When you look up the word “mentor” in Merriam-Webster, you’ll find a short description: a trusted counselor or guide.
Often, going it alone or figuring it out by yourself can seem like the boldest, most heroic option. But even the most powerful superheroes have support.
When you consider successful businessmen and women, you’ll find they’ve had mentors somewhere along the way. Richard Branson and Mary Barra share how their mentor experiences shaped them and their careers. Whether it’s simply listening to someone and evaluating their advice, or drawing up a clear mentorship with a longtime yoga owner three cities over, there can be numerous benefits to a mentorship from guidance and advice to simply having a sounding board.
But how do you go about seeking a mentor? Here are a few tips when it comes to finding that perfect mentor-mentee fit:
Broaden Your View
When you’re looking for a mentor, think outside the box. It doesn’t have to be another yoga teacher or yoga studio owner. Sometimes, having a mentor in a totally different career path can be a positive. They will see things differently and can probably help you problem solve in ways you never thought about before. Also, mentors don’t have to be someone who owns an entire company or runs a team of 20 people. A mentor can be a co-worker, a co-teacher, a friend or family member. “That girl standing next to you could be the one to hire you in five years, or could be the one contact at a major brand whose sponsor dollars you need. It’s a tiny planet and relationships are everything,” said Geneva S. Thomas in Fast Company’s “Successful People Share How Not to Find a Mentor.
Don’t Ask Strangers
It can be easy to fall into the mindset that the best mentor would be an Instagram-star yogi or prominent studio owner. But that’s one of Kathy Caprino’s first pieces of advice in her Forbes article, “How to Find a Great Mentor –– First, Don’t Ask Strangers.” Find those who inspire you that you already know. But if there is someone you’d like to one day have as your mentor, Caprino suggested to give, give, give. “Don’t ask for mentorship, but follow their work, and be helpful and supportive,” she wrote. “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.”
Use Your Resources
Did you know there are free, online resources that help small business owners connect with one another? Well, now you know. For example, SCORE is a nonprofit association – supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) – that can provide you with confidential business mentoring at little to no cost. The SBA also offers mentoring services and resources for the small business owner. There’s a plethora of other mentoring resources out there as well, including ones like Yoga Business Academy which is specific to the yoga studio owner.