There are many successful GirlBosses out there who would be more than happy to help you with career insight and advice, but ask them directly to be your mentor and they might cringe. Mentorships are evolving and the usual full time mentor is getting harder to come by; so what’s a GirlBoss to do when strategically aligning yourself with the right network is as critical as ever?
The successful people we look up to are going to be consistently busy and under deadlines. If you are directly requesting their precious time on regular basis, it can be a turn off since they may think you’re not respecting their hectic schedule and they may say a flat out no for fear of over-committing. Mentoring relationships need to be organic two-way streets, so find ways to get involved and grow an entire community that can support you for a variety of career needs.
Come up with a power list of women and men that you look up to in your career. Sign up for their newsletters, read their blog posts, connect with them on social media, and use that knowledge to decipher where you are looking to grow and what skills you need to learn. Do not monopolize their time and ask for a one on one meeting, they are producing plenty of advice on their websites and you should use it. Engage them instead by commenting on their blog or tweeting a question to them.
Find a local community group or two that reflects your entrepreneurial spirit and drive to succeed. Join their events, meet their sponsors, and volunteer to help their team grow. Here you will grow relationships organically and connect with folks on the same journey as you. Looking to connect online? Try the website Glassbreakers - they use your personal and professional details to introduce you to peers with similiar goals for free! Some will be more advanced and can pull you ahead, some will be just starting out and you can help them solidify their career path—you’ll learn just as much from both ends of the spectrum. You never know whom you will meet and how you will grow by making an impact in your own community.
Build trust and use your skills to barter with other professionals to get ahead. If you’re great at proofreading, offer to review an author’s blog posts in exchange for social media advice. If you have a strong twitter presence, offer to promote a local non-profit in exchange for being featured on their blog. Figure out what you excel at, use those skills to grow your network, and in exchange you will connect with people that can strengthen your weaknesses and change your life.
Next time you meet a powerful professional, think not just what they can do to help you, but what you can do to help them, and engage them in a strategic professional relationship. These strategies will make you a powerful presence in your community, align you with mentors to push you forward, and grow your skillset tremendously.