Often times going to work means just that: going in, getting the job done, and then leaving to do it all again the next day. But what if you have the desire to grow? What if you want to get to the next step? Become a leader? Or maybe, make the best French Toast ever? Regardless of what you are trying to accomplish, you probably need a mentor. While that sounds like it might be an easy feat, there is certainly more to it.
Let’s continue using French Toast as an example. You’re not usually going to ask a sushi master to teach you their French Toast skills (unless they are a master of both). You’re going to ask a French Toast expert. Consider your work world the same. If you need to improve your leadership skills you should be asking a leader; one whose style and skills are admirable and something you yourself would like to emulate. Essentially, you aren’t just going to pick Joe Schmo, you are going to pinpoint a person who has the best knowledge to help you get ahead in the area you want.
Things to Consider
You’ve picked your mentor. Great! Now you need them to pick you. This person probably didn’t get to where they are doing nothing, and it wouldn’t be too far off to assume that they are busy with their own work/life agenda. A mentor relationship takes time to cultivate and will take time out of both your schedule and your mentor’s. Do they have the time? Do you? Are they willing to spend their time on you? Will their personality style work with yours? These are serious questions that must be considered.
As amazing as it would be to have your mentor ask you to be their mentee, they may not know you exist. It’s your responsibility to make the first contact, and as with any first impression, it would behoove you to make it a good one. As they may have a busy schedule, asking them in a Starbucks line might not be the best place to make your approach. Opting to contact them through email may be your best bet. However, if for some reason they have no email or you can’t locate one, leave a brief phone message . If you don’t hear from them in a week, always follow up.
You’ve received a response and they would like to meet with you! This is exciting, but you’re not quite under their wing yet. If they tell you they only have a thirty-minute window to meet, it’s imperative that you honor that time. You need to show initiative, preparation, and time management, and if you aren’t willing to respect their time and get to the point, it’s doubtful they will give you their time again. This is your chance to shine and make them want to be that person that helps you get to the next level.
Regardless of how you feel the meeting went, follow up with a note thanking them for their time. They took time out of their day for you, and you should show your appreciation. This may even jog their memory reminding them to get back to you with an answer. Sometimes the smallest gestures can have the biggest impacts.
Once you’ve tried going through all of these steps, you should be on your way to a fruitful mentorship for anything from French Toast to CEO of a company.
Photo by Kobu Agency on Unsplash.