Did you know Steve Jobs mentored Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett mentored Bill Gates?
Even Zuckerberg or Gates found great mentors, so how do you attract great mentors? To attract the best mentor, you need to be hungry for personal growth and stay teachable before knowing how to search and approach suitable mentors for you. Be prepared to fail and improve along the way.
A mentor has a profound impact on an individual’s life and serves as either a role model or an instructor. The value of having a mentor is the ability to learn from their experiences without having to go through failure yourself, helping you see your reality in a new way by having a shortcut for your learning curve and stepping on the accelerator for your results.
Similar to Jobs-Zuckerberg The most important thing a mentor can do is to galvanize and infuse us with their spirit so that our self-belief is enhanced and focused on what similar or greater ends we can attain. Facebook would not be where it is today without Job’s mentorship to change the world.
Without further ado, here are 4 steps to attract your best mentor for business success.
Step 1: Be Hungry For Personal Growth
I’m going to let you in on a little secret I realized about mentors. Mentors are individuals who are themselves in love with personal growth. Hence, they are strongly attracted to it, especially when they see someone with similar or higher potential than them. Why would they do so? This is because it gives them the satisfaction to see their students grow, manifesting who they are today in another person.
So the fact is: Nobody is going to mentor you unless they see something worthwhile in you to mentor, and that starts with your pursuit for personal growth.
Another reason why you need to be hungry for personal growth when attracting a mentor is due to the give-and-take principle. I am sure you are familiar with this basic concept: the practice of making mutual concessions. You need to have something to give to get! Just something for you to ponder on, what is the value you can currently add to a mentor? (Keep in mind: Different mentors have different needs. What you can provide may not align with what a mentor requires.)
Therefore, it is extremely crucial to first have a desire for personal growth. You cannot be mentored if you are unwilling to mentor yourself in the first place!
Step 2: Have a Teachable Spirit
As the famous adage goes, ‘A wise man never knows all. Only a fool knows everything.’ Walking around with a chip on your shoulder will bring you nowhere as it only gives off the impression of hostility, demanding, and frustration to others. If you are not teachable, it does not matter even if you have the best mentor in the world. The higher you value your self-worth, the more your learning curve plateaus. Comparatively, having a teachable spirit helps you scale past mountains you never knew you could have conquered.
Having a teachable spirit means to have an inquisitive spirit for people’s experiences and views. Be drawn to genuine wisdom. To draw out the most from people, you need to start by having the right position. This means staying near your mentor, following up with questions on your own. Only then, will you be able to draw out the most insights and knowledge from them?
Learn to be humble during the process of learning. A lot of us believe we have a satisfactory level of humility when it comes to learning (believe me, I feel the same way too). However, it is one thing to say that you are willing to make mistakes through the process than to actually admit when you have made one. Think about the time when someone called you out for a mistake you had made or said. Did you immediately go into a fully defensive stance and argue back with the person to prove you were right? Or, did you take the time to process if what they said was factual about yourself?
In the end, it is okay to make mistakes. In our modern society, everyone showcases this perfect image of themselves but they get embarrassed to share the tough seasons they had to go through online. You are only human after all. If no one ever told you this before, I’ll be the first you hear from. It is okay to make mistakes.
Step 3: Search, Choose, and Approach (SCA)
I call this the SCA approach: Search, Choose & Approach. Let’s dive into each one respectively.
What do you want to learn from your mentor? This is a question you have to know the answer to before choosing which mentor you would like to engage with. Find a mentor that has the same area of expertise as your goals and has the network to pull you into places you would like to be in the future. Understand that your search for mentors is not just limited to your workplace alone, even friends, family, or even authors can be mentors to you.
Mark Twain, the father of American literature, said, ‘If your only tool is a hammer, all your problems will be nails.’ I love this quote by Twain because it illuminated to me that if I ask someone the crux of a particular problem, they will usually solve it by linking it to their area of expertise. This, in psychology, is called Deformation Professionelle. It becomes dangerously harmful when people apply their specialized processes in areas where they do not belong.
This is important when choosing a mentor because the selection process of whom you want to learn from has to add value towards the business goal you are trying to achieve. If you take your problem to an expert (your mentor), you cannot expect the overall best solution, but expect an approach that can be solved with your mentor’s toolkit. This is the reason why picking out who you would like to mentor you must align with what you are trying to achieve, or else the advice would not be as effective, or worse, detriment you.
The approach comes from doing your homework first. One of the best methods of approach any leader could get is that you took action on a specific piece of their advice, or that they had inspired you in a specific way. Another method is to share with them an insightful comment you have about their ideas. This is because mentors themselves love to receive feedback, as I had said before, they value personal growth. Thus, by leveraging the feedback loop and expanding their horizons to what they may not have realized, they will see how mentoring you can add value to themselves.
There are numerous other ways to use the SCA approach specifically but this itself is the essence of how the SCA model works.
Step 4: The Value Of Failing
John C. Maxwell - ‘Fail fast, fail often but always fail forward.’
The best type of advice mentors can give you is not hard skills or business ideas, but their values and beliefs. This is due to how values and beliefs can bring you further to obtain business success in the future as compared to sharing hard skills or business ideas where’s result you obtain is singular.
How do you pick out your mentor’s convictions? LISTEN. ‘A good listener must be endowed with a capacity for empathy with another person and strong enough to feel the experience of the other person as if it were his own’ -- Erich Fromm in The Art of Listening. Listening entails knowing when to not input how you feel but to attentively concentrate on what your mentor is trying to instill into you. How are you going to empathize with someone when you are trying to speak at the same time?
Fail fast, fail forward. This is probably one of the greatest values I have learned and applied throughout my life. It revealed to me how there is always room for feedback. It is common for us to fall in love with our ideas and we label those who criticize our ideas as ‘haters’. It’s ironic, isn’t it? We innately know the importance of learning but when others flag our mistakes out, we dismiss them.
Stop deferring judgment and welcome critics to know where you lack in. That’s the value of having a mentor. You do not need to search for feedback from others because a mentor becomes a source for you to rely on. It becomes a safe space you are allowed to fail in, knowing that your mentor will always be there to push you right back up and set your feet in the right direction again to move forward ahead.
Do not be afraid to fail. In fact, I encourage you to fail. As when you do fail, you are moving forward.
A mentor can support and encourage you to reach for higher goals, to take the next step, and to push yourself to succeed in business. They can provide you with the help you require because you may lack the knowledge or experience to do so.
Your relationship with them becomes so personal that you may unwaveringly pick up things that your mentor does until you become them. The revelation that you need to have is to realize the goal of a mentor-mentee relationship is not to become a replica of your mentor but an evolved version of them. As a mentee, it is your role to acquire as many traits as you want to have from your mentors, and then combine them with your own unique set of skills. Henceforth, will you then be ready to change the world?
Inc. -- ‘3 ways to attract the mentor you truly want’ https://www.inc.com/nicolas-cole/3-ways-to-attract-the-mentor-you-truly-want.html
Inc. -- ‘Want to Learn From Someone Who Has Achieved Success? Here Are 5 Things You Can Do to Attract a Mentor.’ https://www.inc.com/bill-green/5-things-every-young-person-should-do-to-attract-a-mentor.html
Startup Institute -- ‘6 Hacks To Attract Life-Changing Mentors’ https://www.startupinstitute.com/blog/2015-3-2-hacks-to-find-a-mentor
Project Life Mastery -- ‘What is mentorship and how to ask for mentorship?’ https://projectlifemastery.com/attracting-a-mentor/
Entrepreneur Asia Pacific -- ‘Approaching and Attracting a potential mentor’ https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/317399
Observer -- ‘Some advice for finding and attracting mentors’ https://observer.com/2016/05/some-advice-for-finding-and-attracting-mentors/
Vogel/Glaser & Associates, LLC -- ‘Attracting Great Mentors: Seven Strategies to Cultivate’ https://vogelglaser.com/articles/attracting-great-mentors-seven-strategies-cultivate/
PUSHfar -- ‘15 famous mentoring relationships’ https://www.pushfar.com/article/15-famous-mentoring-relationships/
Inc -- ‘Don't Be a Taker! Always Add Value Before Asking a Mentor for Help’ https://www.inc.com/john-white/dont-be-a-taker-always-add-value-before-asking-a-mentor-for-help.html
StreetDirectory -- ‘Why having a mentor is so important’ https://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/67092/self_improvement_and_motivation/why_having_a_mentor_is_so_important.html