Mentorship

A 2-way street.

Most of what I've learned about mentorship comes down to this:

People want to mentor the ones who are going places. The winners. The people who would be successful even if they were never mentored at all. That's the beauty of mentorship and the problem for most people who can't make something of it.

It's harsh but true.

Mentorship is how we speed up our individual progress. We can cut five years off of our development and growth by having someone just tell us what works and show us how to do it.

That's what happened to me. I found someone who took me under their wing, and through that relationship, a sped my growth up by a couple of years at least.

It worked because both of us benefited from the relationship. It's true that nobody wants to mentor a loser. It's also true that there's a natural inclination to mentor someone for a reason. Contrary to what we want to believe, it's not always an altruistic pursuit for someone else's benefit.

I find that it's usually the students who don't get this. Mentees find opportunities to learn and grow from someone else's lessons. But they don't see how they can return the benefits, which is why most mentorships fizzle out.

Sure, sometimes your mentor or student will be someone you're related to. But those cases are rare, and not in line with where my head's at.

I think of this as an opportunity for someone competent to speed up their progress when there's no family who can help them. I'm in this boat. My dad passed away a week after I turned 22. So while it would have been great to learn more from him, I didn't really get the full opportunity.

Finding mentorship opportunities.

While most of us believe we can't find mentors because they don't want to give us the time, it's not true. Fact is, there's no reason for them to do so.

People with something to teach, especially in business, have to consider the time they'll spend. As time goes on, no returns on that time mean it's not worth it for them anymore.

I've always found that the best way to learn from someone was to help them with something, and ask their advice along the way. I'd do something for the - something I want to learn anyway - and then say "I'm stuck on xyz - what do you think?"

This method has worked for me because they want me to achieve my goal. It benefits them, of course they want that. So naturally they won't just give me the answer, they'll give me the legit answer that will work.

It's true that many professional mentorships are often laced with a some half-truths here and there. I wouldn't want to give away all the best of what I have to offer for free, with nothing in return either.

Internet gurus are a bit different. Giving away the goods actually benefits them. They grow an audience, deal flow, and opportunities because their free advice is great. Most people don't have that business model.

Most of the biggest businesses also don't give away their best advice for free. I should write about why that is very soon.

For now, this is it.

Mentorship is a 2 way street. Both sides need to benefit. That's also why no one wants to mentor a loser. People want to mentor winners (it goes without saying that they also want to be mentored by a winner).