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Article Title:
==============
Help When you Need it: Finding a Mentor

Article Description:
====================
When I started my business I was like most people starting out on 
a new endeavor, feeling like a fish out of water. There are so 
many unknowns in front of you that you might feel like a blind 
person in a maze, grasping at little ideas here and there in 
order to get help.


Additional Article Information:
===============================
1667 Words; formatted to 65 Characters per Line
Distribution Date and Time: Thu Feb  9 00:56:06 EST 2006

Written By:     Theresa Gabriel
Copyright:      2006
Contact Email:  mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]

Article URL: 
http://thePhantomWriters.com/free_content/d/g/finding-a-mentor.shtml 

For more free-reprint articles by this Author, please visit:
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Help When you Need it: Finding a Mentor
Copyright © 2006 Theresa Gabriel
Expert Guide and Personal Coach
http://www.womensummit.com/



When I started my business I was like most people starting out on 
a new endeavor, feeling like a fish out of water. There are so 
many unknowns in front of you that you might feel like a blind 
person in a maze, grasping at little ideas here and there in 
order to get help.


Where Are They?

Creating a support system is a learning process that will develop 
over time. I've found it isn't a list of concrete, rational, or 
objective steps, but a way of looking at who is around me and how 
we are connected. I started by focusing on my heart's desire of 
helping women's wellness through nature – which is also the focus 
of my business – and then I began to find the right people.

- Networking Organizations Don't pigeon-hole yourself by 
belonging only to one type of organization. Drop any 
organizations that thrive on 'busy work' and choose organizations 
that get you excited. I belong to two professional women's 
organizations and to two Chambers of Commerce, but I also belong 
to the Sierra Club. I am currently researching places to find 
'walking for wellness' people who are LIKE ME! (Notice the 
excitement!)

- Who is around you? Is someone already unofficially mentoring 
you? Is there someone really obvious – right next to you?

- Official Channels Try the Small Business Administration and 
SCORE (Senior Corp of Retired Executives.)

- Experts Attend your chamber workshops and always be the last to 
leave, setting aside extra time in your schedule. When you get to 
talk personally with the expert, notice if they have enthusiasm 
for their own work. They will ask about your business and if you 
see sincere interest, don't just walk away!

- Book Wisdom As a result of reading what I love to read, I've 
developed a half-way decent understanding of Jung's shadow and 
personality theories. As a result, I've had several enjoyable and 
enlightening conversations with people who share my interest. My 
reading and subsequent discussions have increased my knowledge of 
Jungian psychoanalysis and have taught me market research methods 
and has given me an understanding of why women's wellness is a 
real concern.

- Unsolicited Support Notice offers of help from reputable 
sources and take them up on it. I've seen such offers in the 
epilogue of the business book, "Good to Great." I've had a 
speaker tell me face-to-face that I could call if I had a 
question. I've had a private business person offer to review my 
website. To not follow up on such opportunities would be an 
unforgivable shame.

- Competitors It took me a long time to build the courage to 
contact a major competitor, but she has given me the best advice 
I've ever received. Successful people expect such inquiries. Let 
them determine the amount of time to devote to you.

- Friends Certain friends can be important mentors / brainstorm 
partners / spiritual supporters. I make a point to keep in touch 
on a regular basis, usually at a "Panera Pow-wow." (10 years ago 
this would have been a "Village Inn Visit.") A woman at a 
conference asked the speaker a question relating to her business, 
and I knew I needed to meet her. We have been providing mutual 
support for two years now. We get together with no agenda, and 
after an hour have solved several of each of our business 
problems.

- Outside the Box I read an article written by Kevin J. Wright, 
and noticed we shared several interests. I looked him up on the 
web and saw that he lives in Denver near where I would be 
visiting in a month so I contacted him and asked for a meeting. 
I'll tell you more about our great lunch meeting later in this 
article.

- Notice Who Won't Help You. Some people may be very interesting, 
but are not mentor material.

-------- Avoid those who can't give criticism. I write-off those 
who's response to my questions are designed to avoid conflict. 
Look for those who can be up-front and honest like Carol Blood 
from www.urpr.biz who I know from civic functions. She gave me 
some solid advice – at Panera's!

--------Avoid those who lack enthusiasm about your project like a 
long-time friend of my parents who owns a successful business. He 
agreed to be available for questions but never showed enthusiasm 
regarding my project.


Getting to Know Them

- Meeting New People Think 'relationship,' not 'networking.' The 
networking rule is to speak with each person for only three 
minutes, exchange information, and move on to the next. How fake 
is that? When you find someone that you click with and are 
enjoying why not hang around a bit?

- Running into Newer Acquaintances These conversations should 
have substance. Talk about real subjects that spark interest in 
your conversation partner, even if they are unconventional, 
because your goal is to develop a relationship. Some topics that 
I can easily dwell on if they come up are Jung, secret travel 
destinations and historical novels. Of course I only pursue 
topics that the other person will also enjoy and gain something 
from.

- One Minute With an Expert If you are able to speak with an 
expert while networking after a speaker's event and they show 
enthusiasm about your project, tell them about a challenge that 
is related to their own area of expertise and how you think you 
might try to solve that challenge. Then ask for their opinion. 
"What do you think?" followed by a patient pause can work 
wonders. Listen to what they say. Exchange cards. Watch their 
non-verbal cues to know when to end the conversation. Afterwards, 
when reviewing your networking notes, consider how the 
relationship went and if you can pursue it further.


Taking the Step to Ask

Consider developing relationships further. Look for those who can 
challenge you, whether they are an expert or a peer. Suggest a 
meeting at a coffee shop if possible. Let them decide the 
location, time and the duration of the meeting. If you get them 
away from their office you can usually increase the usual ½ hr 
meeting to an hour. Avoid email meetings because they eliminate 
the possibility for brainstorming and creative discussions.

Be attentive and notice if they would like to help but are 
obviously too busy to meet with you. In such cases I have done 
the following:

- Do you have time now? We could go to the coffee shop down the 
street or just sit here for 15 minutes if you have time.

- Could you look at my website and tell me . . . ? I could take 
your card and email you a reminder.

- Can we make an appointment to talk on the phone for a half 
hour? I will email you tomorrow with my available times next week 
and you can choose a time. You will call them if it's long 
distance.

Whether you end up with a Panera Pow-wow or with a mentoring 
meeting with an expert, you'll be left with plenty to chew on.


The Perfect Mentoring Session

- Sit down, listen, and be willing to hear the hard truth. When 
they say something hard to hear, be ready to spend time with it 
and consider it, making real changes.

- Ask pre-planned specific open-ended questions. Don't just ask 
'why.' Instead, try "What have I missed?" or "What's the biggest 
error people usually make when they're in my position?"

- When you ask a question, make it short then shut up and wait. 
Don't start talking again just because you're nervous or 
impatient. Building a relationship is an investment of time, so 
devote all of your attention to this chance to connect.

- Don't waste their time by complaining, bragging or rambling. 
Keep on point and keep your mind sharp. Be an active listener, 
asking for clarification. Repeat back to them what they've said 
so that you're sure you understood it. Take notes without being 
self-conscious about it. It shows your mentor that you are 
serious.

- Make an effort to offer them whatever help that they could 
benefit from your experience and knowledge as well. This 
transforms your meeting from a lecture into an intelligent 
conversation. When I took the writer, Kevin J. Wright to lunch, 
he told me about his soon-to-be-released book. I shared an 
observation based upon my experience. He immediately latched onto 
an additional marketing strategy for his book release.

- Keep to any time limit they have specified. If it's been an 
hour, acknowledge that you know they have a busy schedule to give 
them a chance to leave. My conversation with Kevin over pizza was 
so riveting that I couldn't bring myself to break our connection 
and look at my watch. We were kindred spirits. When I finally 
looked and announced the time to him, he frantically realized 
that he was late for a meeting. I rushed him back to his office 
without slowing him down with any superfluous words. We did 
agree, however, that our conversation was worth missing work 
over.

- If you've done a good job you will be tired at the end of your 
meeting. Immediately take an additional hour to review what was 
covered, and to let it sink in. Relaxing and letting it settle 
will help you really learn what you've heard.

- Follow up with a hand-written 'Thank You' when they take time 
out of their schedule for you. I usually add a line asking for a 
small bit of further assistance. For example, after I got help 
with my web site, I asked the helpful mentors to look at my site 
after making changes, for further input.


Have You Noticed?

You have been reading free advice that I've written down for you. 
Hint, hint.

I am enthusiastic about mentoring and care about people who need 
help. Hint, hint.

If you have already considered contacting me for further 
guidance, then you get an A.




---------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Women Summit LLC - Life Discovery Tours - Women's Retreats
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Paths began to beckon Theresa when she was 12, visiting the 
Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming. Walking, dancing, and movement 
are a part of her, nourished by John Denver's musical challenge 
for her to "fly." She has walked up mountains and through 
forests in Wyoming, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. She's 
lived in Germany and has traveled extensively in Europe, even 
leading a pilgrimage. Her recent walks in the Grand Canyon and 
Alaska inspired her to begin her dream business of "walking 
with women." Learn more about Theresa Gabriel and her Life 
Discovery Tours at her web site. 
Women Summit LLC http://www.womensummit.com
Subscribe to my monthly newsletter: 
[EMAIL PROTECTED]


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