The Daily Challenge: Find Your Mentors
Learning from the people you admire is the path to become your own inspiration.
Stand on the Shoulders of Giants: Find Your Mentors
Time to Read: 3 Mins
Whether you are starting a new project, joining a new team, or honing a new skill, finding people to learn from is essential for your career growth and happiness.
People who have mentors are more satisfied with their jobs; they say they are more motivated, perform more effectively and report higher compensation.
Your manager might already be assisting you with your training and career progression, but finding people you look up to outside of your company can speed you up in becoming your best professional self.
Take a few minutes to look for mentors outside of your company:
Step 1: Make a list of professionals in your field who inspire you. It might be a good idea to include people with a similar background or values: getting applicable advice is easier from someone who understands where you are coming from. Use LinkedIn, industry newsletters or publications, and consider who you have met at industry events.
Step 2. Find a point of connection. If you share an acquaintance with one of the potential mentors, ask that person to introduce you. If not, think about an event — a conference, workshop, or lecture — where your path might cross your mentor’s path. Another option is to simply reach out to the mentor directly, commenting on a project or aspect of their work you particularly like.
Step 3: Ask them to be your mentors. It is important to explicitly let your potential mentors know you would like to learn from them. You don’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) straight-up ask them, “Will you be my mentor?” especially if it’s the first time you have met. But you can invite them for lunch, coffee (something informal), or a quick phone call and say you would like to ask them about a specific project they’re working on or their career path in general.
Pro-tip: Adapt to their response. If a potential mentor sends you their availability, try to be flexible and adjust to their schedule. The response also might say the person lacks the bandwidth to give you formal mentorship, but, instead, you can ask for a piece of advice on a specific project you’re working. And if you receive a ‘no,’ don’t take it personally. In most cases, it’s not you, but simply that they have other priorities.
How to Find a Career Mentor (Idealist Careers)
9 Top Platforms for Finding a Mentor in 2016 (Inc.)
How Informational Interviews Make the Job Search Easier (Marlow)
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