We live in a time where more information and resources are available than ever.
The Internet has made it possible to connect with people you would have never been able to otherwise. Social media provides us with the incredible power to reach out to anyone.
With all the resources that come with the so-called “information age” we live in, many of us squander the benefits of access by reading useless websites or following celebrities– a huge waste of time.
Think about it. There are hundreds of people out there who are either doing what you want to be doing. There are thousands you can learn from. It’s easier than ever to find and meet these people. All it takes is a little time and effort.
This week I am challenging you to do something we often talk about, but rarely act on: find a mentor.
Hereâ€™s how you will do that.
Todayâ€™s homework is to reach out to someone you donâ€™t already know and ask for advice.
Even though this can be scary and uncomfortable, the returns can be enormous. People are hesitant because it feels “forced” and they donâ€™t want to look like they’re taking and not giving.
One way to alleviate this is to ask: “What do I have to offer this person?”
The value that you offer could be anything from user experience feedback, to talking about a shared interest. When you think of it as a shared give-and-take, itâ€™ll feel more natural and less like some kind of networking exercise.
Take a minute a write down a few things you have to offer someone.
One great place to find potential mentors is at events. Go to events, conferences, and meet-ups, ready to ask questions. If you show genuine enthusiasm, you’ll have already established a good rapport and connection, which will make everything that much easier.
If going to an event is too scary, you can also build a relationship from email or Twitter. Almost everyone responds well to tweets–sometimes even better than email. Even if they donâ€™t, you wonâ€™t have lost anything by reaching out.
Donâ€™t forget to use the network that you already have. Make a short post on Twitter or Facebook, asking your friends if they know anyone who is an expert in knitting, coding, writing, or whatever else.
As you do this, youâ€™ll discover that it’s not actually that painful. Most people are more than willing to share their knowledge with someone who is interested. There is absolutely no risk in reaching out – and who knows, you may find an invaluable life-long mentor just by taking this one step.
So choose someone. Reach out to them and offer to meet them. Today.
This assignment was sent to me by Dale Stephens, who I mentored at the Thiel Fellowship over the past year. His book, Hacking Your Education, is out now.
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