find guidance, grow stronger
Seeking help and guidance from mentors is an important part of personal and professional growth. I've had the good fortune of connecting with mentors from diverse backgrounds. This includes people who worked in marketing and technology and built companies from the ground up, as well as music producers and photographers.
However, many people hesitate to ask for help or accept it when offered. I want to encourage you to open yourself up to mentorship and provide tips on how to do so effectively.
The first step is to identify potential mentors in your life.
Think of respected colleagues, professors, leaders in your industry, or family friends who have experience and wisdom to share.
Look for people you connect with who seem genuinely interested in helping others succeed. Once you've selected a few possible mentors, the next step is to approach them.
When asking someone to be your mentor, be direct and make it easy for them to say yes. Express your interest in their career journey and what you hope to gain from their guidance. Assure them that you do not expect a major time commitment simultaneously.
Simply saying something like, "I admire what you've accomplished. I would appreciate any advice you could offer as I'm starting out." keeps the request casual but makes your goals clear. Most people will be flattered and happy to help in small ways.
If a mentor offers advice or suggestions, listen with an open mind.
They are sharing knowledge from living through experiences you have yet to face. Do not dismiss their counsel prematurely simply because you may not fully understand it yet or because it differs from your perspective. Reflect on what they say later, as you may gain new insights.
Finally, thank your mentor sincerely for any support.
Send a short email after each conversation to reiterate how much you valued their time and highlight how their advice was helpful or thought-provoking. Offer to meet again soon if it was a positive experience. Maintaining open communication and showing gratitude will help nurture an ongoing relationship of trust and learning.
Do not be afraid to ask for guidance - most successful people still rely on mentors today. You have nothing to lose and your growth to gain by connecting with knowledgeable individuals who want to see you thrive.
I hope you will take these tips to begin building mentorship connections in the areas of your life where guidance could help propel you forward.
Good luck out there.
cover image: remix of a flork of cows comic panel.