Tips for Being Mentored For Success
Don't hesitate to ask others to teach you what you want to know-in any area of life. By replicating their methods and attitudes, you'll get similar results. Finding and working with a mentor should be fun, easy, and very productive-you need not fly through life by the seat of your pants.
Select mentors who have successful experience in areas that you don't. You want to capitalize on their strengths and minimize your weaknesses and shortcomings. They must have achieved a high level of success in the same field, endeavor, or area that you are seeking to succeed in. You'll want someone who can challenge you and hold you accountable. You may have several mentors at one time. In fact, I recommend it. If you really think about it, you probably already have several mentors.
Find mentors who are willing, able, enthusiastic, compatible, and interested in mentoring you. You want someone you can talk with easily and comfortably. Some mentoring prospects will reject your requests, so you should be willing to reject those who just don't fit your bill. Mentoring is a two-way street.
Take time to find your mentors.
While you may identify ideal mentors quickly, you may have to invest a great deal of time in sincere introspection-and dedicated searching-to find just the right people. It will help if you create a profile of your ideal mentors before beginning your search. Consider age, experience, proximity, gender, reputation, availability, and credibility.
Set ground rules with your mentors governing your interactions. Your mentors should clearly understand what you see as your obligations and contributions. By putting this in writing, you'll have a document you can refer to at your first meeting. Be sure to include how you will cover expenses, as well as when, where, and how to contact your mentor. "I'll never call you before eight in the morning or after nine at night," or "I won't bother you on weekends." Don't expect to assign tasks to your mentor.
Honor and respect your mentors in word and deed. Thank, or repay, your mentors in some small way. Sometimes writing a letter describing the impact your mentor is making in your life is a nice way to give a sincere thank- you. Always speak highly of your mentor to others, and when something goes right, give the mentor credit.
Don't argue with your mentors.
Your mentors should not have to sell you on their ideas and suggestions. If you argue with their ideas, express your concern or doubt as a question, such as, "I must not be getting something. Why do you think that would work in my situation?"
Provide your mentors with positive feedback. Let mentors know when ideas they proposed work, and how well, and when possible, quantify your result. "As a result of your suggestion, I sold ten more new cars last month, and now I am the top salesperson." Don't report on a mentor's ideas that didn't work out so well, unless you are specifically asked to do so.
Provide your mentors with all the truthful information they need to make wise suggestions. You must level with mentors, because they can't help you if you are holding back information or only share half- truths with them. Ask mentors to tell you what they think you need to change or improve-even if it might hurt your feelings. Be specific when you would prefer the information you're providing to remain confidential.
Use your mentors wisely and sparingly. Don't ask your mentors to solve all your problems. Instead focus only on those within their area of expertise. Don't abuse a mentor's time or goodwill-the more successful a mentor, the more valuable is his or her time, so use it wisely. For instance, write down key questions you'd like to have answered before calling your mentor, and don't just pass the time of day unless your mentor signals he or she wants to do so.
Let your mentors know when their services are no longer needed. Let your mentors know when you are ready to move on. You'll rely on some mentors for a day, others for a year, and you'll want some mentors at your side for as long as you live. If you know a mentor's usefulness to you has come to an end, it's time to send the person a small gift and a letter, letting them know how much help they've given you and giving them a heartfelt thanks for their services, advice, and help.
Seek feedback and make corrections.
Adjustments and change are necessary for achieving anything at high levels. Why is it that archery targets feature three or more concentric circles around the bull's- eye? The circles let the archers know how to make the necessary adjustments, so they'll hit the bull's-eye more often. So it is, too, with pursuing your Core Desires-check for feedback from time to time. A mentor will be the best source for course correction.
If you have identified your Core Desires, you can begin your search for mentors today and begin living the life you were meant to live. While books provide knowledge, wise individuals provide practical advice based on life experience.
By Jack M. Zufelt
"Mentor To Millions