How to find a mentor. It’s probably the most important topic as a entrepreneur you’ve got to figure out. And it’s why I have been holding off for all these months before I shared it because I want to make sure that I have the absolutely best framework for you guys to follow to find a kick ass mentor. You know,B
I’ve got four ideas that I want to share with you, but before I get into that, I want to share with you guys a story, my personal story of finding my first mentor.
I was really struggling in my business, Sphere Technologies, I was probably 26-years-old, and I just figured a cold email to the former premier of the province where I lived, I’m Canadian, would help me find people like me.
I just figured there’s got to be other people that have built this kind of business in the past that might be able to give me guidance and ideas and kind of a direction for me and I cold emailed this guy named Frank McKenna, and within 30 minutes he wrote back, and I emailed him probably at midnight. And he introduced me to three guys. Those three names were Gerry Pond, Steve Palmer, and Ken Nickerson. And if you guys know who those people are, I mean, Gerry Pond is now kind of the Ron Conway or the Godfather of tech in the Province.
Ken Nickerson’s one of the top Angel Investors, and Steve Palmer at the time was the CEO of one of the largest technology companies in our region and is now the co-CEO of another technology company, a really great operator, and those three people, even though I didn’t get introductions, I reached out to them and all three responded. But I want to share with you guys how I got them engaged and then also how I kept them as mentors over the last, you know, almost a decade.
So the first one I want to share with you guys is when you reach out to them, you want to make sure that you have a big problem. Many times when people reach out to me, and they want me as an advisor or mentor, they don’t have something to dive into. They’re just like, hey, I saw you online, or I follow you on Twitter, I watch your videos on YouTube, and I’d love to sit down and pick your brain. Big no-no, don’t do that. Have a problem. Have a specific problem that you can dive into, or you can connect that mentor, that potential mentor, to the challenge that you’re facing so that they can say oh, that’s something I’ve been through and I can give you some quick thoughts.
Now the second thing I want to share with you guys, is make sure that you start small. The biggest mistake you can make is reaching out to one of these potential mentors and saying, hey, I’d love to come and visit your office, and get a tour. I mean, I heard people say that. They’re like, oh, I’m in town, I’d love to come to your office, meet your staff, get a tour of your business, and I’m like, why? I don’t have time to do that. I’m busy, I have a company to grow. And what I want to suggest to you guys is start small and build from there. So what’s start small mean? It might mean just getting a response via email. Maybe it’s a very specific question like, Hey, Dan, I’ve seen you’ve gone through this in the past. I’m going through this scenario, very short, one sentence each, what do you suggest I do, A or B? And just have them respond, start small, get an interaction going.
Then the key, and this is the 3rd aspect you need to get really great at to find and keep great mentors, is circle back.
You know, if I respond to an email and I say, you know, I don’t really understand the whole context of your situation but based on want you’ve told me, I would suggest going with option B. In six months, maybe after you’ve already played out the scenario, or maybe even sooner in six weeks, you can circle back and say, hey, this is what you suggested I do, I did it, that’s the key, is take action, and here are the results. And to me, that is probably the most valuable thing you can give a mentor, is not only be an active listener and ask really great questions, but on the other side is, circle back and let them know how their advice or their guidance helped you.
I mean, to me, as a mentor, and I’ve been fortunate enough to mentor dozens of entrepreneurs over the years, it’s just the way, it’s kind of the circle of value, is they ask you questions, you give them answers, and then they go and either do or don’t do them. And I would suggest circling back even if you don’t follow up with them.
But that will give them some value. And the other thing I want to share with you guys is a big idea, is really to give praise back to your mentors. You know, any chance I get to do a video like this, or if I’m on stage, I love telling this story about Gerry, Ken, and Steve, and just how invaluable their advice was at that specific moment and time, I was 26, I was really, really struggling, I seriously was about on the verge of going bankrupt, and I just needed some guidance. I needed somebody to kind of say, you know what, the biggest thing that I heard from all three of them, check this out, the biggest advice I got was, you know what, you’re doing really well.
And at the time I thought I was a complete failure, even though the company had grown millions in revenue, dozens of employees, I really thought that I wasn’t doing something right because obviously I wouldn’t be in this position and I thought, just having somebody tell me that not only it’s normal, but you’re doing well, congratulations for having these kind of problems, that, to me, unlocked so much potential and really why I’ve been able to go on and build the other companies that I have.
So I want to share that with you guys because I think that the most important thing you can get from mentors is to make you feel like you’re not alone. And that will really help you grow your business and really achieve in life. So I want to ask you guys to like this video. Leave a comment below and let me know if you have a mentor, how did you find them. You know, help everybody else watching this video. Leave a comment below. Tell the story of how you found your mentor.
I think that’s a big question everybody asks. Then I also want to challenge you guys to live a bigger life and a bigger business and I’ll see you guys next Monday..
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