So you've got an idea, a plan, and the drive to make it happen. But then you realize what you want is an adult to help you navigate the crazy world of, well, adults. Sometimes it can be difficult to communicate your ideas without the help of an adult. Having a mentor can be an extremely beneficial opportunity to get an adult's perspective and further your idea. A mentor is an experienced and trusted person that has a certain area of expertise. They can help you through the difficult parts of developing your idea, as well as celebrating the good parts. We've come up with 8 tips to helping you find that mentor.
1. MAKE SURE YOU'RE ON THE SAME PAGE.
Setting clear boundaries and expectations is crucial to any professional relationship. Determine things like when and how often you'd like to meet, what specifically you would like for them to help you with, and what you expect from this relationship. By making sure you're on the same page in the beginning, you'll be able to find the right mentor for you and help you get what you want out of the relationship from the beginning.
2. BE OPEN MINDED.
You never know who could help you the most. Be open minded about all of the possibilities. Maybe the best mentor for you is someone you would have never imagined, but you'll never know until you go in with an open mind.
3. STEER CLEAR OF YOUR TEACHERS & PARENTS.
Parents and teachers are incredible resources, and you should most definitely use them. However, it's best if you steer clear of using them as your mentor. There are so many more people out there with resources other than your parents and teachers. Mentors are there to offer a different perspective than what you're usually given.
4. USE YOUNG TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
Sometimes it can be hard to get adults to take you seriously because you're young. (This blog post has advice from other idea girls for how to overcome that.) But at the same time, you can use being young to your advantage. You can offer your mentor a unique perspective, too, so be sure that they understand what you bring to the table.
5. USE SOCIAL MEDIA.
Reaching out to adults that you admire on social media is a great way to break the ice and connect with them. Most professionals are on Twitter and sometimes Instagram, so responding to a tweet of theirs or sending them a direct message will help you initiate a conversation.
6. SAY "PLEASE" AND "THANK YOU".
Never under estimate the power of the magic words.
7. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Know who you're asking to be your mentor. What have they done in the past? Have they made a major career change? What do they do now? What's the company that they work for like? What wisdom can they provide you with? A simple internet search will do, but be sure to know who they are before you start a conversation with them.
8. BE PROFESSIONAL.
Professionalism is key for making adults take you seriously. If a kid can communicate with them in a professional manner, it catches their attention. Learn how to craft an email, start a conversation in person, and present yourself in a manner that makes it clear that you mean business.
If you're looking for a mentor and aren't sure where to start, feel free to contact us and we can help.