Who is YOUR Mentor?

Funny day really. Spent most of watching lots of midday television followed by Ghostbusters I – and writing this post.

Many entrepreneurial-blogs suggest that in order to succeed in life you need a MENTOR. This really is a good theory, but in practice can be quite difficult.

Why?

Because mentors are hard to come by. As most of us know, our ideas are safe-guarded by our belief they are unique. Even when we research the internet for similar stories, we never find something that is precisely the same. Therefore we hold back, thinking the right moment will come along.

We do the same thing when it comes to choosing our friends. Friends come and go, family always stay – but the mentor you desire to meet’&’make is the only person who will have the "rational and directness of a friend" whilst being the "support and sentiment of family".

Wooh, back up there hombré, run that by me again!

Ever had a great idea that you wanted to make money from – but didn’t know where to begin? You’ve read all the right books and pondered over all the possibilities … but not taken the next step?

You even asked your best mates what they thought. They think you’re mad: "Stick to your day-job. It’ll be more secure than any silly idea! Don’t fall from the straight-and-narrow: You’ll amount to nothing. Hell, you might fail! Who wants to fail! Failure is for losers!" You’ve heard them all, now you have doubts in your idea.

Then you asked family, or maybe you asked them first, what they think of your grandiose ideas. They were at least a little more polite, but they had the same opinion, "What! I paid for your good education – and now you want to throw that away over a silly idea! Get back to your work – don’t make waves, darling, stick to what you know best. Just keep getting that fortnightly paycheck! You don’t want to lose that retirement pension, do you?" Yep, that’s mom and pop, always thinking about their, oops, I mean your future. They don’t want you to fail. Maybe they consider their lives a failure – and want to make sure you don’t.

So you went hunting for someone who had some knowledge of the area you are interested in. When that turned up people who only wanted to steal your idea, you turned to online forums and leaving comments in the journals of people you revere for their entrepreneurial spirit. Their tenacity to stick it out when sticks and stones are being hurled. Their happy-happy attitude when comments tell them they are "off with the pixies". You found someone who might be able to float your project from the paperwork to the desktop, from your motor neurons to the internet.

You decide to leave a message on both their forum and journal, even spin off an interesting message to them…

Yo, you inspire me. I like your words. Please read my blog!

Sigh. Idiot. Let’s try that again, this time with finesse….

@Mentor.
I’ve been lurking on your site for about six months, reading your journal. I say lurking because I have been too afraid to say something that might be silly and stupid. But all the time, I have thought – this guy knows what I am thinking, he is writing about the things that matter most to me – and today I finally got the nerve to say it: Your posts give me a tingle up my spine each time I read them! I not only read the words, I hear them, I understand, I absorb the information – and I use them to my full advantage.
Today I hope you can give an answer to a few of my questions. You appeared well knowledge in so many areas, I hope you can help me with these ideas I have:
1.
2. [List your questions in dot-point format, simple and short. Don’t try to answer your questions – give your new-found mentor first opportunity.]
3.
I believe you can advise me and give me the next path in my journey.
From an admirer, student and reader,
Stephen M.

But you wait vainly for weeks for a response, you even find yourself barred from leaving posts at their blog, or worse yet – your SEO ratings begin to plummet. Googling yourself proves promising, but no-one is taking any interest in you – exept you. Nobody is connecting to your posts, technorati and delicious reveal no linkage points, nothing but binary void between you and the next similar journal.

The Alternative?

Make your mentors, don’t go hunting for them. Simple as that. Declare to the world whom you consider your mentors – even if they do not know it yet. I believe this to be the way of the internet – and will win you mighty advocates. But this comes at a price – and it has to be paid.

To win the hearts of your mentors, you have to give them a little patronization. No, not condescending barbs, you’ll need to provide informative posts revealing from where you have gained newfound knowledge from your mentor’s website, book, podcast, free PDF and/or journal.

(If your mentor is unable to provide any of these things – how on earth did you find them? NO, what I mean to ask is – are they really worthy of being a mentor if they cannot help you to become a better worker, a new person, an entrepreneur or a zealous-web-lover?)

Spiraling with Eagles

Coming into land, tyres down, seat belts tight, adopting the don’t-crash-and-burn position, Let’s wrap this story up:

Choose your mentors as you would keep your family and friends: Don’t rely on them for Christmas gifts, but lean on them for support and ask them for honest opinions. But unlike family and friends, a mentor may take the step to provide financial support if you idea is good enough.

Disclaimer

No part of this post resembles the life of the Author’s family or friends. Ok, maybe a few friends. And definitely a lot of people who think they are friends. Yeah, and a few acquaintances who thought they were being asked what time the next bus arrives.

See Also…

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4 thoughts on “Who is YOUR Mentor?

  1. Stephen,

    That was a great post. I’ve found in my own pursuit of the bloshphere that the best I can do at the out set is to pour, if you will, would be mentors into my electronic sifter.

    As I read, follow, listen, get a little feedback, another layer of sifting takes place. Over a little time, those ‘would be sifters’ get sifted out and I am able to refine the ‘stars’ to zero in on.

    Zeroing in will all you to develop a smaller more refined circle of potentials, who you will have a knowledge and affinity for. These will be the few that will take you serious.

    The rest of the road to success is just plain hard work and consistency.

    Gary

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  2. Hey Stephen,

    Some good insights on mentoring. To me it doesn’t matter if your mentor is aware or not, virtual, paperback or real. What matters is what you get out of the interaction and how it moves you to your goals. Take Seth Godin. I’ve emailed him a number of times with business questions and he gets back within a day. Albeit with a 1 sentence answer. He is my “Digital mentor”. My dad is my phylosophical mentor and a have a business colleague to motivate me. Building an “Army of Advisors” is easy when your looking. But you’ve got to give them something back, even if it is vicarious living.

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  3. @Gary and @Stephen.
    Thanks for the affirmation.

    @Gary
    ‘Sifting’ for mentors is a great way of saying it! I have spent the last few years using my bloglines.com as a sifter – and believe I now have a great list of people worthy of revering. I’ve even given that list a sidebar: http://www.ezcreate.com.au/bloglines.htm

    @Stephen
    Thanks for the insight – I’ll admit I don’t always use my ‘mentors’ to my full advantage. Actually, I doubt many of them realise how much I appreciate learning from their websites. (It’s possible some are a little embarrassed!)

    Guys, thanks for taking a moment to read this post. That in itself is inspiration to write more of the same.

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  4. Stephen,

    That was a very helpful Mentor list. I’ve added it to my Blogroll.

    As a realative newbie blogger, with an ambitious
    entrepreneurial….and can I say, ‘Genios’?, idea to develop, I try not to get bogged (or blogged?) down listening to the advice of those that don’t nelp me reach the goal.

    Stay inspired, the blog world needs you!

    Gary

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