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Looking for a mentor? How to get started : The Standard



I’m looking for a mentor, but the people I admire and try to get in touch with never get back to me. What am I doing wrong?
This is a tricky one, but I’ll draw from my own experiences and share how I managed to identify my mentors. And in many instances, it happened almost by accident.
In my early years in employment, I turned to those who trained me to mentor me. I had the willingness to be there after hours or before hours. When I was a presenter at Capital FM, for instance, Phil Matthews was doing the Morning Show and I was doing Drive, which runs from 4pm to 7pm.

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How much did I want to absorb from Phil? I used to sit in on his show in the morning from 6am to 10am, and then prep my show and go on air at 4pm to 7pm. I did this every day for four months.
I was new in the industry, a little short of confidence and knowledge, and needed to see the master at work. Phil immediately took me under his wing and began to mentor me. I’m not saying he worked magic, but I think by the success I’ve had in the industry, you can judge the results for yourself.
In other instances, I’ve become close friends with people that operate in the same industry, creative spaces and fields that I’m in. I’m always hungry and thirsty for knowledge.
You must remember that mentors come in many forms. It could be a boss, a colleague or a friend. And mentorship can happen in many places. It could happen at work or at a dinner with friends.
I consider every day an opportunity to gain mentorship. My business partner at my production house, Nusu-Nusu, is also a mentor and I’d like to think I am his.

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A final piece of advice is to ensure that you do not discriminate against a mentor based on his or her age. Those days are gone when a mentor had to be older and ‘wiser’. In this age of information, I often get my most priceless advice and guidance from those younger than me.
To put it all in a nice little package for you: keep your eyes open, always. Mentors are everywhere and mentorship comes in all sorts of forms. Look around, absorb and accept that no matter where you are in your career, you can always be better. And please don’t let pride get in the way of learning from someone else.
The writer is a media practitioner and business owner.

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