How to get a mentor, be mentored and make that relationship work for you.
Hi, welcome to this week’s Hot Tip. I’m the CEO and Chief Alchemist here at the Auspicious Arts Incubator with this week’s tip which is about finding a mentor. Having some personalized guidance in your career no matter what artistic field you’re in is invaluable. That is because a mentor or an adviser brings an outside perspective which is critical. How do you find a mentor? Do you find one who is a successful artist? It depends on whether you want advice or mentoring. If you want mentoring they have to want you to succeed. Not just they succeed but you to succeed and they have to kind of have a desire to want to give back to the art form.
The question you would ask yourself is have they done this before? You’re time poor. Find a mentor who has actually done it before who comes recommended because they’ve done it before. We’ve been doing it for close to 10 years so we’re good at it but not everyone is really good at this so where do you look?
There’s two different ways kind of referrals and programs. On the referral side ask your peers if they have one. Ask if someone could recommend someone who they think would be a good mentor for you because they know you from the outside and on the program side there are professional arts organizations in your discipline that often have mentors on a roster. Ring them up and ask. You can also check with the small business center in your local state or your local province. Those small business centers definitely have mentors on their rosters. The Chamber of Commerce also has mentors on their roster and your old university. You just have to be clear about why it is that you want a mentor.
The question to ask then is is a mentor really want you want? Are you right for being mentored? There are four characteristics of being an effective mentoree. Number one, commitment to develop your talent and your career. Number two, a desire to achieve personal growth and professional goals. Number three, the ability for you to commit the time and number four the ability for you to receive feedback, have a go and try out some different things.
There are three tips to a successful mentor artist relationship. Number one, find someone that you want to be like. We’re emotional people. Study that person, make the ask, evaluate whether you’ve got the experience that you want. Number two is let the relationship evolve organically. Make sure that you follow up after the meeting. Dont check out the first time that you feel challenged and then ask your mentor for feedback. Then the third thing that is going to guarantee this relationship working is to commit to the process. Advice is once off. Mentorship is over a long haul.
Lastly, before the first meeting with your mentor you need to clearly define your goals and have a bunch of questions. You have to drive the first meeting. If I’m going to be a mentor for you I want to be impressed. Remember, I’m going to make an emotional investment in you as well. Define your goals and ask them questions.
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