Finding a mentor can be challenging, especially if you live in a country like Serbia and the people you admire are located in San Francisco or Beijing. Well, complaining ain’t my thing so let’s talk about how I solved this issue when I was starting 8 years ago.
First, we need to establish some rules
(We don’t really need to, but sounds badass if we do)
Rule No1 Mentors can be more successful than you, but they don’t need to be.
You can learn something valuable from anyone, regardless of whether it is a supermarket stuff or someone with a PhD in maths.
Do not always look up, look to the side!
Rule No2 Poli mentorship rocks! Why do I love poli-mentorship? Because there is no one person that will have all the answers to all my questions. So, why not ask 3 of them or more? 🙂
Rule No3 Don’t ask a question! Ask THE question!
Rule No4 Actions, not words! Don’t be one of those lame people who just flatter someone in order to grab their attention. Do something worth their while. First, read everything they have written, watch every interview, the possibility of them already talking about what you’re about to ask them are very high. You’d be surprised how many unnecessary questions I get on da daily basis just because people can’t be bothered to read my posts. Don’t be one of those people, you won’t be taken seriously.
Now that we’ve established some rules, let’s get down to business!
FINDING A MENTOR 101
Identify what kind mentor do you need
Professional- If you need a professional mentor you need to be on top of your game when asking for something. As I’ve said previously explore the subject, explore their work and ask THE right questions.
Personal (More like a life coach)- If you need a personal help, be aware that these are the people that charge for helping you out and they cannot donate your time to you just because you think your problem is important and urgent. Give me a break! Who doesn’t? Better come up with something very meaningful to ask or don’t bother wasting your and their time.
Identify what you can offer
No one will give you their precious, personal time just because you think you deserve it. So, come up with some special skill only you have or offer your time or assistance with a special task you’ve noticed or they’ve explicitly said they need help with. This will make you stand out in their eyes and they won’t think you’re just another boring person trying to waste their time.
Rude and harsh
Soft and gentle (If you’re a girl this probably reminds you of Mac highlighter) If you’re a guy, read on.
TYPES OF MENTORS
Dead or Alive
Ex 1: Nikola Tesla, Michael Pupin
Ex 2: Elon Musk
You absolutely don’t have to have a mentor who is alive at this moment in time. Just because someone is not physically here or available doesn’t mean they can’t help you.
You may be wondering how do I learn from someone who is no longer alive? Well, through books, words, patents, movies etc. There are so many ways in which you can learn, it doesn’t have to be in person.
Of course, when possible it is highly beneficial to learn from someone by observing them and modeling their success. You will be able to see their body language, a way in which they interact with others and the way in which they handle themselves and this is the fastest way to learn.
Imaginary (Read 2.0)
As Picasso used to say “Everything you can imagine is real.”
We all had imaginary friends when we were young. Yes, you too :p
So, why not have imaginary mentors now?
These are people who mentor you from far. From podcasts, YouTube, Coursera, TED talks, UDEMY courses etc. Basically, they are those who know nothing about you (still) but they’ve influenced your life and helped you cope with some of your most difficult situations.