Let’s be real with each other, lady:
Working for yourself can be one of the most isolating experiences out there.
Day in, day out, we toil away in our home offices, or in cafes, or on our couches in our yoga pants (!!), working with clients, writing blog posts, figuring out our marketing, and generally working our booties off to get to that next step — whatever that may be for us.
Of course, you’re making it work! But even when you love what you do, slogging away in solitude to get to the next level is a tough gig, fraught with self-doubt, confusion and entrepreneurial anxiety. (BTW if you just thought YES GIRL, know you’re not alone. I continue to spend plenty of time with these emotions myself!). In fact, I learnt a long time ago that relying solely on my own knowledge and experiences is NOT necessarily the best way to go after my goals.
I reckon there’s one investment that can make a huge difference when it comes to really nailing your vision of success, making strides in your business, getting your work out there sooner.
And that investment is? A mentor.
Now before you say “Nah Kate, I don’t really think I need one. My yoga pants and I are doing just fine on our own, thank you,” I want to tell you a story:
A few years ago, I looked around and noticed that business was good. Like, really good.
I started winning new clients, and my business began to pick up. I was working smarter, making decisions more quickly, and taking more risks that were paying off.
I was also thinking differently, and really feeling all-around upleveled. And importantly, I was feeling great in my business day to day.
What was the spark that caused all that awesome momentum and positivity?
I knew at the time and I can see it even more clearly now, that a big part of it was… that I had started working with the right mentor for me.
At the time, it was the biggest investment I’d made in my business to date (to the heart-stopping tune of roughly $20,000) — and it was worth it. Not only was I getting the advice and support I needed to really skyrocket to the next level of success I’d envisioned, but (and now, this is important!) when I’d made the decision to say yes to working with my mentor? My entire energy shifted.
I was clearer. More focused. More dedicated. And moving more quickly and intentionally than I ever had before.
Here’s why I’m telling you this: I know you’ve probably made fine progress in your business on your own.
But if you haven’t made great headway on your goals yet this year? It’s probably time for you to seek out a mentor of some kind to help.
Hot tip: Many mentors are likely to be opening their books for some kind of mid-year intake for this exact reason.
Not sure you need a mentor yet? If you’re feeling stuck (and have been for a while) I firmly believe you owe it to your business, and your dreams, and the people you can help through your business to take action.
A mentor will help light a fire under your ass, give you the accountability you need, and also help you up-level energetically, in order to see that next tier of epic success you’ve been aiming for.
Mentors come in all shapes and sizes and price points… But how do you find the right one?
Everyone looks for something different in a mentor, but when I’m seeking one out? I have quite a specific list of criteria — for them, and myself. Today I’m sharing the 8 signs I look for.
Whether you’re in the market for a mentor now or thinking of seeking one out in the future? I hope this information will help guide you along the way.
Feel free to use this list, or just choose or reinterpret the signs you like to suit your needs.
Here we go!
BTW: I’ve learnt when it comes to finding your perfect mentor, there are some critical questions I MUST ask myself first. Spending a little time thinking through and journalling my responses to these questions has saved me buckets of time, money and frustration. And of course, I’m happy to share the exact questions I ask with you! Grab your copy of my ‘Before The Mentor’ Checklist: 11 Questions To Discover Exactly What You Need Now!
The first sign of a great mentor: I find their work and content captivating.
If I’m reading their blog posts, or watching their videos or Facebook lives, and their content is really jumping off the screen like it was created just for me? That’s the first indicator I should get to know this person better.
I know I’m on the right track when I feel like I can’t get enough of their content, and I can’t help but pay attention to their work.
The second sign of a great mentor: They really know their shit.
I always want to feel confident in my mentor’s experience and credibility, so expertise is important to me.
Full disclosure: I don’t think qualifications are everything, or even all that important — yep, I’m saying this even though I have a PhD. School-based learning isn’t the only way for someone to know their shit.
I put a lot of weight on someone’s innate strengths, results and the depth of knowledge they’ve developed through their own business and/or life journey. I know in my own life (and I bet you do too!) that learning through trial and error can often be a far more powerful teacher than a textbook.
The third sign of a great mentor: They have great testimonials.
If I’m looking for a mentor, I hope that they have a Praise or Testimonial page on their website, because I’ll be diving in! And I don’t just read them to hear the accolades — I’m especially interested to see if their past clients are in situations similar to my own.
For example, maybe they’re at a similar stage in business, or have similar struggles to me, and have subsequently had the kind of experience that I would like to have with a mentor.
My thinking is that if these past clients have had a great experience, there’s a solid chance I will too.
The fourth sign of a great mentor: I know they’ll hold me accountable.
When I’m working with a mentor, I want to put myself in a situation where I can’t hide and I can’t get left behind (even though I don’t necessarily love it at the time).
The truth is I’m especially going to need some kind but firm accountability if taking action on whatever I’m learning/experimenting with is going to see me outside of my comfort zone. You see, I know myself well enough to know that stepping outside of my comfort zone brings up A TON of fear and resistance.
If I get the feeling a potential mentor is going to let me get away with murder and hang out in my own bullshit, they aren’t the one for me.
The fifth sign of a great mentor: They have previously been, or are currently, where I would like to go with my particular goals.
For example, if I’m looking for a business mentor, have they been where I am now? Or have they gotten to where I want to be? If I’m looking for a health mentor, have they dealt with similar health challenges? Or are they radiantly healthy?
Their experience doesn’t need to be exactly the same, and they don’t even have to be in the same industry or have the same business model. But I like to get the sense that we understand each other and they understand my desires and challenges on a personal level because they’ve been there and they have achieved what I hope to achieve.
The sixth sign of a great mentor: Really great energy.
I want to connect with the energy of my mentor, because I think energy is one of the most critical factors in having fun in the mentorship experience, and also keeping myself in momentum.
Speaking of: Momentum is one of the most powerful things we can have in our life, in our business, and on our road to achieving goals in all things. For me, a great energetic connection really helps me create more of that momentum, sooner.
The seventh sign of a great mentor: They get me (because I know I’m not for everyone).
Look, perhaps it’s my Australian way of looking at things, but I know I tend to think about things and communicate in my own unique way (For example, sarcasm and NSFW jokes are life!).
That’s why feeling like I have a genuine connection and understanding with my mentor is essential. If they don’t get me, it’s just not gonna work.
The eighth sign of a great mentor: I’m confident I’ll get a mega-return on my investment.
Now, I want to be really clear: I know there are no guarantees, particularly when it comes to a mentoring type of relationship.
The onus is completely on me about whether or not I get results because it’s all about whether or not I take action, exactly how I take action, how I add my own strengths and personality into the mix, and how I connect with my audience etc.
Regardless of a mentor’s policies around guarantees/refunds etc, I know there are no guarantees. In fact, I never seek them. Even when I made that heart-stoppingly-big $20,000 investment, I didn’t ask if there was a refund policy or money-back guarantee.
Why? Because I know that in the end, my results come down to me stepping up, applying what I’m learning, adding my own magic and consistently taking action.
BUT while I don’t ask about or expect guarantees from mentors, I do check in with myself about the minimum return on investment I’d need to feel comfortable, and how confident I am that I’ll be able to step up and apply the stuff I learn during the mentorship.
The ninth and final sign of a great mentor: They are respectful and hold me as powerful.
This should go without saying, but after hearing about an experience a friend of mine had with a potential mentor recently, I’m compelled to add this sign to the list.
You see, my friend’s business had taken off like a rocket and she knew she needed help to get things under control and go to the next level. She met with a potential mentor, a well regarded and pricey guy, who’d been recommended to her. During the meeting, he was sexist, condescending and made disparaging comments about her friends (think: ‘don’t worry, if I could sort [friend’s name] out, I can sort you out, love!’), and by all accounts slyly fuelled her fears, insecurities and doubts.
If I’m feeling insecure and off – rather than excited about the possibilities – after meeting with a potential mentor, it’s a no.
You never need to work with anyone that makes you feel small, disempowered, or icky. NEVER EVER.
I hope you found this week’s post useful, brilliant woman!
And, if you’re on the hunt for a mentor, don’t forget to grab your copy of my Before The Mentor Checklist. Spend 30 minutes completing this bad boy and prepare yourself to find the perfect mentor for you!