When it comes to finding a mentor, there a numerous ways of going about it. For this post, I’ll share the four ways I’ve explored personally, and by the end you’ll have some great ideas to help you in your own journey to find a mentor.
1. Our Social Circles
I’ve found there is nothing better than a friend mentoring us. A spouse, brother or a relative can be great mentors, but do so with caution since family relationships can cause difficult dynamics, and they are not easily resolved.
While playing football for my university back home, I was fortunate enough to have a friend who played with me, own the responsibility of mentoring me. He was one of the few working as a programmer in the private sector.
Many of my friends and I were studying to work for the government. My friend walked me through the options of getting hired from the benches of a university as an intern which was a foreign idea to me at that time. He was a sound guide as I begun my programming career, and he was a mentor I could share my doubts and fears with. This is a friendship I’ve maintained to this day.
I encourage you to look around where you spend time and find a mentor in someone you already naturally connect with.
2. The Workplace
Work is a great place to find a mentor. While there may be situations where there is not someone we can look towards for help and guidance, we usually have an opportunity to find a guide in our vocational environments.
Recently, I decided to change my job as a result of a discussion with my team leader. What I saw in him was a my future. With strong opinions about programming language usage, he did not dismiss new technology without good reason. He was skilled at keeping projects in line with the progression of technology. His example inspired me and he became the model of what I sought to become.
When you come across work opportunities with strong leaders, take advantage of the opportunity to learn. If you’re discontent with the company or job, but you have a strong leader, consider staying longer, there is science that proves that a mentor is most efficient if followed for 18 months.
If you find there is no one in the workplace you could seek out as a mentor, consider looking for a different career opportunity where you could find this type of guidance. By settling for a work environment with poor leadership, you could make a huge mistake.
3. Virtual Mentors Found Online
While our social circle and work are great places to find a mentor, they are also limited. For this reason video streams and podcasts allow us to find virtual mentors. While there are numerous mentors online, I’ve decided to follow John Sonmez, Dan Martell and Tai Lopez.
John Sonmez is a programmer that has built a brand around himself and tackles most of the problems you face as a growing software engineer.
Dan Martell is a Canadian software engineer and entrepreneur famous for growing and selling great startups which explores the problems that most engineers, like me, face when trying to build their own products.
Tai Lopez is one of the best internet marketing experts from the Valley. His views on tackling the human fears and going after truth rather than convenience have impressed me, and I am still learning from him.
As a virtual mentee, I’ve found there are three key components for a powerful virtual mentorship.
First, the mentor walks us through a process they’ve developed and share stories of this process in action. Many of virtual mentors share to groups, video streams, blogs and podcasts. Second, they create a channel for interaction. This allows the followers to ask questions and get more specific help for their personal need. Lastly, powerful virtual mentors explain ways to improve through personal stories in ways that connect with where we as mentees are in our journey.
Mentorship is an investment in intelligence. Get a mentor to protect your investment.
4. Events, Meetups & Conferences
With the first three methods historically working well for me, meetups and conferences are a mentor search method that has been difficult for me, because of my introverted personality.
Pushing through the uncomfort, I’ve expanded my circle of friends by attending meetups and conferences. As these relationships grow, they become people I envision as mentors for me down the road. This method becomes a great source for connecting with others who are in our same industry. In addition to conferences and meetups, you could also explore masterminds and hackathons, like I intend to do in the near future.
What about you? What places and methods have you found as great resources for finding good actual and virtual mentors?
Decebal Dobrica is a PHP & Symfony2 programmer working at eMag.ro. He’s Fascinated by progress and entrepreneurship. He attended ATM Bucuresti and currently lives in Bucuresti.