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.
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….
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:
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.]
I believe you can advise me and give me the next path in my journey.
From an admirer, student and reader,
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.
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.
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.
- The Uber Mentor
- Finding the Right Mentor for You
- 20 Great Resources on Entrepreneurship
- Lessons Learned From Innovative Organizations (Robin Cook, written in 2001)
- Dreaming You Way to Success