Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

November 13, 2017


A great mentor can be life-changing — for your business success and your personal life. Accelerating you around the problems in your way and connecting you with people and opportunities that can drive massive success. 

They are already at the top of the game you want to play. And maybe you don’t want to be them, but you definitely want to learn that extra bit of awesomeness that has made them a superstar.

To do that you want to get their attention. You want to befriend them. You want their help. 

You want them to be your mentor. 

And it’s a great idea. You need people in your life who have done what you want to do and been massively successful. 

Sure, your friends can sometimes be great motivators. They can even be great encouragers. But they can also be hindrances if they don’t understand your vision. If they don’t “get” what you’re trying to accomplish. You need a mentor to do that.

So how do you find a great mentor? And how do you get them interested in helping you?

Here are a few ideas to do just that:

1. Look for Someone Better Than You

That seems like a harsh sentence, but that’s the reality of a mentor. You want to find someone who has exceeded your success by leaps and bounds. Otherwise, you’d be the mentor, right?

So you need to look for people in your field who are not your direct supervisors. Look for people you have worked with or for — but who you are not currently working for. It’s best to keep those lines clear. 

Who is the biggest, baddest, most successful person in your business? Ask yourself, who do you respect in your industry? Who is that person who you would love to trade places with? That’s your mentor.

2. Be Creative Looking For Your Mentor

If you’ve looked around your office and found someone, that’s great. But if you haven’t an awesome mentor, there are a few places you can look.

  • If you are a small business owner, you will want to join a small business owner association. They have monthly meetings where you will be introduced to others who will be willing to chat with you.
  • If you are an artist or a creative, you will want to go to local gatherings where other successful artists are like gallery events or open mic songwriting events. That is where you are going to find others excelling in your field.
  • If you are in the corporate world, check out your next marketing event or fundraising dinner. You’ll find amazing, talented, super-successful people who are the best of the best.

Wherever people in your field are gathering for any kind of event, you want to make sure you show up at it. And don’t be a wallflower when you get there. Mingle. Introduce yourself. Get people’s contact info so you can keep in touch. 

3. Get to Know Them

Most people are not going to be rushing to take you under their wing. Successful people are busy people. And busy people are hard to pin down for five minutes — let alone an hour or more. You have to forge a relationship with your mentor first. You have to offer some kind of value. And you have to be smart about using the time you have with them. 

If your mentor does work in your building, walk them to their car after work. It may only be three minutes, but it’s three more than you would have had to begin with. If you met your ideal mentor at an event, go ahead and shoot them an email and see if you can set up a meeting or a lunch with them. The worst thing that could happen is they could say no or tell you they don’t have time. 

4. Follow Along On Social Media

If your mentor is not local and you only know them on social media, make sure to follow them. There is a little icon next to the “friend” icon on Facebook that allows you to tailor your notifications from any given person. Most social media platforms offer this service. Make sure you set your notifications to “ON” for your those special people. You will see everything they post — when they post it — and you can reply and get in on the conversation.

The more active you are with them, the more involved they will be with you. They will know your name. They will expect your input. You will start to form a relationship. Social media relationships can still be strong relationships. Plus, if you are keeping up online with your potential mentor, you may already be getting some valuable tips just from their posts.

So when you ask them one day if they have five minutes to video chat with you so you can bounce an idea off them, it won’t seem out of place or creepy because you are an active part of their community. They will want to say “YES”. 

5. Make Sure You Like Them

You’ve gotten to know your prospective mentor over the last little bit whether it was running into them at the coffee shop, walking them to the car, or friendly Facebook banter. One of the key elements in finding a mentor is not only to find someone who will be able to point you in the right direction, but you also need to like them as a person. Someone whose values and ethics align with yours.

The last thing you want is to get entangled with someone who, even though they are successful, are filled with drama and are negative or inconsiderate. You don’t have to agree on everything. A little bit of variety in opinions is good. Even healthy. But if there are core fundamental differences that you cannot get past, your time would be better spent looking for someone you can tolerate for longer than sixty second intervals. 

6. Don’t Beg the Mentor

You do not want to come right out and ask your mentor if they would help you. You especially don’t want to do that if that person is a stranger to you. It would be no different than cold calling a millionaire and asking him for a $300k donation to your yet-to-be-launched non-profit.

If you want to see how your future mentor rolls, you can go about it in a couple different ways. The first would be to mention in conversation that you are looking for some mentoring and you love their business ideas and would love to pick their brain sometime. You don’t want to beg and you don’t want to look desperate. Just ask. 

7. Exude Happiness in All You Do

A positive attitude goes a long way in being successful. Have you ever worked with someone who was always happy? It didn’t matter if it was snowing or raining or if the power was out from a tornado warning, your coworker was always on the side of “it could always be worse.” They spill coffee on their white blouse and they just smile and say, “Good thing it’s laundry day.” Then they shrug their shoulders and happily get back to work, coffee stain and all.

If you know that person then you also know that everybody loves to be around that person. They make people feel better without even trying. Do you know why? Because positive people give energy. And negative people suck energy.

 If you don’t know that negative person in your circle of friends, you may be that person. Change your attitude. Be happy. A mentor would love to take on someone who always looks on the bright side. 

8. Don’t Force It

The mentor connection you need will not be a forced one. Like friendships, you will likely have so much in common with them, they will want to help you. You will probably remind them of themselves when they were first starting out. And you are always happy with a smile on your face, so heck, you may not even have to ask. They may just start inviting you along with them on outings or inviting you to their events all on their own.

Mentoring partnerships that work the best arne’t forced. It basically boils down to being the type of mentee a mentor would be looking for. A lot of people are seeking their next protege. Why shouldn’t it be you?  So don’t put any undue strain on the mentoring relationship. If it doesn’t feel natural, it’s probably not the right fit for you (or for them). 

9. Be Great at What You Do

It will be a lot easier to approach somebody for mentoring if you are already on the fast track to success. When you are a go-getter, people talk. Chances are, the people you’d like to have as a mentor already know your name.  You participate in events. You show up and show out (in a good way). You are full of innovative ideas. You know what you want and you formulate a plan to get exactly that. You don’t let setbacks knock you down.

When something doesn’t work out, you don’t give up. You formulate a new plan and you try that. And you keep trying until you succeed. That’s what makes you noticeable. That’s what makes you great. That’s what will make people take notice of you. And when you show up in their space and you mention you’d like their input, they are going to be more than willing to give you what you ask for. 

10. Share the Successes of Others

The world is so competition driven, it seems like everyone is just looking out for number one. People who want to promote themselves — and that’s it. People who don’t want to celebrate the successes of their peers. It’s as if by celebrating someone else’s success, they are admitting to their own failures. Being that type of person is a huge turn off to finding a mentor.

You want to be a cheerleader for those around you. You want to be excited about other’s successes. In turn, people will remember you when it comes time for your successes and you will have cheerleaders you weren’t even expecting. Not that it’s all about having your successes celebrated, but it’s nice to have a pat on the back for work well done. And that’s something that is lacking in today’s world.

So congratulate your coworker who got the promotion you wanted. Shake their hand. Take them out for a celebratory drink. They may be your new mentor. They may also be the one in charge of getting you that next promotion. 

11. Create Your Own Destiny

If you find a mentor you are dying to get in front of, but it seems nearly impossible, you can go the EDGY route. Create your own networking event and invite said future mentor to be the guest speaker. This will benefit you in two ways. The first way is that you will be the point of contact. So you will either be directly in touch with your future mentor or in touch with someone close to them.

And when the big day comes, you will get to spend the majority of the time they are there with them. Of course, they will come speak at your event, because you are awesome and there’s no reason they would say “NO” — especially since you are willing to work around their schedule.

The second way this will benefit you is that you will be in the presence of many other possible mentors the day of your event. If your prospective mentor means that much to you, chances are, they mean that much to a lot of other people. So even if you don’t snag the mentor of your dreams that day, you’ve probably met 3 or 4 other people who would be more than happy to give you some insight. After all, you put together this awesome event. You are something special. 

We all need great people to make us better.

To help us see the hope and opportunity ready to explode within us.


But to get that value, you need to be smart and strategic about how you live your life. Finding a great mentor can accelerate all the good things you want for you in your life.

Start putting your plan in place right now to grow these skills.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.