We draw inspiration from people to dream big, believe in our dreams and work till they come into fruition. Representation matters. When you see other people become what you aspire to be, it spikes your willingness to improve and do better. Apart from the friends who rob off us daily and help us to level up, mentors and role models can play a huge role in making us believe in ourselves and spur us on.
Finding A Mentor
A mentor is an experienced person willing to guide a less experienced person. Mentors see the potential in you and help you find the path to get there. You can glean from their experiences and learn how they generally go about life. They can also serve as coaches or accountability partners. They are pretty involved in the areas of your life you invited them to and may partake in other areas as your relationship grows.
Understand that there are people who have walked this exact path you are on, learnt several lessons and have a wealth of knowledge to share so you do not repeat their mistakes. Reach out to them for help. You are likely to succeed when you have the right people to guide, motivate and keep you in check to meet your goals. Because mentors become a part of your life, you need to go the extra mile to find the right ones.
How To Find A Mentor
What You Shouldn’t Do
- Don’t ask them to be your mentor. This didn’t make much sense to me when I first heard it. My developer friends tell me about people who meet them at events and ask them to mentor them. Most often than not, they refuse because they can’t make the time or accept and never get back to them.
What You Should Do Instead
- Be clear about what you want from a mentor before you approach the person. What would the person mentor you on? What role will the person play in your life? Think about how you can get them to start playing those roles without asking upfront for mentorship.
- Start by asking specific questions. Most people would gladly share their experience with you if you ask them. If it’s a mentor in relation to your career, introduce yourself and ask a question you’re currently faced within your career. Reach out via events, emails or even direct messaging on social media(although the first two ways seem widely acceptable). If you already have a rapport with this person, you can give them a call.
- Bring value to them. Think of what you can add to the person’s life. Don’t just look to receive. Be willing to give your time or services.
- Follow up. If they give you any feedback on the questions you ask, work on it and get back to them with results. This will take the relationship a step further and show them how interested you are in their input.
Choosing a Role Model
A role model, on the other hand, is someone you look up to and take as an example. Your role model may not know you exist or may not be actively guiding you in life (like a mentor does) even if he or she knows you exist.
How To Choose A Role Model
- Choose a role model for a particular aspect of your life. Sometimes we find people we want to emulate all round but most times it’s just some parts of their lives we want to emulate.
- Find out if the person’s values align with what you stand for or at least hope to be.
- Study the person’s life. Read books, watch documentaries, watch interviews etc. Gather as much knowledge of them as possible. The goal is to learn from their experiences. Don’t lose sight of that.
- Follow them on social media or their offline communities.
- Reach out to them if you want to. Let the person know how much he or she inspires you.
- Understand their frailty as humans. Humans mess up sometimes. Don’t put them on a high pedestal.
There are so many people we can look up to and learn from. Be it a role model or a mentor, having someone who’s gone ahead of you to be great gives you the desire to grow and a strong sense of hope. Add to the list of your role models and find a mentor if you don’t have any.
Also published on Medium.