All the greats had one. Dumbledore to Harry, Gandalf to Frodo, Mr. Miyagi to the Karate Kid, -let’s just say the list wouldn’t end for a while because mentors are everything.
At some point, we’ve all found ourselves in need of guidance, advice, and support from those who have skills, interests, and passions that align with ours.
This is the role of a mentee, but how can we find the right mentors?
There’s an adequate balance of what a mentee and mentor can teach each other, but today this relationship doesn’t have to be a concrete professional connection. Social roles can range anywhere from teacher to student, coach to athlete, or professional to trainee.
Here’s what you can look for:
# 1 Similar Thought Process
As a mentee, you may not know the signs to look for to power your goals. If you’re around the right person, understand how they execute their thoughts. For instance, visionary planning, analytical reasoning, and critical thinking could determine how you connect with your mentor. The more aligned you are the easier it is to be coached.
Ex #1 A track coach asks his runners to hit 90 second split times, for someone who thinks numerically this is great, but for others they may not make the connection.
Ex #2 A track coach asks his runners to pace themselves by imagining a plane taking off on a runway. Build up to the speed and then take off. For someone who thinks visually they may be drawn towards this type of mentor.
# 2 Mentor’s Actions
Your mentor’s desire to achieve their career and higher life goals should inspire you. If they continue to show they’re pushing past new challenges, trying innovative processes, and even failing, they’re doing exactly what they should be. Growing. You’re probably at a different life stage then your mentor, but the lessons you can apply from them allow you to broaden your own horizons whether that be in your education, industry, or life path.
# 3 Unannounced Consent to Help
One of the most powerful tools a mentor/mentee relationship revolves around is the ability to help each other out without having to ask. A mentee should feel comfortable directing hard but respectable questions and seeking guidance outside of just concentrated subject matter. A good mentor will not only feel compelled to help, but can provide visuals from their own life that applies to the situation.
# 4 Be Venerable and Take the Fall
There’s a difference between showing expertise and perfectionism. Your mentor isn’t expecting you to be at your best all the time, that’s the point. Be comfortable showing these flaws and improving where you can. Secluding yourself to high expectations is an impressive feat, but will make you feel worse if these are unreasonable to achieve. Instead take the risk, fall flat on your face, then listen, because your mentor’s probably been in your shoes and can teach you.
A long-lasting mentor/mentee relationship can be very rare, but can be life changing. Mentors make you realize your long-term goals but most importantly they’ll monitor your growth over time. If you choose to share the good, remember to also add in the challenging times. A great mentor knows they are coaching the “whole person”.
In the end, there’s no scripted manual of what a mentor needs to provide to a mentee or vice versa. The connection should feel natural. However young or inexperienced you may be, as long as you are eager enough to learn you’ll just know who that mentor is.
You just know. Share your thoughts with us @starternoise.
An early bird for any mountain escape and a night owl to prioritize her adventurous nature, Pria is pursuing a Major in Management and Entrepreneurship and a minor in Spanish at CU Boulder. When she’s not running, climbing, or skiing, Pria comes to the start-up scene visualizing perhaps the biggest industries yet to be seen. Flying cars, robots, and those fancy Japanese toilets…. nah… More like herbal bars, 3d printed prosthetics, and an all-solar powered education.