How to be your own mentor
Updated: May 23
It is not always possible to find a trusted advisor to help guide you and your career. Leaving people who want to grow with little choice but to start growing their network and searching for a match. However I offer you another option. While you expand your network in preparation of finding a mentor also consider mentoring yourself.
It is not as crazy as it sounds.
To get you started I have put a pick and mix guide below.
Make your own self inventory
Start by making yourself a folder. This is where you’re going to organise all your progress, goals and manifestos you will write. When you start to take inventory of yourself, ask yourself; What strengths do you have? What are my weaknesses? What skills do I feel I lack? Answer yourself honestly. There is power in writing down your thoughts.
Ask for feedback
It’s great to do a self-check and see how self-aware you are. However, nothing beats the perception of yourself from other people. Pick some of your peers and ask targeted questions on how they think you are doing. If they see behaviours that are not working for you. Center your questions on parts of yourself that you think might be holding you back. Thats where the big gains are made.
Be kind to yourself
This should not be an excuse to beat yourself up emotionally. You also do not owe anyone your answers, they are yours. Just taking a few steps to improve yourself is way more than most other people even manage to do. You are doing great just taking these small steps forward.
Grow your network
Never has ‘finding your people’ been as important as it is these days. With a global pandemic on the loose its hard to leave the house and meet people in person. This means you need to find your people in their digital spaces online, and there are many options to choose from. There are rich communities on Twitter, LinkedIn, Discord, Slack, and even Meetup Online. Use hashtags to search and start following the thought leaders. Its a great way to expand your knowledge. Remember to join in the conversations, you are not just a spectator.
Remove bad influences
These can be people, objects, or environments. Toxic people who put you down do not have a place in your life. If alcohol use is holding you back, consider seeking help to remove it from your life. If living at home is not helpful to your working hours, consider moving out if you can afford too. As much as possible try to optimise your external factors. To turn them into items you have some control over.
Set your ‘North Star’
Who is it you want to be, and whats the plan for getting there? I wrote about this extensively in another article here: CLICK TO READ When you set your mission you can guide all the smaller choices. You can also consider this to be your personal manifesto. Make your roadmap using the template from the other article. Decide your goals. Set your direction.
What would my hero do?
This is a classic technique for separating decision anxiety with the need for action. By asking yourself “What would ‘my favourite boss’ do in this situation?” Means you can guide yourself based on other persons integrity. This can help if you lack confidence or need to sanity check some of your own decisions. By the way this can also be a favourite author, Martin Luther King? A fictional character? It doesn’t matter. It only matters that it means something to you.
Check in with your progress
Make a meeting time with yourself to check in and review your own progress with your goals. This isn’t a static progress. It’s common and expected that you will adjust goals and course based on new developments. Reflect on your roadmap and goals and consider best next steps.
The ongoing nature of mentoring yourself means a life long love of self-discovery
Take time off
The truth is when you start this journey its a never ending path. The goals change with your direction. Thats ok. The ongoing nature of mentoring yourself means a life long love of self-discovery. Take breaks, its not a destination. You will not be working on yourself all the time. It’s about reflection of who you want to be. Maximising the best you you can be, and minimising the rough edges we all have.