How to Find A Mentor Even Without A Professional Network
I can't be "successful" until I find a world-class mentor. She (or he) will be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and she'll catapult me to the stratosphere with her influential contacts and sage advice.
Then, I can't fail. I just need a mentor.
For years, this is what I thought.
I met a few people in undergrad who inspired me but I didn't call
them my mentors. I thought it had to be "official" to count.
Not so. People are your mentors if you believe that they are. If
you choose to learn from them and seek their guidance once in a
while. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that.
You make people interested in your career by telling them how
you're doing. You make people feel appreciated (which they are, of
course) by telling them how they helped you get clarity.
There's no manipulation in this. No awkward, "will you be my
mentor?" conversation. You simply choose to view the people around
you as potential mentors. You pick the ones who's story resonates
with you and stay in touch.
If you approach all of your relationships with respect and optimism
then mentors are everywhere, waiting to be unlocked.
Mentors are people who they speak with compassion, conviction and
boldness about your future and their own.
4 Ways to Find A Mentor
1. Professors, guides, teachers. These could be your teacher or
anyone who is paid to teach. These people are the most inclined to
want to see you succeed.
One lady who was pivotal in my undergraduate career (she helped me
get multiple paid internships travelling and doing exactly what I
loved) was never actually my professor. She taught several upper
year courses I was interested but went on sabbatical when I got to
that level. Nonetheless, I reached out. She let me sit in on her
fourth-year classes when I was in third year and there, I heard
countless guest speakers who inspired me.
2. Follow up with cool people that you meet. Another mentor of
mine was someone who I reached out to as a student and then
consistently followed up with over the next two years. It was
natural because we had similar interests and I was curious about
she would do next in her career (See Tip #3). That moral support
and encouragement to continue pursuing my unconventional career
path was priceless.
3. Look for mentor of all ages, even just 2 years older than
you. Mentors don't have to be people at the top of their field
yet. I gravitate towards people who are only a few years older than
me because I can still learn what exact steps they took to get
where they are now and decide whether I want to follow them or make
4. Don't discount the power of virtual mentors. There are several
high-profile women with online business who I view as my mentors.
I probably know as much about them as I do my close friends because
I've thoroughly Google searched their name, watched every Youtube
videos, and read every blog post and media interview to learned
everything I can about their careers.
You can get shiploads of practical advice from virtual mentors,
sometimes even more than your in-person relationships. The fact
that they're out there doing what I want and thriving means it's
possible. It is possible.
Trusted mentors are like lunch boxes for your dreams. They hold
them until you're ready to eat. And they tell you it's lunchtime
when you think its still too early.
You deserve to find mentors who are worthy of your dreams. It's up
to you to find the gems. Reach out to people who are doing what
you love. If nothing else, stay in touch with me. :) I'm here to
make sure you soar.
To Mentors & Moonshooting,
P.S. If you know someone who could benefit from this mentorship
program, please pass it along to them and share it on social media.