance a good mentor can provide is absolutely priceless and I’m saying this from experience.
I’ve always been a sponge when it comes to knowledge and other people’s experiences. If you succeeded in some area, I want to know exactly what you did and didn’t do to get there. If you failed at something, I want to know as well how I can avoid making the same mistakes. That’s another benefit of having someone to call on in times of question.
I have many mentors, both formal and informal. Some I meet with on a weekly basis, others I chat with via email or social media. Some I’ve paid for and others have voluntarily taken me under their wing after seeing how dedicated I was in a certain field. They saw my potential and felt as if pouring their knowledge into me would be beneficial for me. I have mentors in the area of Real Estate and Golf. I also have coaches and teachers that I’ve paid good money to listen to or pick their brains. Believe me the information I’ve gotten is amazing.
I guarantee you’ll have the greatest most rewarding conversations with mentors. These aren’t normal conversations that you have with my friends or even family, they’re discussions about realizing your potential, how much you can achieve or how you can become a millionaire in the next 5 years by avoiding the mistakes that she made.
Unfortunately, most of us believe we have to be really cool with the rich preppy kid in school or your parents have to be close friends with Barack Obama for you to be introduced to a great person you’d consider a mentor. That’s furthest from the truth. Just because someone’s not Oprah Winfrey or doesn’t have world renowned credibility in their field, doesn’t mean they’re not an an expert that has years of experience in their career or life in general.
And believe it or not, some of the greatest people I consider mentors are no more than 1-5 years older than me! However, I consider them mentors because they have taught and guided me in an area that I lacked in. So don’t fall for the myth that just because someone isn’t a generation older than you, it means that you should overlook their value and credibility. If you can gain knowledge from their experiences or their teaching, then I suggest you open your ears, learn more about them and what they did to get where they area. You’ll run into peers your age and sometimes even younger that can teach you a few things. This has never deterred me from reaching out to them to build a genuine connection.
My point is, if you want to be the boss, you have to associate yourself with them…no matter the age.
Tips on how you can find your own mentor
Now when it comes to finding a mentor, here’s a few tips I’d recommend.
- Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. It’s taken me awhile to get better at this but with practice, you’ll become more comfortable with starting conversations with strangers. Make conversation with people at random, while out! You’ll never know who you’ll meet.
- Do your research on that person. Visit their website, follow their social media handles, go to their events, ask people about them. Show how much time and effort you’ve put into getting to know them and how much dedication you have for your own work. Once the realize this, they’ll be more eager to talk or spend a afternoon over coffee.
- Bring value to the table. You have to show that you take your craft seriously. Remember, a lot of times these people are busy with careers, families an even other mentees. They have meetings, schedules and engagements, why should they add you (another commitment) to their agenda? Can you volunteer your time to help them with something perhaps?
I’ve met some amazing people that have truly changed my perspective on important things in life. There’s really no telling what state of mind I’d be in without their expertise and encouragement. Do yourself a solid and begin making meaningful connections with people, they’re literally everywhere. How does the old saying go? Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know.