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Find the right Master: How to choose a good mentor!

One of the questions I get asked most often is how, exactly, do you find a good mentor?

Let’s start with two fundamental questions:

#1 What, exactly are you trying to accomplish?

Pick one. Seriously. What is the most important thing you’re trying to accomplish right now?

Are you preparing for a promotion?

Do you want to develop a new skill?

Are you trying to improve in some human-centric capability like confidence, self-awareness or emotional intelligence?

#2 Why not do it alone?

Be specific. What do you see as lacking in your own experience or knowledge that requires seeking the help or advice from someone else? Are you looking for advice? Or are you looking for guidance? Be careful––these are two very different questions. To be blunt, I’m asking you if you’re looking for a shortcut or someone to give you answers rather than guiding you through a process.

Assuming you want to continue your search, let’s think about who might make the ideal mentor for you right now. In fact…

If you could choose anyone who ever lived to be your mentor––ANYONE! Who would it be?

Don’t limit yourself here. This could be anyone––living or passed. Someone from history you admire, someone you might never believe you could actually meet––or someone in the next office.

Once you have this person in mind, write a very brief note asking them to be your mentor and why you chose them.

Now you’ve got a clear picture of what you’re trying to accomplish, specifically why you think a mentor would be helpful and you’ve got at least a tangible model of the type of person you feel would be your best fit.