What is a mentor? He or she is a teacher, a coach, a supporter and honest sounding board off which to bounce your ideas…a guiding hand for stability in a turbulent world, and a source for sage advice and authentic counsel.

…and you’ve been looking for one. You’ve been searching far and wide for that person who would be willing to take you under their wing and help you to guide your brand to brilliant success.

You’re picturing a billionaire entrepreneur, a booming businessman or a female trailblazer in her industry.

And yet, you’re not sure how you would secure that person as your mentor. Everyone who’s successful enough to gain your attention is too busy. And what are you going to do? Call them up and ask “Will you be my mentor?”

Finding a mentor can be a challenge—particularly the way you’re going about it.

I have a different method for approaching this need.

Let’s see what we can accomplish with this new approach.

Open Your Mind, Get a Mentor

How are you picturing your mentor/protégé relationship? Are you thinking there will be tea in the afternoon, whilst discussing your marketing strategy? Are you imagining that you’ll be flown in to spend the day with him in his office? Or that she’ll come to you whenever you call?

Now is the time to adjust your view of what mentorship means for 2017 and beyond.

Here are some common conceptions about mentorship (some TRUE and some FALSE), with information about how you can navigate around them to get the guidance and support you need:

  • You need just one mentor, dedicated only to you. FALSE.  Not only is this unlikely to happen, I would venture to say that limiting yourself to just one mentor would be limiting your view, and therefore your potential for success. I would suggest choosing two or three people whose journeys and achievements you admire.
  • You have to meet with your mentor in person. FALSE.  Your mentor can make himself available to you via phone, email or Skype. He can answer your questions and offer guidance without ever meeting you in person.
  • Your mentor has to know who you are. FALSE.  Shocked by this one? Well, it is the one that catches brand-builders off-guard most often. If your mentor really is as knowledgeable and accomplished as you believe she is, there will be loads of her intellectual property available to you—books, videos, webinars, podcasts, blog posts, interviews, articles and more. You know that these things take tonnes of preparation and commitment; and therefore, you can bet your mentor’s best stuff is in there.
  • Your mentor has to be far more advanced than you. FALSE. As you look for mentors, I recommend that you search within a group that is professionally more advanced than you are, as well as within your own peer group. A high-end business person is not only uber-busy, he may have difficult remembering what it’s like to be in your shoes. Moreover, your peers have different talents and struggles than you—so what is difficult for you, or what you haven’t yet been able to accomplish, may have been a piece of cake for them…and they can offer valuable
  • You must get involved in your preferred mentor’s world. TRUE. If a person is going to actively mentor you, they must be impressed with your level of dedication, your drive and your willingness to learn. Talk is cheap here. Instead, attend events where she will be speaking. Sign up for her workshops. Leave testimonials and reviews at her online places. Comment on her social media posts, to let her know how her expertise has helped you to advance your brand. Be seen often, so that your face and name become familiar, and so that your brand becomes respected. Introduce yourself when the opportunity arises. The goal here is to get noticed, and to not waste an introduction when you’re so new that you’re unlikely to make an impression.
  • You should make the connection without an evident mentorship agenda. TRUE. As discussed in the previous point, you must make genuine connections with potential mentors; rather than approaching them cold and asking for their mentorship. In fact, no one should be a mentor candidate until you spend enough time around them (even if that’s virtually) to decide if they’re the right one for you. This is a screening process—always to help you decide, and sometimes for them to decide, too.
  • You need to prove yourself every day. TRUE. Work hard to build your brand and make it credible and visible. Build your personal brand and strive to establish yourself as an expert in your field and as a person of influence in your industry. If anyone is going to consider personally mentoring you, they’ll want to know that you’ll take what they teach you and put it to work. There’s no better indication that this will happen than if it’s already begun.

I hope these points have changed the way you view finding a mentor. Times have changed. People are less available in-person…and yet, they share everything, making their intellectual property more available to you than ever.

As you begin your mentor search, I would suggest joining the How to Build a Brand Facebook page and the Brand Builders Club. Both are filled with accomplished and motivated brand-builders who are eager to network and to offer advice. Whilst there, you’ll also have countless opportunities to gain invaluable knowledge from industry experts, including myself and others, in Brand Breakthroughs Sessions, 90-Minute Masterminds and more. I’ll see you in the group (FREE) and in the club (Just £17 for the first month).

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