How do you connect with a mentor?
I often receive advice about how powerful mentorship is when connecting to a new career or a new role. When I have coffee chats with people in careers I am targeting, they almost always tell me about mentors in their lives that have played such an impactful role in their development.
I get it. I can understand very clearly the utility of having a mentor. A mentor from whom I can seek guidance to illuminate opportunities or gain a totally new perspective that I haven’t yet considered. A mentor who will challenge my understanding and approach to provide the stretch necessary for intellectual growth. A person whose advice and counsel will provide the clarity and confidence to encourage me to take risks and pursue opportunities aggressively.
But how do you find a mentor?
Mentors are certainly not just growing on trees. I’ve encountered people who speak of mentorship, but then can’t or won’t be responsive enough to truly develop into the relationship I’ve described. I suppose this is a variety of mentor, but not the deep connection I am seeking. In my mind, these kinds of profound mentor relationships would develop naturally between 2 people who have strong respect for one another and share many of the same values and attributes.
I wonder if perhaps I simply define mentorship differently than most. Or maybe there is some front end work I am not doing to develop a relationship into the type of mentorship I am seeking. Maybe I am not being direct enough with potential mentors…is at acceptable to simply ask?