How Young Adults Can Get (and Keep) a Mentor

I’m a big believer in the fact that we can get a whole lot further in our lives if we don’t try to do everything alone. I’ve written before about the value of mentors for young adults in everything from their careers to relationships, but I haven’t written a lot about how to get – and more importantly, keep – those mentors. Valuable mentors are usually very busy people. They might be running a business (or a few businesses), have commitments to keep to their community, and be juggling a number of hobbies along with making time for family and relaxation. They don’t have a lot of extra time and if you want some of that time, you’ll have to do a few things so they view the time they invest in your as valuable.

Finding the right mentor

There are no universally right mentors who are perfect for everyone. To find the perfect one for you, you need to know what you want from the relationship. If you’re looking for guidance in your career, turn to experts in the field who have already achieved what you want to achieve. Looking for more of a personal mentor? Find those you admire who have a balanced life and share the same values as you. When you approach a potential mentor, make sure you tell them why you chose them and how much you admire the life they’ve built. Then ask them if they’d be willing to sit down for a cup of coffee with you so you can find out more about how they’ve made their accomplishments. If there’s a fit, this should naturally turn into a more robust mentoring relationship.

Keeping a mentor

Once you’ve started to build a relationship with a mentor, don’t think all your work is done! As I’ve already said, these are busy people who don’t like wasting time. Here are some tips to keep the relationship going.

Invest in being trainable If you’re not open-minded and ready to listen and learn, there’s no reason to have a mentor in the first place. No one wants to spend time with someone who isn’t open to new ideas or ways of doing things, so you need to demonstrate that you’re trainable. Do this by asking a lot of questions and really listening. If you have specific areas you want to learn more about, such as creating multiple streams of income or putting in the work to create a healthy relationship, make sure you ask about them specifically instead of expecting your mentor to read your mind. The important thing here is, your mentor needs to see that the time he or she is giving you is having an impact.

Have patience

It’s important not to be demanding or pushy when it comes to asking your mentor for his or her time or expertise. Have patience and understand that they’re helping you simply because they want to give back and that you will have to work around their schedule. As your relationship grows and you’re able to provide them more value, you may earn more of their time. However, expecting it from the outset is a good way to make your mentor mad and end the relationship altogether.

Be grateful and humble

Being grateful and humble will ensure that your mentor knows he or she is appreciated. Even if they’re only able to free up twenty minutes every month or two for you, be grateful for every minute and piece of advice you get. Demonstrate you’re humble by not only listening to what your mentor says but by following their guidance and then reporting back to them how it helped you. Most mentors want nothing in return for their time other than to be appreciated and know they are making a difference.

When you can learn from others’ mistakes, you can accelerate your learning and growth and achieve your goals much faster. Knowing how to find and keep a good mentor is one of the best ways to accomplish this. Have questions about finding or keeping a mentor? Please leave them below!