Not all mentors are created equal. As you move forward you’ll find a lot of people with opinions for how you should be using your time and focus. All opinions are not created equal. They want you to succeed, but this doesn’t transform them into good ideas. Those worth listening to are often extremely busy and difficult to connect with. You must be selective with who you allow to speak into each area of your life.
You need to understand why you’re looking for mentors. I have mentors for my ministry work, business work, and personal life. I would never expect my ministry mentors to be able to speak to my business, or those I lean on for character development to help me understand how trinitarianism ought to impact our missional praxis. /MinistryGeek
The keys to find mentors are networking and awareness
Always be looking for ways to connect with people who are 5 years ahead of you. I was fortunate to have friends who were executives in software companies who mentored me early on, and thanks to their guidance I was in a position to get connected with the MESA Group (Minnesota Emerging Software Advisory) . Don’t be afraid to pay for the opportunity to get mentored if the person/people you get to interact with are worth it. We do pay for me to be a part of MESA.
The final key to any mentorship is to make sure you start with developed goals you can concisely articulate. A successful businessperson may not have experience where you need it, and experience is not all that transferable. My business mentors work in other software as service businesses and their annual revenue is where I see ours reaching. Most importantly their business expertise and experience are in the areas we need them most – finances and marketing.
Everything has its Season
Don’t hold onto a mentor longer then you need to. Understand up front roughly how long to expect this mentorship to last, and what the goals are. Measure yourself along the way. If you aren’t going to make the goals, or if your needs turn out to be quite different feel the freedom to part ways. The most frustrating experience I’ve have when mentoring others is their lack of progress or growth. Understanding that mentorship is a season allows both sides of the relationship to decide when the next season is starting. Celebrate what happened, and get excited about what is to come next.