Desperately seeking a mentor? Read this.

Mentors. We all want ’em, we all need ’em, and someday, most of us hope to become one.

Approaching a potential mentor is a strategic art — as is the act of mentoring itself. You’ve got to court your would-be mentor like a Victorian gentleman or lady: elegantly, respectfully & with an appropriate sense of pacing.

If you’re seeking that oh-so-special someone who’ll swing open doors you didn’t even know existed, offer frank feedback & refine your ideas, make vital introductions & add rocket fuel to your business & career … read on.

7 pieces of advice to land your drrream mentor:

1. Introduce yourself to your would-be mentor with a simple email (or hand-written note). Write as a peer, not a frothy-mouthed fan (even if you totally are). Keep it concise — brevity is respectful. Two or three short paragraphs, max. Their time is valuable, and so is your own.

2. Share at least one specific way that your would-be mentor has already positively influenced your life. Did their last book blow your circuits? Do you hang on their every tweet? Do you refresh your browser every hour, salivating over their next blog entry? Let your enthusiasm shine … with specificity.

3. If you’ve already invested in your would-be mentor’s empire by purchasing their products, attending their events, or signing up for their e-courses, remind them. (They’ll know that you’re serious about studying under their tutelage — and that you’re not just mass-blasting everyone under the sun, hoping for a response from … anyone.)

4. Express a desire to support their mission & learn on-the-job. Even better: list a few concrete things you might be able to assist with, right off the bat. You want to establish a relationship anchored in reciprocity & generosity, from the get-go. Position yourself as a useful apprentice — not a needy pupil.

5. Do NOT hash out a highly-detailed mentorship request during your very-very first interaction (unless you’re feeling mighty bold). That’s a bit like cramming your tongue down someone’s throat at the beginning of your first coffee date. (Abrupt, unpleasant & often bewildering.)

6. If the object of your mentorship affection turns down your request, do not whine, plead, or challenge their decision. Bow, nod, and stride off with your head held high. It’s gotta be an absolute YES! for both parties, or it’s going to suuuck (the life out of everyone).

7. If the object of your mentorship affection expresses interest, it’s seduction time! Snail mail gifts never hurt. Handwritten card? Splendid. Find ways to make your new mentor’s life cheerier & easier, before you’ve even “begun.” You will be cherished, rewarded & beautifully supported.

To sum it all up:

Be brief, be gracious, position yourself as a highly-valuable apprentice … and as always, keep it classy.

Alexandra Franzen

When it comes to being a better writer — and a better human being — Alexandra Franzen has a ten-word philosophy: Start with love. Keep it simple. You are not confused. Alexandra’s refreshingly simple communication tips have been featured on Fast Company, Forbes, The Daily Love, The Daily Muse, MediaBistro, MindBodyGreen and The Huffington Post — and on radio programs from coast to coast. Learn more at www.alexandrafranzen.com.

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