Monday, 4 May 2015

How to Get (Almost) Anyone to Mentor You

Professionals who expect to succeed in today's work environment must have that edge which sets them apart. But how can you get that edge, when you are feeling isolated and do not have a mentor or role model to guide you?
What mountains would you be able to climb if you took control of YOU Inc?
Mentoring in its simplest form is the personal and professional development of an individual. In the absence of traditional mentoring relationships, where one person at a higher level in an organization provides career guidance to another at a lower level, professionals can select their own Invisible Mentors to guide them. Invisible Mentors are also the perfect complement to any mentoring relationship.
The Invisible Mentor Concept
So what is an Invisible Mentor? An Invisible Mentor is a training tool, as well as a different way of thinking, which assists individuals to achieve personal and professional success through the systematic use of books, interviews, articles and other information products. Invisible Mentoring is using the works of and about change makers, pioneers, great thinkers and visionaries to make tangible changes in your life. Consistently reading the right books, builds intellectual and verbal power; and listening to the right interviews heightens focus and awareness, while increasing knowledge.
Invisible Mentors provide a discrete way for professionals to mimic successful actions in a safe environment, and allow them to tap into their inner genius to promote a personal growth regiment, introduce rigor to their thinking, increase discipline, strengthen the ability to communicate and create a well-fed mind. Digesting the works of the "right" Invisible Mentors provides a rich minefield for great ideas worth exploring. And, they can also assist you in developing the business and political savvy required to navigate the corporate world.
And the best thing about Invisible Mentors is that you do not need their implicit or explicit agreement for them to mentor you. All that is required is access to information by and about them, so that you can study their behaviours, learn about their philosophies and values, as well as concepts and models that they have developed.
Using Invisible Mentors to your Advantage
To get the most out of Invisible Mentors requires answering the following questions to keep you focused. Answering the questions may require conducting preliminary research using a search engine such as Google. Google Videos and YouTube, which is also owned by Google is great for finding videos and interviews about your chosen Invisible Mentors. 
  1. What do you need and want to learn?
    1. Where do you see yourself personally and professionally in three years
    2. How important are these goals to you?
    3. Are you willing to do what it takes to achieve your goals?

  2. Who are the experts in the areas that you need and want to learn more about?
    1. Choose five experts as Invisible Mentors
    2. Do their values and philosophies align with yours?
    3. What concepts and models have they created and how will they assist you in your personal and professional life
  3. How can you use them [experts] and their knowledge as Invisible Mentors?
    1. What books have they written
    2. What books have been written about them
    3. What interviewees are available by and about them?
How The Invisible Mentor Concept Works
For a book to assume the role of an Invisible Mentor, it has to have many of the elements below: 
  • Provokes thought
  • Provides a deeper level of understanding and heightened awareness
  • Ignites passion
  • Awakens deep-seated emotions
  • Provides practical wisdom
  • Chronicles events for strategic guidance
  • Provides formulas and intellectual frameworks to use
  • Be about a change maker
  • Solves everyday problems
  • Shifts the reader's mindset
For an interview to assume the role of an Invisible Mentor, interviewees have to be: 
  • Willing to share wisdom, knowledge and experiences
  • Old enough to have learned important life lessons
  • Accomplished
  • Enlightened and understand that the world is bigger than them
  • Inspiring
  • Willing to help others succeed
  • Engaging
  • Well-read
  • Articulate
  • Problem solvers
  • Change makers
  • Passionate
  • Easy to understand
Qualities that Increases Your Success in Using Invisible Mentors 
  • Diligent learner that is self-directed
  • Capacity to read discriminately and listen actively
  • Ability to ask tough questions and synthesize the information you are consuming
  • Ability to connect new information to what is already known
  • Commitment to take action and use the new information
Three Examples Why Invisible Mentors Make Great Mentoring Alternatives 
  1. Charles Darwin and British biologist Alfred Russel Wallace independently arrived at similar theories of Natural Selection in the mid-1800s after reading Essay on the Principle of Population by British pastor Thomas Malthus.
  2. After many years of research, and observing birds in flight, German engineer Otto Lilienthal, also known as the "King of Gliders" published his findings in the widely read book Bird Flight as the Basis of Aviation. Lilienthal's research article Practical Experiments for the Development of Human Flight, writings and other notes proved invaluable to Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright also known as the Wright brothers. The Wright brothers believed that they could improve Lilienthal's designs and resolve the problems plaguing aircraft theories. The Wright Brothers are credited for inventing the airplane.
  3. And, while reading an article on a flight, Jeff Bezos founder of Amazon learned that the Internet was growing 2,300 percent per year and wondered how he could use the information. He then looked at the top 20 catalogues to identify which would translate best to an online business and as a result Amazon was formed.
Invisible Mentors can catapult you to new levels in your life so it is important to choose your Invisible Mentors well. You never know, you could be the next Charles Darwin or Jeff Bezos.

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