How To Find A Strong Mentor

I’m 30 years old. I have a healthy marriage. A great relationship with my children. Zero debt. And I make almost $1 million a year. None of this would be true without a few strong mentors in my life. Here’s what you need to know. 

In this week’s podcast lesson (above), I discuss my view on mentorships, the true goals of this type of relationship, and how to find one. Below, I have outlined what was discussed in this episode.

dale-partridge

Mentorship is the quickest way to success. It’s almost like cheating… I call it growth hacking. This single relationship will provide you the wisdom, velocity, and life protection you can’t find anywhere else.

What exactly is a mentorship?

At the core, mentorship is a safe and vulnerable relationship between two people. Typically one is older (and wiser) and the other (the mentee) is younger and untrained. The goal for the mentor is to both teach and hand down legacy. The goal of the mentee is to grow and learn from the mentor. In essence, the entire purpose of a mentor relationship is summed up in this statement.

Self evaluation is helpful, but evaluation by another is essential.

There are two critical roles for the mentor:

  1. Reveal Blind Spots: The mentor should help their protege see obstacles and dangers they do not see. This could be anything from bad habits and attitude adjustments to bad business decisions and red flags.
  2. Provide Shortcuts: The mentor has insight, leverage, clarity, and history. From these areas of expertise, they can offer accelerated transit toward the mentee’s goals.

There are three types of mentorships:

  1. Organic or Traditional Mentorship: An unpaid relationship between two close, safe individuals. Typically focused on more intimate personal and professional growth.
  2. Paid Mentorship: Regularly seen in a one-on-one or group setting. Often times this type of relationship is expensive. The learning is less intimate but still powerful.
  3. Curriculum Based Mentorship: Often seen in a community setting led with videos, tasks, and homework. Similar to our curriculum here at StartupCamp. Price is typically cheaper, focused on specific growth, and a great place to start.

Below, I will briefly outline a few rules for each of the three types of mentorships. My hope is this clarity will enable you to adopt one of these options for your life.

Rules Of An Organic or Traditional Mentorship:

  1. An organic mentorship must evolve from a strong relationship. Asking a stranger who you admire to mentor you is inappropriate. A relationship must be established first for an organic mentorship to work.
  2. A mentorship is not solely friendship, it’s a relationship built on growth and teaching. If you don’t place clear boundaries, milestones, and expectations around your mentorship, it won’t work.
  3. A mentorship must feel emotionally safe. Most of our healing comes from dark parts of our lives, if you won’t allow access to these areas, you won’t make much progress.

Rules Of A Paid Mentorship:

  1. Consider this an investment into your success. Often times there is a cost to growth, this one is worthy.
  2. The growth model should be focused. It’s common that paid mentorships are for specific areas of learning. The mentee should clarify expectations, goals, and desired results before jumping in.
  3. Mentorships aren’t short. Don’t plan for anything less than 3 months at a minimum of 6 sessions. Because it requires time to feel close, the real growth won’t occur until later in the journey. My suggestion is plan for 6-12 months to see prime results.

Rules Of A Curriculum Membership:

  1. This requires dedication. Because a curriculum mentorship lacks the direct one-on-one accountability, you will be required to remain disciplined on your own. No mentorship program works for quitters, especially curriculum programs.
  2. Pay attention to the content quality. Because the content is your teacher, you should expect the utmost quality in their videos, writings, PDF’s, and more.
  3. Make sure it includes a community. The best curriculum programs have a tight-knit community of fellow students. For StartupCamp, it’s our private Facebook group. You need a place to build relationships with people who are sharing your journey.

In reality, you can go slow or go fast. You can retire at 65 or 35. You can dream or you can live your dream. The difference will likely be found in your ability to navigate these three types of mentorships.

If you’re interested in checking out our curriculum mentorship on how to start your own business or blog, I have provided a video for you below.


Chase My Dream

Do you have a mentor? Have you had a mentor? Do you want a mentor? Let me know how I can help in the comments below.

Author

Dale Partridge
Dale Partridge is the Founder of StartupCamp.com. He's also a keynote speaker and author of the Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling book People Over Profit.

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  1. Hey! Thanks for the article and encouragement. I need a mentor! I’m not sure how to search for one. We just launched our business a week ago, and I would love someone to push me and help me as I learn and grow. Do you know anyone in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area of Minnesota? Or anyone in Minnesota for that fact?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hey, Chelsey! Yes, it can be challenging to step out and find someone. As you’ll hear in the podcast, the steps to finding one are very personal and not so transactional. If you’re still finding confusion or a lack in confidence, I encourage you to maybe go back and listen to the podcast again in which you might find some steps to engage people you already know or those connected to your community. Hope you find what you need! Keep crushing.

      Reply
  2. Angy says:

    I was skeptical about being mentored and believed in finding my way. I got one who sort of gave up on me on the third month. Its rare to find someone to open up to without fear of judgement. Maybe I am just not disciplined enough I dont know . Maybe I’m lost

    Reply
  3. Jean-Charles says:

    Thank you Dale for sharing your valuable experience, this is actualy a serious issue for me because I am kind of lonely in this experience of creating my own business activity. This podcast convinced me about the importance of mentorship and helped me setting criterias in my search for a mentor. Certainly it will take time to find a mentor and build a solid relationship based on trust.

    Reply
  4. Tudor says:

    There’s so much to learn from this audio. Thank you Dale.
    I just realized that one of my best friends is actually in many ways, my mentor. Now I don’t feel like I’m lacking a mentor anymore.

    Reply
  5. Hey Dale! I am 21, living in San Antonio and on the lookout for mentors in the area to help lead me in the way I should go! What recommendations do you have for finding mentors who you respect and are the right people to help propel you forward in the city you live in? Also… How do you best initiate that awkward convo when you actually have to ask that person to invest their life into yours? Also, thanks for this. Digggggging the wisdom God’s given you.

    Reply
    • If you first build a relationship, the conversation will never be awkward. Just sincere.

      Reply
  6. Kristin McMillan says:

    Excellent. On spot for me, I have some work to do…

    Reply
  7. Paul Robertson says:

    Very useful information. I would like to have a personal mentor one day, and will be taking steps to developing such a relationship but paid mentorships is a good way to start. I think find someone you admire and look up to and listening to their talks or youtube videos or reading their books is also a good way for free mentorships in some aspects of life.

    Reply
    • That’s a great idea Paul. Keep searching and you will find them.

      Reply
  8. I appreciate the honesty. It was almost lIike a confession in a way. It seems to me a mentor is much like sponsor’s role in 12 step programs. Finding someone who has what you want and who will call you on your B.S.

    Reply
    • Absolutely.

      Reply
      • Kristin Fitch says:

        Great thoughts on mentors, purpose of having a mentor (or mentoring others), need for it and benefits. And wow great honest, personal and relate-able examples- great motivation for us to keep working with others, and growing!

        Reply
  9. SO much goodness in this podcast, feel involved and ready to learn, will listen to it often all the way from Durban South Africa. Thank you!

    Reply
  10. derrick says:

    Very meaningful. I learned something very valuable about mentorship today. Cant wait to listen to more. Thank you so much.

    Derrick

    Reply
  11. Todd Cardenas says:

    Dale funny how someone that has finally succeeded wants to have you sign up for monthly fees to further their business. what happened to sending down the elevator for some without compensation. sounds like your still building your business. I have a small business of twenty years and love what I do nobody has ever helped me with it. sitting around a camp fire discussing business might help someone, moreover I think it just helping your bank account. there comes a point you just have to put your nose to grind stone crap or get off the toilet. most people don’t have the capabiatilty to run a business even if Bill Gates mentored them.

    Reply
    • Todd. Nobody “needs” to offer anything for free. This is how I make my living. If you were only curious before you were critical you would know the immense level of good my wife and I do with our money, time, and influence. I’m glad to have you on the site, but please considerate next time.

      Reply
  12. Mia says:

    Hi Dale, your podcast is awesome. Great tips you gave there. I’m currently trying to build a relationship with a person that has the same business orientation like my business. We don’t live in the same state so the person encouraged us to conquer market in my area. Seems that that person is nice & willing to share the process of building the business. How can I know whether this relationship is sincere because I’ve had had a bad pre-mentoring relationship in the past. Also, how can I maintain the relationship even after the mentoring phase?

    Reply
  13. Natalie says:

    I’m a commercial real estate broker working for a small company in a small city. I’ve been struggling to get motivated, energized and disciplined to really take my business to the next level – and I need/want to, it’s time. I’m not a start-up business but I am an independent contractor and entrepreneur. I paid for a coach at the beginning of this year that I could already barely afford and I’m sure a combination of him and me plus lack of funds squashed that relationship. I do well in a classroom setting with assignments/goal to complete. Do you think your curriculum based training would be helpful for me? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hey Natalie,

      I think it would be great for you. You should also read my article “3 Signs You’re A Fake Entrepreneur”. That will help with some perspective.

      Reply
  14. Hi Dale. I had a mentor for about 6 years and I started to see and feel a change of attitude towards business that discouraged me to keep on that track. I’m on my own now, looking for a new one. Does that happen often? Can mentors loose their mentor condition?

    BTW, I’ve read POP. Thanks for writing it and sharing your knowledge. It’s great.

    Reply
    • Absolutely. They are just people. We’re all broken, some just less than others. Keep looking.

      Reply
  15. Great podcast episode. Now that I know I need a mentor, I need to find one that is willing to teach a new guy on the block. It’ll be a challenge convincing someone to take me on but nothing’s better than a good challenge. Thanks for your wisdom!

    Reply
    • Go build a relationship for 6 months with someone you admire. Then talk mentorship.

      Reply
  16. Willis says:

    This is awesome, I’m going to find myself a few mentors.

    Reply
  17. Hello,

    I’m in several organizations and sit on a few boards. I’m married, with two kids and Im 30. I work a full time job and am in the process of starting a small start up. I have had mentors in the past, but have had trouble finding one as an adult. I’d love and welcome one if I could find one. Im in southern california.

    Reply
  18. Khairy Yahya says:

    Hi Dale , I am very interested in joining ur startup camp. However , I’m currently located in Malaysia and for obvious reason can’t attend ur campfire session or one on one session with u .

    If I join, is there any chance I’ll get discounted price for reason mentioned above

    Cheers’
    Khairy

    Reply
  19. Dale I can’t stress to you enough how timely this advice is for me today. I’m very grateful to you and everyone at startup camp for all the council and information that’s consistently given. Thank you

    Reply
  20. Great article! Very helpful with some great insight. I have always wanted a mentor but never known where to find one that was affordable. Any suggestions on where to start?

    Reply
    • It’s a personal journey typically geographically dependent. Listen to the podcast for more tips.

      Reply
  21. Great article, especially for those who are willing to begin looking for a mentor.

    What is your take on books? Would you consider it as type of mentorship anyone can pick up and start learning?

    Reply
    • Thanks. No, a book falls under education. It’s missing the human element. Good luck.

      Reply

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