The Imaginary Mentor

Imaginary Mentor
I have written in the past about the importance of mentors and the kind of mentors you need.

Later today I’m doing a webinar on Finding the Right Mentor. You can still register.

But for now, I want to address the concern that many people have which is that getting a mentor is a difficult and awkward thing to accomplish.

It doesn’t need to be awkward

Many people struggle to identify mentors, and then asking them to be a mentor seems like an awkward marriage proposal…. “Will you be my mentor?”.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Have many informal mentors

Start thinking of mentors simply as smart people that you learn from.

Make sure that you are always on the lookout for smart people that you can learn from, and then ask them, “Can I get some advice from you?”


That’s it.

Ask for a brief amount of time on a concrete topic and ask if you can get 10 minutes of their time. Most people won’t say no to this.

I can tell you that I did (still do, actually) this repeatedly with several smart people throughout my career.

These were people who I considered to be my mentors, but they never knew it!

Imaginary Mentors

I also had people in my career who really impressed me, but I barely interacted with them at all.

I would pay attention to them and learn about their leadership values, how they made choices, and how they handled difficult situations.

It’s amazing how much you can learn at a distance when you just choose to pay attention.

Then when I would get into a difficult spot, I would often ask myself, what would he/she do in this situation? Doing this always helped to bring a new perspective and a new idea.

Those were my true imaginary mentors!

Most people will be happy to give you some advice if you are generous in your request and don’t ask for a lot of time.

It’s important that you ask for help.

When I was in a corporate job, I never once said “no” if someone thoughtfully asked for my advice or asked me to be their mentor – and I can also tell you that very few people ever asked! So it’s worth asking.

It makes me a little sad now that I can’t always say yes when people ask me to be their mentor. Since many thousands of people read my blog — it’s just too many.

But it’s still important to me to be able to help people who ask, so I created my Azzarello Group Membership program to allow me to act as a mentor to a large group of people, and to help them with all the things mentors help with:

* Get promotions and raises
* Get help dealing with difficult employees, peers and bosses
* Become a better leader and manager of people
* To be more persuasive, have more influence, and be a better communicator
* Identify blind spots that might cause stalls and risks in their career

The program offers many resources and a live coaching hour conference call only for members, where you can get direct mentoring from me.

If you are interested in getting personal coaching from me via this program you can sign up here.
(And right now (in December) you can get a $30 discount if you use the code MENTOR30 at checkout.

Keep looking for smart people

But don’t forget to always be on the lookout for smart people.
Find them and learn from them.

And if you want to formalize the mentor relationship, that’s actually pretty easy too.
Here’s how to ask someone to be your mentor.

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

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About Patty
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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at, follow her on twitter or facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.


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You can find Patty at, follow her on twitter or Facebook, or read her books RISE and MOVE.

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