Are you running on a full-throttle towards your life goals but still feels like your view of the future is bleak? Seems like you are groping for light in a thick mist? Within you, lies a longing for a guide, a desire for a shoulder to lean on and a craving for a heart that cares deeply about your success. Maybe, it’s time for you to consider searching for a mentor.
Are you a student, a fledgling entrepreneur, a budding writer, a young leader, an artist or even an athlete? You don’t have to bear all the burden of success all by yourself. If you are humble enough to ask for help you will be amazed at the number of successful people willing to genuinely help you.
Previously, I shared about how you can be the best version of yourself and made mention of mentoring as one of the ways to make yourself highly valuable in your field. In my narrative of describing mentoring as a worthy enclave of knowledge and wisdom, I talked about some classic examples of mentoring that occupy beautiful pages in the books of history.
From Aristotle’s powerful influence on the victorious reign of Alexander The Great to how Steve Jobs (former CEO of Apple Inc.) guided Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce) on the paths of excellence. To further expand on this, let’s consult Robert Allen:
“Study anyone who is great, and you will find that they apprenticed to a master or several masters. Therefore, if you want to achieve greatness, renown, and superlative success, you must apprentice to a master.”
Perhaps, you have made up your mind to find a mentor but there are some questions you need to answer before taking the plunge.
1. What are my life goals?
Knowing your life goals is a must if you want to be successful in life. The goals serve as guides and milestones on the path to fulfillment. Inasmuch as mentoring will help you move faster towards your goals, you need to be clear about your goals and have them very close to your heart.
The importance of having specific goals in life cannot be overemphasized because it gives you a sense of direction and boosts your self-confidence. For strikers to score goals on a soccer field, they must be well acquainted with the goalposts. The same is true for anyone concerned about success — be familiar with your life goals. Before putting a call through to your potential mentor, make sure you find a valid answer to this question. You can visit Personality Lab to seek help.
2. What do I want from a mentor?
It is very difficult for anyone to help you if you don’t know what you want. What exactly do you want from a mentor? You have to be super clear on this because it will guide the mentor in providing what you need. You have to think deeply about this before approaching anyone for mentoring or professional advice. For instance, I want you to be my mentor in photography. To be more specific, I want to learn how about the depth of focus, lighting, and effects. That’s spot on!
You just need to hit the nail right on the head because some of your potential mentors are very busy people. Go straight to the point and know what you want to gain from the relationship.
3. In which area of my life do I need a mentor?
Mentors are usually experts with a track record of success in their fields. Your life is a huge project and you may need more than one mentor. You have to know which area of your life requires a mentor. Do you need an academic mentor? Do you desire a mentor for your small scale business? Is your emotional and spiritual life in dire need of a mentor?
It is an arduous task to demand mentoring for all areas of your life from a single person. No one knows it all but we are all gifted in certain areas of life. Focus maximizes the power of mentoring. Seek an expert in an area you need help and ask for mentoring.
4. What is my definition of success?
The definition of success is subjective and defers based on personal tastes and perceptions. To someone, success may mean to make more money while to another it could mean garnering more positive influence. You must have a clear interpretation of what success means to you before reaching out to a potential mentor.
Do you both have the same illustration of success? This is highly imperative because mentoring becomes incredibly productive when there is a unity of interests between the mentee and the mentor. If the perception of success by both parties is the same, it enhances cohesion and forms a formidable team.
5. What is the profile of my ideal mentor?
In any endeavour, clarity inspires speed and a sense of direction. You must create the personality profile of your ideal mentor(s). What is their occupation? What is the level of success they have achieved? What are they passionate about? What keeps them awake at night? What are their life goals? Which kind of books do they read? Who are their role models? What inspires them? Having an imaginative portrait of your ideal mentor guides your search and shows you where you can find them.
6. Have I done my homework?
It’s appalling to misconstrue mentoring for spoon-feeding. According to the English novelist, Edward Forster, “Spoon feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” Mentoring works for people who take responsibility for their personal lives.
A mentor is a guide who offers information that is absent on the Internet. For instance, you want a mentor for your public speaking life. Have you done adequate research about public speaking? What are the personal steps you have taken in improving yourself? You have to meet your mentor midway by doing your homework. A mentor walks in when you have exhausted your channels of knowledge and learning. Doing your homework makes you attractive and presents you as hardworking, diligent and assiduous. Mentors love to work with people of this ilk.
7. How can I be of help?
Mentoring is a two-way street. It’s clear that you need the help of a mentor but what can you do to be of help. Let it be a symbiotic relationship; add significant value to the lives of your mentors. Think of one service you can render to them in return for their generosity of knowledge. This is not compulsory but it’s a necessary lubricant that will foster a fruitful relationship between both parties. Don’t be a liability to your mentor but be an asset.
8. Is this the right time?
While it is important to reach out to mentors you also need to be sure if you are ready for it. Is this the right time to seek a mentor? In making critical decisions, timing is of great essence. As rightly put by American Leadership Expert, John C. Maxwell, “The timing of your decision is just as important as the decision you make.”
Is this the time to seek for mentoring in managing your organization? The key factor that usually influences timing is the magnitude of your personal research and the amount of energy you have invested in the cause for which you require mentoring. Before calling for the help of others, have you done your homework?
Now that you have answered these questions. You may go ahead and seek the consent of your potential mentor. I have attached a sample letter of request that you can send to initiate the mentoring process.
This is a sample script demanding for President Barrack Obama’s hand in mentorship.
Hello Mr. Obama,
I am Samuel Osho. We are yet to meet. And I know you have a busy and tight schedule, so I will be brief. I lead an international not-for-profit organization based in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. The organization seeks to build powerful leaders and effective communicators from young minds. Over the years, your life has been a huge source of inspiration to me and millions across the world. Your riveting speeches are soothing springs of comfort and your exemplary leadership while you served as the President of the United States for eight years is wowing.
From your book, “Dreams From My Father,” I noticed that you faced some challenges when you were first starting out. Well, here I am in those early stages and trying so hard to figure things out. President Obama, I would really appreciate it if you would consider being my mentor. All that would mean is spending ten minutes on the phone with me once in a month, so I could ask you a few questions. I would really appreciate it. Would you be open to that?
Which of these eight questions do you regard as the most important? Which other questions do you think one must answer before choosing a mentor?