Adapt Mentor Advice To Your Own Life Circumstances
The advice and guidance that you hear from your mentors may not always be applicable or immediately achievable in your own life. That’s because what was or is true for your mentor, may not be true for you. After all, we all have our own life experiences, with different backgrounds and privileges. That being said, it doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve the things your mentor has — it just takes some tweaking and adjusting to make things work for your own context and goals. To achieve that, you need three basic things: (1) share context with your mentors, (2) dig deeper, and (3) be relentless and resilient.
Share context with your mentors
At the start of your mentor-mentee relationship, make sure to share as much of your background as is relevant along with your goals. This will help your mentor understand a little bit more about you, your circumstances, the tools and skills that are at your disposal, and the ones that need work to reach your goals. Remind your mentor of this whenever relevant.
This advice goes both ways — learn as much as possible from your mentor’s background and context. This will put things into perspective when you hear their guidance and ask relevant follow-up questions.
Dig deeper and apply those findings to your own life and goals
Let’s say your mentor tells you that they got a job opportunity after the company they now work for went to their university campus on a recruiting mission when they were an MBA candidate. That sounds like being at the right place at the right time. However, it may be the case that you are not pursuing a graduate degree, or you did, but that was a while back.
That’s fine, you just need to dig deeper. Ask probing questions: What made it possible for your mentor to get an interview in the first place (other than being there at the time the company arrived)? What kinds of skills did they bring to the table that made the company consider them? Can you take a look at the resume they presented at that moment? Did your mentor had any common connections with the recruiters? As you uncover some of these answers, connect the dots in your own life and circumstances.
Be relentless and resilient
Now that you have the key ingredients that you can apply for yourself, be relentless. More often than not, you have to keep pushing and be patient — so don’t let your foot off the gas pedal. If something isn’t quite working as you expected, go back to the drawing board and ask yourself what you could do differently. Ask your mentor for feedback on these adjustments. Go back out and try again.
It may all seem daunting at first. Your own inner voice might be working against you; e.g., “sure, they got that job because they have a better network than I do”, or “they didn’t have to deal with all the things I’ve dealt with in my own life”. Again, although it may be true that your mentors have a different (perhaps arguably better) starting point than you, don’t discount yourself. That’s why you have a mentor, and a network or community. Always ask for help when needed. You’ll be surprised by how much folks actually do want to help.