Let’s get right down to business : How to find the five mentors (a follow-up to our very actively tweeted post on five mentors). Over the years, in working with many hundreds – possibly gazillions – of women from 18 on up, I’ve learned the following when it comes to finding mentors: Many people get stressed about it. Unusually stressed, in fact.
So, here is the NUMBER ONE tip right out of the gate! How great is this?
When approaching a mentor, say you’re doing it as part of a class or a structured program. It’s a big ice breaker. (But don’t lie. You’ll lose your credibility, unless you’ve already lost it. Hopefully, at least, it was in a fun way. If your credibility is in tact, make a commitment to find your five mentors and structure the process. Suggestions below.)
EXAMPLES of Ice Breakers:
Students at GW: “I’m in Professor Frey’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Class and as part of my project, need to find and interview a mentor.”
You (assuming you are not one of my students): “I’m working through a structured mentoring program (of my own creation, that I read about on this blog).” Yada yada.
If the idea still stresses you out, get over it ASAP because the last post shows us it can make or break your career.
How to Find Your Five
It’s all laid out here. Well, in overview form…Here is the assignment sent to my Sis U workshop attendees in October (all about women, power, connections, proof). You can do it too (I say “do” with hesitance, because I sometimes believe many folks would rather consume information than act…but, I would love to be proved wrong):
1. Think about five areas in which you’d like to learn more and or feel supported. These are areas that you believe are critical to your success. Sample topics could include “social media, board management, financing….all the way through work life balance, kids and parenting.)
2. In each of the five areas, identify one-to-two people you know(even as acquaintances) that could be helpful.
3. Approach them.
- Over-complicate and try to get it perfect, 5 areas, 5 to 10 people on a list, that’s it
- List people you DON’T know
- Develop a sudden social anxiety disorder where you start eliminating people from your list, because you “don’ t want to bother them” or “haven’t talked with them in a long time.” Be brave.
- Five is the magic number of mentors for women. (1)
- People who seek out mentors go higher in their careers, and are paid more. (2)
1. Find mentors
2. Find five of them
Hot Mommas = Dynamic Women.
We increase confidence of Gen Y, Gen X, and beyond. We are the world’s LARGEST women’s case study library (HQed at the George Washington University School of Business, CFEE). We measurably increase confidence and success factors (through our #SisU learning tools and events) up to 200%. More about us.
Email us about starting a mentor program in your organization.
(1) Frey, Katherine K. Five is the Magic Number for Women. Original Hot Mommas Project research in partnership with the George Washington University School of Business, Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
(2) Blickle, Witzkia and Schneidera. Self-initiated mentoring and career success