For today's blog, I am going to cover how to find a mentor and explain exactly how you can maintain that relationship as well as gain more moving forward. I only speak from personal experiences, and what has benefited me in my life.
What is a mentor? (my definition) :
A person that comes from experience and wisdom from past events that they have gone through, that shares the dos & don'ts as well as guide you with tips and advice to be successful.
(My highschool graduation, feat. Pen McBain, great mentor and friend. 2019)
Captured by Portland Portraits
My First Mentor (Context + Storytime)
I was 15 years old. Anxious, not as confident, and just focusing on my own tasks at hand ; which was to show up, learn, be social with those in my circle, then go home. It was a simple life, but I definitely wanted to make positive changes at the time for me that I knew would benefit me in the longterm.
One of the days during the school week, my career guidance counselor pulled me aside as I was on my way to my last period, (P.E). He mentioned that he had brought in a guest speaker for his career transitions class and highly encouraged I skip P.E to see him speak because the guest speaker had an incredible story and cool company to share for inspiration.
This guest speaker that spoke, was Dan Gaul, (CTO and Co-Founder of Digital Trends - a successful tech review media company.) Dan shared his story and 15 year old me was immediately engaged and inspired to be in that moment. The class was a full house and every student absorbed, but when it came to the end, I resulted in being one of the ONLY student to walk up to Dan afterwards, to network, make that first impression and share what I was passionate about.
Little did I realize, this small action would be one of the most impactful decisions of my life which resulted in setting me up for future opportunities. For just stepping forward, introducing myself, giving thanks and sharing my passions with Dan, it developed into having my first mentor that was willing to showcase guidance and help establish a beneficial network within the industry. I will never forget this because if it weren't for my career guidance counselor pulling me aside to listen and hear what Dan had to say, it would not be the same today. So all in all, I want to say thank you Mac (my guidance counselor) for the encouragement, and thank you Dan for deciding to step in and mentor me.
(My highschool graduation, featuring Dan Gaul, 2019)
Captured by Portland Portraits
Now for the Juicy Stuff
Put yourself out there.
My goal in sharing my experience of obtaining my first mentor, was to show you all that it takes is to make the first step in putting yourself out there. You do that, I guarantee you will find success in doing so. By putting yourself out there, it will allow things to open up many doors for you and your future. I find it highly important next to networking. As an added bonus, putting yourself out there will benefit you in the longterm because you never know how the person you meet/network with could make a positive impact or change in your life.
Long from being 15, unsure of what was next exactly, I am on the verge of turning 21, with a lot of experience under my belt from different opportunities I have gotten from not only Dan, but many other amazing mentors / friends I have gathered along the way. Dan has been not only a great mentor of mine for the past 5 years, but he has been a tremendous friend and idol I have learned a lot from as I have continued to grow. Once I met Dan, I was able to build my network into where it is today, and I could not be more grateful!
Maintaining the Mentorship
Mentors are not for everybody, but I highly recommend seeking one. Let's just say this : you got your first mentor now..yay congratulations! Now how do you maintain the relationship and continue to build off of it?
First things first, and that is commitment. Every relationship takes commitment and communication - even when it comes to mentorship. Having a mentor and learning how to leverage one, is major because you want to keep following up and they are mainly there to help and see you succeed, so keep reaching out! Schedule meetings, memorize their favorite food, know their birthdays, trust me, this is a great impression! All of this is important because not only are they your mentor(s), but they are also your friend(s).
Conclusion & Takeaways
Here is a summary of what we went over for todays blog :
Taking that first step out of your comfort zone
Putting yourself out there
Networking, share your passions
KNOW your mentors
If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door
Maintaining the mentor/friendship
Just like every other blog, I hope this helped you in anyway or inspired you to get out there and network because you never know what you are missing or what opportunity is there for you. Go out and get it, and I strongly believe having a mentor will highly benefit you. Then again, mentors are not for everybody, however, you just never know what is in store for you when seeking a mentor is your intention or not. Lastly, just because this worked for me, does not mean this has to work for you, but I wish you all the best of luck of doing so because having a mentor or multiple, is a special thing.
Thank you for tuning in, and catch you in the next blog!
All the best,