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  • Writer's pictureKay Gravesande

The Importance of Finding a Mentor

Everyone - no matter who you are or what you do - should have a mentor at some point in their life. For those who don't know, a mentor is a trusted source of guidance and advice. They're someone you're comfy with, who has a genuine interest in your well-being and success. Selecting the right mentor is a crucial part to your development and I'm going to tell you how to snag the right one.

I want you to think about one of your short term goals. Do you want to travel across Europe, build up your retirement income, or explore the wonders of being a stay at home parent? Whatever it is, think of someone who is currently living out your goal. Maybe your aunt has been a homemaker for 20+ years, or you have a college friend that's constantly exploring new parts of the globe.

If you personally know someone actively doing the things you're interested in accomplishing, you have reached the first step in finding a mentor - Establish a Connection. I want to emphasize what you just read... you must personally know this individual in order for you to begin determining if they are a suitable mentor for you and your success. It is completely unrealistic to think you can run out and get Beyonce or Channing Tatum to mentor you - just so we are clear.

Once you get the green to pass Step 1, you'll need to think about your relationship with this person in it's current state and what future opportunities it has to grow. For example, if you and your college buddy barely chat (other than the occasional "like" on social media), be honest and ask yourself is there potential for ya'll to exchange numbers and engage in deeper conversation? If the answer is no, go back to Step 1 bud. However, if the answer is yes, you've reached Step 2 - Build a Relationship. {Quick sidebar: at this stage, you may have to start over a time or two as you begin to really get to know this person, but better now then later when you have tons of time invested!}

Assuming you and your soon-to-be mentor are hitting it off, you my friend are ready for Step 3 - Ask for Mentorship. If you wear your heart on your sleeve, come a little closer. This may sound harsh, but I say it with love... just because you ask, does NOT mean they have to accept. Although you may feel comfortable with entrusting this person with your future choices, they may not reciprocate those feelings. Think about it this way - if you don't have your ish together, but people have the perception that you do, could you morally take on a mentee? I definitely couldn't; it wouldn't feel right giving blind directions based on false reality. At this step it's important to understand rejection is okay; maybe your friend prefers to just be friends and not put any additional pressure on the relationship. You want to make sure this relationship is beneficial for both of you, so don't let your heart strings get too caught up here. If they do accept,hip hop horray -you may carry on to Step 4.

For those who have found a mentor, congratulations! That's a huge step towards the finish line - you now have a personal, trusted resource in your corner ready and willing to help you on your journey towards your goal. Shake your way down the aisle to the final stage of your this journey, Step 4 - Utilize Your Relationship.

Take note that I said utilize because I want to be very clear - a mentor is not to be abused. They are here for support based on their experiences, which does not mean they'll give you a blueprint of how to reach your goal turn by turn, or be at your beckon call along the way. Use your mentor as a resource for help, but remember this is your journey, not their's. They will guide you, however the ultimate decision on where to go is yours.Your mentor has agreed to assist you on your journey to your goal, and therefore you should absolutely use them as a tool along the way. With our travel example, you could ask your mentor about companies to find all-inclusive travel deals, what cities s/he enjoyed most, where was the greatest "bang for my buck" destination, and when is the best time of year to go to Rome. You could even go as far as asking for budgeting tips if you want to travel year round and still sustain your day to day life.What you shouldn't do is ask this person to plan a trip for you, send you their itinerary, share all of their network connections, etc.

One last word to wise - although you may have a mentor in your corner, take ownership in your success. Regardless of the outcome, remember that this is your adventure and no one else can determine where your two feet are going to step next but you.

Okay... I think I've driven my point off the cliff by now. If you'd like more information on finding, selecting or accepting mentorship don't be shy, find me on Instagram @CareerKay or send me an email at!

#Mentorship #Mentor #BTYP #CareerKay

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