Mentoring matters in so many different ways. It can help you navigate your daily life and achieve your goals, help you understand what it takes to succeed in a specific industry, and help to connect you with resources and opportunities that would have otherwise remained hidden from you. As useful as mentoring can be, however, it’s often overlooked by those who need it most. Here are 10 reasons why everyone needs mentors in their lives, along with suggestions on how to find them and make the most of their valuable experience and wisdom.
1) Share your journey
One of your mentors will give you a list of two or three things they think you need to know that aren’t in your normal day-to-day routine. Think out loud with someone who’s going through, or has gone through, what you’re experiencing now.
2) Tap into your network
If you’re new in town, find out if there are any professional or entrepreneur meetups in your area. When I moved to NYC, I was lucky enough to find one such group (NYC Women Entrepreneurs), and it helped me make a ton of connections with like-minded professionals. Even when there aren’t formal groups in your area, you should use whatever social media channels you have at your disposal—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn—to reach out to people and invite them for coffee.
3) Ask questions
Ask questions – lots of them! Your mentors are not there just for dispensing advice, they’re also great resources for new information and fresh insights. They may know about hot trends in your industry that you don’t, or even better, they might be experts in a new area you’ve been thinking about getting into but aren’t sure how to go about it. If you ask your mentors these questions you can ensure you stay on top of things.
4) Have a mentor in your life
A mentor is someone who believes in you and will help you accomplish your goals. You can find a mentor at work, through a friend or family member, or online. They will not only advise you on things like work challenges and career advancement but they’ll also give you honest feedback on your progress. Mentors are important because they challenge us, inspire us, and encourage us by supporting our personal growth and development.
5) Invite guests to your blog or podcast
It’s not enough just to have a podcast—you need people to listen. The easiest way to do that is by inviting guests onto your show. Think about it as a sort of networking-lite, where you get exposure and share valuable content with someone in your industry at no cost for them. It takes a bit more time and effort than promoting your own show, but it can pay off big-time if you consistently put out good content and keep building up those relationships.
6) Start a mastermind group
A mastermind group is a group of like-minded individuals who meet regularly in order to help one another succeed. Being part of a mastermind group can help you grow as an entrepreneur because it puts you around people who have been successful and will be able to share their knowledge and expertise with you. Mastermind groups are also motivating, inspiring, and encouraging. If you’re interested in starting your own mastermind group, here are a few steps that you can take today towards making it happen
7) Seek out online communities
Online communities are a great way to make new friends, get advice and discuss topics that interest you. If there isn’t already an online community for your industry or field, you can start one yourself with a discussion board like Reddit or even your own website. Share your experiences with other entrepreneurs, bounce ideas off each other and ask questions when you need help. The benefits of joining an online community are endless—and many entrepreneurs say they have gained some form of mentorship through these groups.
8) Create an accountability group
Accountability partners can help you stay focused on your goals. If you’re part of a group, agree on how often you’ll check in and what report cards will look like (how will you measure your progress? Will it be about weight loss, money earned, hours worked?). Also decide how to support each other through tough times.
9) Attend local events
Attending local events can be a great way to meet other professionals, share information, and learn more about your industry. When you meet new people and attend local events, it’s easier to make friends in your community who are also interested in business and startups. A strong network of business contacts is an important asset when starting or growing a business—and if you can find that support locally through your own community, all the better!
10) Don’t be afraid to ask!
The worst thing that can happen is someone saying no. If you don’t ask, you won’t know what your options are. Mentors are people who have been where you are now, or who are doing something that interests you and could help guide your career path. Don’t be afraid to approach them for support—they may say yes! Then again, they might refer you elsewhere for help.