Ready to find a great mentor? In a previous post, we talked about how to choose a freelance mentor and why you need one.
But getting the right mentor for you is not the end of the work. You need to learn how to be a successful mentee. Your path with a mentor is not just to soak up all the knowledge that they have but to build a successful relationship, a mutually beneficial one.
Here are tips on how to be a successful mentee:
1. Do the work before and after.
You need to be consistent and put your best work and creative efforts out into the world if you want to work with great mentors and leaders. Do this now even if you do not have a mentor yet. That way when you find the right mentor, they can see that you are doing the work and will be more willing to help.
You will also already have some momentum built up and will know what areas you need the most help to keep moving forward, expand, and grow. No one wants to waste their precious time on someone who is not going to put in the effort. Do the work. Before the mentor and after.
2. Be teachable and take action.
You did the work and put your best self out into the world. You found the mentor. Now what?
Implement what you learn from him or her. Knowledge is only power if you use it. Take whatever you are learning and evaluate how you can use it in your life and business to bring positive change and then take the actions needed to implement the lessons.
3. Keep learning and sharpening your skills.
And look beyond just what is being said. How is your mentor using what they are saying in their own life and business? How do they interact with and treat others? How do they manage their energy and time? Pay attention. Practice.
“Being a great mentee means being dedicated to learning and practicing new skills,” as Ashira Prossack says in an article for Forbes on how to be a great mentee.
4. Be specific with your questions.
The right mentor is going to be someone who is successful in their field. Otherwise, you would not be listening to them. This means they are likely busy. Be smart and prepare your questions wisely so your time with your mentor is efficient for both of you.
According to the Young Entrepreneur Council, “Every entrepreneur can benefit from the advice of a mentor (or two), especially one who has seen some success already and can offer needed perspective. The problem is, we often waste their time — and our own — with meaningless questions that don’t get to the heart of the issues we face.”
“What would you do if you were me?” is a better question than, “What should I do?”
5. Respect your mentor and support them.
You do not have to agree with or do everything that your mentor says, but always be respectful. If you are not wanting to take your mentor’s advice, search for the reason. Is it out of fear or laziness? If so and the advice they gave is working for them, it may be worth a try. But if it is something that is completely out of alignment with your values, that’s OK. You may decline.
But always be respectful of how you interact with those who are seeking to help you. And give back to them whenever you get the opportunity. Be a benefit, not a liability. Helping you can help them grow also. Mentoring you can help them become clearer on their goals and dreams as they teach and share.
Be respectful, supportive, consistent, and persistence. And watch your life and business transform for the better.