Finding a Mentor

Published on March 28, 2024

A few months ago, I was asked, “How do you find a mentor?”

Honestly, I’ve never labeled a relationship that way. But looking back, I can recognize that I’ve always had someone who plays the mentor role in my life.

Reflecting on these experiences, I’ve identified three things that have helped me build and utilize these relationships effectively.

Be Useful

One of the most important aspects of mentorship is reciprocity. Mentors appreciate it when you show genuine interest in their work and are willing to offer your help without being asked. This demonstrates your enthusiasm for learning and your commitment to the relationship. By assisting your mentors, you create a foundation for a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and support.

For me, this has meant mowing someone’s lawn, helping cut tile, laying down a hardwood floor, planning a trip, etc. These can be very practical, and they don’t have to be directly related to work.

The key is to show up and to be useful.

Articulate Your Goals and Priorities

Mentors can only provide valuable guidance if they understand your aspirations and priorities. Clearly articulating your goals and objectives helps mentors tailor their advice and support to align with your unique journey. When you share your dreams and aspirations, you invite your mentors to become invested in your success and provide insights that resonate with your vision.

This doesn’t have to be some grandiose vision of running your own business or building an empire. It can be as simple as wanting to lead successful meetings or buy a house. But make sure that it is clear and that they know your goals and priorities.

Ask More Questions

Successful people possess a wealth of experience and wisdom; the best way to tap into that is by asking thoughtful questions. Engage in curious conversations about their experiences, their decisions, and the thought processes that have shaped their success. This not only shows respect for their knowledge, it allows you to learn from their triumphs and challenges.

Asking questions also shows that you care. Don’t ask stupid questions. Ask good questions, multi-layered questions. Then shut up and listen.

Meet the Author

Ethan Thompson is a Divisional Marketing Manager for a global safety company. He has worked in the digital marketing field for 13 years and loves the challenges the ever-changing field brings. When he isn't exploring new digital marketing tactics at his desk, he's out exploring Western New York. During the warmer months, he can often be seen riding his bike around the Empire State and sampling the local beer selection.