By Luis J Bechara & Francisco Perignon
Welcome to another SitePlow Explore: bitesize actionable articles that explore a specific life skill and how it can help improve a specific area of our wellness.
This SitePlow explore will improve our intellectual wellness. Here at SitePlow, we have a mentor for every skill we want to improve. If we want to improve our singing skills, we text a friend that sings amazingly. If we want to learn about wellness and how to teach it, we talk to a friend that has been a school counselor/psychologist. If we want to learn about branding and how to insert ourselves into the corporate world, we talk to someone that has been doing so for years. Without them, it would be harder to learn those skills. They already went through the hard parts so we don't necessarily have to. They have already discovered the secrets, hacks, and workarounds of their topic of expertise.
Therefore, we will talk about establishing mentorships. More specifically, habits and steps we can employ to find and establish mentorships and how this highly improves our intellectual wellness. Today we will address five of them that, in our opinion, do the trick.
Clear (First) Goal
Formalization Of Mentorships
Effectively listen to the stories of those who surround us, pay attention to what people publish on Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social networks. At every meeting, even social ones, we can discover through conversations what knowledge and talents those who surround us possess. For instance, we might be looking to learn how to sing, and we might hear that a friend's friend who is about to release an album. A good tip for this stage of mentor-seeking is to focus on other people, listen effectively and try asking follow-up questions whenever we hear something that peaks our interest. If we hear about a friend's friend's endeavor to release an album we might ask: or WOW, who is this person?
Taking mental notes about the specific talents and knowledge of our contacts can only take us so far. But writing down their interests in our phone contacts description, we will have at our disposal, not only a database of friends but also potential mentors, accountability partners, business partners, anything. We should try to add hashtags to the people we meet, or comments on their contact on our phones. For instance, when we hear about our friend's friend who is about to release an album, we could tag that person's digital contact card as "musician", or "about to release an album".
Clear (First) Goal
We cannot reach out to a mentor without a clear purpose. We need an excuse to write them in order to have a first call/meet up with them. So let us find that excuse, it can be something like "I want to learn about... or I want to get better at..." or "I could use your opinion on..." and Boom! We have an excuse for a first mentorship meeting.
The next step would be to send a clear message to the mentor with an ambiguous yet close date: "hey, is there any way I could call you for about 15-20 minutes sometime this week?" And then we say the Clear (First) Goal we established. "The reason is because... [Insert First Goal]"
Even better if we include our flexibility to meet. For instance, "My schedule is very flexible any day any time except on Wednesdays, does any of those time frames work for you?". That way we can avoid falling on the constant follow-up thread that rarely ends with a first mentorship meeting.
Formalization Of Mentorships
There are two ways, in our opinion, to formalize a mentorship we like to use. We could come up with more as long as there is a symbolic shake of hands that gives us permission to communicate with our newly found mentor on a regular or semi-regular basis. A great way to do so is to say “hey, is it okay if I text you from time to time specific questions about [Insert-Topic]”, "I could really use your expertise from time to time". This approach is great if we learned what we wanted to learn after the mentorship meeting. If we are not finished, we say, “hey could you meet around this same time next week” and then follow up. If the person agrees, it gives us emotional permission to communicate with them and ask for help in future goals.
There are multiple ways to establish mentorship, and if you are interested in exploring the topic furthermore you might find it useful to check out more networking books, videos, podcasts, and articles.
In the meantime, a cool way to make what we just learned actionable would be to set ourselves the following goal for this week:
"I updated 10 contacts of people I find talented to contain what they are good at"
"I properly reached out to 1 potential mentor with a first clear goal, and an availability statement"
Feel free to customize the goals as much as you want to, and please let us know whether or not you found it helpful in our comment section down below.
Have an amazing week, and keep SitePlowing!
Luis, Francisco, and The SitePlow Team