Question: ‘Hi Arnel, I’ve been your avid reader since you’ve started your blog. I’ve been also investing for a while and now I’m studying/starting to trade. I’ve joined couple of facebook groups but I’ve been always fell victim of hyping. I had some mentors before but I had bad experiences with them. Now, I’m on my own but I’m still hoping to find a great mentor,if not, a good one who I can learn from”
Jacob Manansala,Musician,Quezon City
Hi Jacob, thank you for bringing this up as also others are experiencing. It shows that you’re so eager to learn and wanted to knock doors to look for somebody that you can look up to. I appreciate your heart to acknowledge the need of a mentor. “No man is an island” which my favorite quote always reminds me. I saw myself in you few years ago when I just started in the investment world. Having mentors is essential to life, will it be in personal life, career,and in business. But finding one takes careful/diligent action plans. Some have found good mentors but some have not. It’s like looking for a gem on white sands. Looking for a mentor really takes time, however, it’s very possible to happen.
I grew up an introvert and I was not exposed much to meet new people. I just realized later in life when somebody pushes me so hard and made me believed its importance. My failures in life and in my business ventures might have been avoided if I was able to find mentors earlier. The damage could be much lesser.
Ask yourself what you want in a mentor
We often admire people of success and we want to be like them and do what they have achieved in life. At least by following them, we may possibly duplicate their “secret ingredients”, that’s why Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Ellon Musk have millions of followers in social media. According to the “law of respect”, People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves.
Robert Kiyosaki says, “Your Mentors in life are important, so choose them wisely”. In my previous blog 6 Reasons Why You Are Still Not Saving, I wrote about my story on how I followed a radio program and how it catapulted me into the personal finance and investment world. I took a due diligence to learn from them. It was very clear to me what my goal was.
I’ve read an article in Forbes.com How to Find a Great Mentor- First, Don’t Ask a Stranger,The author says that Strangers (especially people in the media and the public eye who’ve become “huge” successes, as the individual above mentions) will virtually always have to say “no” to mentoring requests from strangers. Why? Because their time is already spoken for, and they’re drowning in similar requests. Secondly, they don’t have a relationship with you, and therefore can’t know how you operate or if it’s a great investment of their time to help you.
She then added, Don’t ask for mentorship, but follow their work, and be helpful and supportive. Give, and give more. Tweet out their posts, comment in a positive way on their blogs, share their updates, start a discussion on LinkedIn drawing on their post, refer new clients or business to them, and the list goes on. In short, offer your unique voice, perspectives, experiences and resources to further the action and conversation that these influencers have sparked. Understand that you are able to be of service to them, and go out and do it.
Well, in my case, I’m still fortunate to be diligent enough to pursue my prospect-mentors. That has to be intentional. You should be the one to make all possible ways to connect to them not the other way around.
I’m a fan of Shark Tank, a widely-popular TV show in the U.S. which shows inventors/entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas to investors to raise funds and hoping to collaborate with these highly-successful investors/businessmen. It’s not only how great the ideas is, but how persistent they are to have these investors take on board with them. That is being intentional!
Be Connected to a small/support group
Now, I have to be specific with this. You have to be connected to be in a community or small group. Yes, we have mushrooming facebook groups that you can join but as much as possible, be connected to like-minded groups that you can “personally meet regularly”. Personal is always better than virtual. From there, you can choose who to follow which you can look up to. Be exposed on events where your prospect mentors are always around. You might bump with that guy and you can start a very nice small talks! That would surely make your day!
I have lot of mentors in life and I’m regularly learning from them. In my personal life, business, and investment. I have a mentor in specific field, say for technical analysis or investing U.S. stocks or in Digital Marketing or SEO. It’s a 2-way relationships. They are my accountability partners and they have become friends.
Decide what specific role you’d like your mentor to provide. Write down any problems or specific requirements you might have regarding the field and subject matter. It would be helpful to answer the following questions:
- What would you like to learn?
- What are you looking for from your mentor?
- How will the mentorship “look”?
- How often would you like to meet? Where?
Find somebody who has credibility and integrity
I had terrible experiences of following wrong guys. I thought I could always take advantage of all the social media has to offer for free. So I took some “free advice” thinking I got a good bargain. I lost 50,000 pesos on a bad trade from a person who just hyped me when I was a newbie investor.
Choose a person who has a good track record. It’s very challenging to gauge them through social media accounts so so it at your own risk. Take a thorough research and do back check. If I see that that is that person I’m looking for, I’ll do what it takes to pursue him. There’s no free lunch, so most of the time you have to pay for it. Most often than not with a high “price tag”. Yes I paid some of my mentors but I got more than what I paid.
According to Leadership Resources, there are these qualities of mentors that you can put on your checklist;
- Available – available by phone, email, in person, to help build the relationship and answer beginning questions newbie might have.
- Patient – People learn at different speeds, and some need more guidance than others.
- Sensitive – Tact and diplomacy are vital. Many people are afraid to face their fears and/or work on weaknesses.
- Respectful – Each person is unique – respectful for newbie wishes and not pushing too hard.
- Flexible – Life happens; he always remembers that not everything goes according to plan and he may have to allow for last minute changes or shifts in goals.
- Supportive – Demonstrate pride for what the newbie has accomplished. Be an advocate for their development.
- Knowledgeable – Know what he can offer to a newbie – what is his area of expertise? What knowledge/experience will benefit the newbie?
- Confident – A mentor should come across as self-assured, friendly, and eager to help.
- Good Listener– By being a good listener, he enables the newbie to articulate any problem and sort things out.
- Concerned – A good mentor must genuinely care about people and want to help people become their best.
Listen to the “word of Mouth”
We always want to have a confirmation and yes that is so true. Before I’m going to meet a person, I’ll do a research. I’ll check some form of reviews by any other people he already meets. “Voice of the customer” is always the king, so consider listening to people about that person. Ask around!
According to Nielsen: 91% of Filipinos trust word-of-mouth recommendations. You can check the full article here: http://www.rappler.com/business/industries/107461-nielsen-global-trust-advertising-survey.
Try your “First Move”
It does not end there. Start approaching your potential mentors. Work your way down the list until someone agrees to fulfill the relationship as you’ve outlined it.If you don’t get anyone the first go-around, don’t worry. It may have nothing to do with you personally and more to do with the person’s schedule or other issues. Start again and consider possible mentors who’ve got more time on their hands, or who may be more willing to work with you.
Make plans to meet. Don’t leave the relationship hanging once you’ve gotten someone to agree. Make concrete plans to get together. If the first meeting goes well, plan subsequent meetings. You might consider asking at that point, “Mind if we make this a regular thing?”