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Mentoring Relationship (Part-1): Why and How to find a Mentor?

“If I could go back and tell the twenty-year-old version of me one thing it would be “Get a mentor”.

~ Jon Acuff

Successful people from Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, Satya Nadella and Jeff Bezos to Mark Zuckerberg and more all credited a big part of their success to their respective mentors.

Bill found Warren, Warren found Graham, Steve found Bill, Mark found Steve, Satya found Bill, and I found Jagriti Pande and Manishanker Sharma for a reason we all were facing some problems. The problems to which they needed a solution to get out of the jam.

You might be wondering:

Why do I need a Mentor?

The answer is quite simple:

If you are not sure about how to move forward in career? Are you wondering if you really have what it takes to make a cut? or are you wondering what your goals should be?

and you are open to learning from others? Then perhaps it’s time for you to find a mentor.

I remember a story from Mark Zuckerberg:

We started Facebook from scratch and in the matter of a few months, we were hit at Harvard. We rolled facebook from our prestigious Harvard to the rest.

Things were going our way, people were joining us.

But it stopped after a while.

We hit a plateau in terms of growth and it felt like it was a dead end. People started telling me won’t be able to go any further. It was a tough time for us, people suggested to sell Facebook. But I had a strong belief that we can make it big.

I contacted my Mentor, Steve Jobs.

He was well aware of my situation, due to our prior conversations. I told him about people suggesting to sell the company. He asked do you believe that you can make this company bigger? I said, Yes, I do.

I was waiting for some business solution now, but to my surprise, he gave me the advice to visit a temple in India.

But it helped, I visited there and the mystery of how people connect opened for me. I turned down the offers for selling and worked towards my goal of connecting people.

and rest is history.

We all know where Facebook is today. This is only one story there are loads of them where just with slight mentoring, people achieved the goals that seemed unachievable. For them finding a Mentor made all the difference in reaching success.

So, now that we have seen the importance of a Mentor in shaping up the life decisions. And realized that we need help with our own.

Now, we want to know:

How to find a Mentor?

We all have made it seem complex.

It’s actually not, we all are surrounded by our potential mentors. We just can’t see them. You never know where a good mentor might come from. It could be a friend, senior, boss, teacher, professor, neighbour, supervisor, someone you admire, you saw some inspiring person online, or an acquaintance.

The successful people met their Mentors by some social circle, online presence, reading articles about them, or by reading their books. So how you meet your people again comes to what values you are looking for. Once you find those values then you can reach out to them.

When you have a problem to solve,

talking about it is a good first step.

How Bill Gates found two of the greatest Mentors of all times?

Ed Roberts, inventor of one of the earliest personal computers.

Bill Gates and Paul Allen read an article about Roberts’s invention, the MITS Altair 8800, that inspired Gates and his friend Paul Allen to start Microsoft back in 1975.

They reached out to Roberts with the idea and asking for his Mentoring.

Roberts agreed to Mentor the two youngsters.

Roberts helped the two youngsters in setting up the company and writing the software. The Mentoring Relationship stayed for lifelong with them. In 2010, when Roberts was dying, Bill went to Georgia to be with his Mentor in his last time. After the death of Roberts, Bill and Paul released this Remembering Roberts statement:

“Ed was willing to take a chance on us — two young guys interested in computers long before they were commonplace — and we have always been grateful to him. The day our first untested software worked on his Altair was the start of a lot of great things. We will always have many fond memories of working with Ed.”

We can support each other, We learn from each other

~Ed Roberts

Warren Buffet, The Billionaire Investor.

Bill met Warren on a dinner pulled together by his mother. Bill thought he had nothing in common with Warren as he thought of Warren “this guy who picks stocks.”

Warren helped Bill to see things in different ways.

Bill writes in one of his piece over Linkedin how Warren does not just pick stock but he analyzes the company and finds the thing that gives them an advantage over competitors.

Warren was the person who got him into philanthropy. Warren donates most of his income to the charity and He was the person Bill turned to while setting up Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

So, Mentors helped the successful people to start and make big life decisions.

Before finding a Mentor, you need to know what are the key qualities you are looking for in your mentor. It could be something related to your profession, communication skills, leadership skills or could be something else.

It’s not always easy but finding someone who matches your values and personality type is important.

While looking for the Mentor we often times look for people with a charm in their personality. But do they fit in the key qualities you were looking for?

When I started learning Design, I learnt some hard skills fast but was often surrounded by questions like:

What next, where can I use this thing in the real world?

I was fortunate to find Mentors to help me down the line. Most of my personal and professional shifts came after discussing my problems and visions with my Mentors. They helped me see the bigger picture.

People keep on thinking that their potential Mentor is busy and have work to do.

Why would someone bother to Mentor me?

I have had the fortune of finding some of the great Mentors as well as Mentees.

And now as I see my Mentoring Relationships I realized I learned a lot from my Mentors as well as my Mentees. Whenever they came up with the problems and find their ideas within, me being just the mirror. It’s astounding.

I learned down the line that people are ready to share their learnings and Mentor us we just are too afraid to ask.

You need to be brave and ask your potential Mentor. The worst that can happen is the person says no, you didn’t have a Mentor before, anyway!

Just be courageous and Ask today.

This all knowledge comes from my Personal Experiences and One-Minute-Mentoring.

Key takeaways:

If you are facing questions about How to move forward in career? Are you wondering if you really have what it takes to make a cut? or are you wondering what your goals should be? You need a Mentor.

A good Mentor can help you get over difficult times.

When you have a problem to solve, talking about it is a good first step.

People are more than happy to Help you/ Mentor you.

A step towards having a Mentor is to ask.

In the next article of this series, I will share some of my techniques to reach out to potential Mentors, Breaking the Ice and Rules for having the First Meeting.

Thanks for reading! :)

How your Mentoring experiences have been? Please share.

Mentoring the people from different walks of life have been a delightful learning experience for me. I would love to know your story. Please share!

Looking for a Mentor?

I can introduce you to some great Mentors from my network. Get in touch

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Rohan Mishra

Rohan Mishra

Product Design @Zomato , with the passion for solving problems for users and business. Obsessed with Coffee more than he should.

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