Thursday, February 12, 2009

Finding Mentors

Excerpted from Kirsty’s first book Advance to Go, Collect $1 Million

Be careful when you approach a mentor! Realise that if it is someone very successful they are going to be very busy. Here are some tips for making your approach.

Be serious
Most mentors immediately start suggesting things that will push you past your comfort zone. If you’re not prepared to try everything your mentor suggests, stop now.

Ask permission to approach your mentor, recognise their time constraints and be reasonable with your requests
For example, I frequently get emails from young people entering the real estate industry. Many of them ask me questions like: “Can you tell me what your secrets are? Can you tell me what to do to be fantastic in real estate?” How do you answer such questions without typing back a 100 page email? These people are on the right track but that’s not the sort of question you ask of strangers. What I usually tell them is to find a local agent who they can shadow, emulate and learn from. I can no more tell someone all I know in an email than tell them how to be a great lawyer or hair-dresser.

Put forward options that would make it easier for your mentor to help out
For example, I have only approached a possible mentor very recently and was terrified! She is a superb professional speaker and I thought she wouldn’t have time to assist, so I‑gave her some options.
• Option 1 – Give me her upcoming schedule and where possible I could fly to watch her speak and learn from her.
• Option 2 – I could organise a monthly fee in exchange for assistance over the phone or via email.
• Option 3 – I could fly her down to watch me speak and have her comment if possible.
By giving her these options I was guaranteed a better strike rate than if I’d just gone in with option 3.

Tell them why you want to learn from them
Be honest and tell them why you want them as a mentor. I told my speaker mentor that she was the best I’d ever heard (and I’ve seen some of the best in the world) and I wanted to learn from the best. Don’t go over the top, but this person needs to know why you want to learn from them.

Be careful of who you associate with
Don’t let anyone else bring you down. If they make you feel insecure or less than the fabulous person you know you are, take yourself out of that situation and surround yourself with positive and inspirational people. Don’t let anyone steal your dream away from you. Often the most dangerous are those with “your own best interests at heart.” Sometimes in life, to get what you really want you do have to take risks and this can scare those near and dear to you.

Don’t settle for mediocre company! Surround yourself with brilliant, knowledgeable, motivated, creative and talented people. This is positive for your business, and for your professional and personal growth. When I say surround yourself, I am not just talking about people in your office. Offer to take the most inspirational business person in your town out to lunch. Subscribe to an email list of one of your mentors. Or, take a huge risk and pick up the phone or email one of your heroes – you will be surprised at their responses.

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