Today I want to talk about how I got to know one of most influential people in my life right now, and how you can go about doing the same. Mentorship is an influential aspect in the development of a person and their business. Having someone that is where you want to be to guide you through the process can be very helpful. A plethora of people miss out on the positivities of having someone guide them through the journey called life. People often feel lost on how to navigate their personal and business lives.
Currently in my life I have one mentor. Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter. She is a brilliant person and has risen to the top of her respective industry, thus creating success on her own terms. My route of perusing her as my mentor was slightly different than other mentors I have had in the past. I approached her via social media and turned my virtual mentor into a real life one.
Yup, I totally used social media to connect with someone I admired and turned it into a beautiful relationship. Simple tweets with Oprah. Start small and connecting on social media is essential.
First let’s discuss the common term my peers use, “mentor in my head” Yes we all have them. They are individuals that we truly admire and that inspire us to have even a fraction of their success. If you were the budding media mogul, having coffee with Oprah or Ryan Seacrest would be an accurate example of this. You select these individuals because of the qualities they have and what they have accomplished. You have studied interviews and watched documentaries just to learn more about their lives, in addition to following them on social media.
We want you to move past the mentor in your head or mentor via social media realm. Go past the surface of interviews and documentaries and invite these individuals to be instrumental in your life.
Realistic About Mentorship
First and foremost, be realistic about what you want from this mentorship and what the mentor can offer. Be mindful of the fact that not everyone is a perfect match to be your mentor; not everyone wants to be a mentor. People ask me all the time, but it’s just not something I personally feel comfortable doing. I do however suggest books, interviews and documentaries that have impacted me to help guide them. A mentor is not going to do the work for you. They are not suppose to. They are not going to give you their contact list just because you asked. This is not just a take and take some more relationship. Both parties need to win in order for it to work.
List Your Dream Mentors
Now that you understand that this must be a mutually beneficial relationship, determine who your dream mentors are. I personally suggest finding mentors outside of your industry to help you become a well-rounded business owner. It is great to have a mentor in your niche industry, but I feel that there is more to learn from someone in a different circle. List all of the qualities, characteristics, values you want the person to hold. Recommending creating a list of no more than 10 people that are a mixture of male and females.
Engage, Not Just Suck Up
We’ll use our relationship with Lisa to exemplify the process. I first followed her on twitter and instagram, and continued to do so for some time. I would always comment on her posts in engaging ways. They were far from the simple “oh that looks great” or “your curls are poppin” genre of comments. Use social media as a portal to pose questions to them. Engage them on all levels. Don’t just ask “how can I get an internship” or “how they can become your mentor”. Social media gives you a chance to connect better than ever before. There is a book that both Lisa and I read that is being turned into a movie and when I hear updates about it I tweet her. It’s engagement. Learn what your mentor loves and chat with them about it.
Note their personal social media pages are just that personal. If you have questions regarding company products or things of that nature follow those pages and pose the questions that you’ve decided are worth posing. Trust that when you run a company that brings in over $20 million dollars a year in revenue, you can’t just stop and do customer service. They have a customer service department.
Build A Solid Relationship
After constantly engaging your future mentor and them communicate back with you, now it’s time to solidify your relationship. Seek out time to get to know them on a personal level on THEIR TIME. If you know your mentor is a vegan find the best vegan restaurant in your city and invite them to lunch. Get in contact with their assistant and see when their schedule is free. You must accommodate their schedule, not vice verse. I know there have been times my mentor had to do other things. I am completely understanding of her needs. It is really imperative that you understand that this person doesn’t have to share their vast knowledge or their time. When I know industry insiders are going to be in town I always ask “hey you want to meet me for drinks”. Most of the time if people are traveling and have free time they say yes. It goes back to constantly engaging them. The key is not being just some creepy follower that just sees they are in town.
Finding a mentor is very strategic, and something you should take very seriously. The advice Lisa has given me has caused a plethora of memorable moments and has given me insight to parts of business that I had no first had knowledge of previously. She has gotten her hands dirty so to speak and knows what she is talking about.
Are you currently looking for a mentor? How are you going about finding one?