In my opinion, mentorships is like any relationship – the parties involved need to have chemistry as well as, shared outlook and goals.If you have to force it, it will not work. This is often where it goes wrong with mentorship. You ask, and the other person out of politeness accepts, but it never feels natural. Ask yourself this, how many of the people who you have asked to be mentors are still in your life 3-4 years down the line? And yet that one friend, teacher, lecturer, colleague, relative who you have never asked, is always available for you 24/7. Perhaps you do not value what they do because you have never “formalised” this relationship by calling them “mentor” but this is what they are.
Asking someone to be your mentor is a tall order because you are often asking a non relative to commit to you when in fact he/she may not even know you very well and may already have a full diary. Trust me when I say, when a person sees someone working hard, someone who has focus, someone who never gives up, someone who no matter what, keeps moving forward, it is natural to want to do all that you can to assist and guide them in their journey. A mentor is not someone who gives up their precious time to nag you; no. A mentor should be there to enhance the raw talent or goals that you already have. A mentor is not your parent i.e. they do not and will not love you unconditionally or nag you until you do something.
A mentor is often busy with his/her own family and other commitments. If you confuse a mentor with someone who needs to remind you to do things then perhaps you need to get an alarm clock or, use the calendar on your phone as a reminder.
It is you who has to do the heavy lifting and the mentor is there as the icing on the cake – he/she is not the cake – you are. You have to decide on the cake i.e. the ingredients; what your goals are and want it is that you want in life, the baking (steps needed to achieve these goals), watching the oven (focus & discipline) while the mentor is the icing- they are adding something sweet to what is already a wonderful cake. You can have the best mentor in the world but if you are lazy then no matter how good the mentor is, they cannot live your life and underneath that sweet icing, is a raw, cake with bad quality ingredients – not tasty at all.
So, work hard, be disciplined, be focussed, contact people for their advice, show potential mentors the progress you have made, and believe me, many of them will invite themselves to be your mentor – officially or unofficially – when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
Wishing you all, a successful and prosperous week as you set your goals and objectives and begin to bake the wonderful cake called you!