So you’ve followed the steps in 4.1 Asking the Right Person For Mentorship and you’ve decided who you’d like to seek mentorship from based on their experience and expertise.
Now, for the hard part.
Actually asking is not as easy as shooting them a quick email or giving them a call.
You need to provide value and prove your worth before you even contemplate asking someone to invest their time and effort into you.
Be sure to approach the question with an appropriate amount of respect and empathy.
It’s important to find that balance of humility and confidence before turning up on a stranger’s doorstep and asking them to help you— figuratively speaking, of course.
First things first. Take some pride in yourself and make the effort to show up.
Seriously, imagine the countless emails your ideal mentor is receiving right now.
Do you really think the best approach to popping the question is to join the crowd with a megaphone hoping yours will be louder?
Of course you don’t because you’re not an idiot.
You want to cut through the noise and the best way to do this is by putting yourself right in front of them.
Ideally, you would do this in a literal sense but failing that, video is your best friend.
It’s far more creative and less time consuming than reading that pesky email you were about to write.
Make sure your message is concise but be innovative with it. This is an opportunity to show off some skills, so take your time to produce something worth watching and value the time you’re taking away from these people by demonstrating what you’re capable of.
The message should be personalised too.
Don’t just make one video and send it to EVERYONE.
Make sure the content is relevant to the person you’re sending it to.
Be explicit in what you hope you take from them and why it would be useful to you.
Before anyone is going to agree to mentor you, they’re going to need to know more about you and why you’re looking for mentorship. Try sharing a story or, better yet, share one of theirs and briefly explain how their journey has helped to shape yours.
Mentorship is a two-way street. If your would-be mentor is only interested in what they can get out of you then it might be best to hit that nail on the head and move on.
Remember, you have value to give too.
Rather than looking at this like a job interview, try to see it as a friend request. Your ideal mentor will have similar interests to you so you might want to play on that a little bit where possible. This way, there is a mutual benefit to your mentorship and it’s a win-win situation for all parties involved.
An air of warning though.
If at any point you feel pressured or you feel like you might be putting pressure on somebody to help you, back off. In order for a mentorship to be healthy, you both have to want it.
At the very least, you both have to be willing.
Neither of you is obligated at any stage and just like any other relationship, this one is based on your ability to choose whether you want to be a part of it or not.
In the end, your mission is to meet somebody who encompasses the success you wish to see in yourself someday but, more than that, it’s to surround yourself with people who share similar goals and interests in order to be the best version of yourself you could hope to become.