When you know what you want, and you see someone else who already has it, it makes sense to do what he did to get what he got. Developing a mentorship with that person is an ideal way to learn about his process.
When it comes to mentorship, there are no hard-and-fast rules. You might meet her for lunch once a month, or you might be on the phone with him daily. You can have more than one mentor, as long as you have the time to devote to each relationship. Your mentors can come from anywhere, not just your workplace or even your industry. Don't overlook your own family members who have been successful in ways you're hoping to emulate.
The important thing is this: your mentor should be someone who has something to teach you. Here are three simple things to keep in mind when choosing your mentor.
1. Choose someone you know and admire.
It's important to recognize that the person is a good leader and has the skill set you're working to develop, but that's not all. It's one thing to be successful in business, but if you're looking for success in all areas of life (home and family, friends and community, spirituality and adventure), you'll want to find a mentor who has found that balance.
While it would be awesome to have, say, Richard Branson as your personal mentor, keep in mind that you're probably not the first person to think of that. We might venture a guess that Mr. Branson has no shortage of eager mentees, and he's unlikely to work with someone he doesn't already have a relationship with. If he doesn't know you, how can he help you? Why should he risk the investment of his time on someone who may or may not be serious about learning from him? You can and should continue to study his habits of success, but for your personal mentor, you'll want to find someone you already know.
2. Know what you want from the relationship.
It's like anything in life: if you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there. Do you need help clarifying your goals? Do you want an inside look at a particular industry? Being clear on what you expect from your mentor helps you establish guidelines early in your relationship, and helps the potential mentor decide if he has the time to provide what you're looking for.
You could stalk your chosen mentor, or you could sit down with her and see if she's willing and able to offer the kind of guidance you're looking for. Mentorship is a two-way street, and you'll get the most out of it if both mentor and mentee are on the same page.
If your chosen mentor says no, don't lose heart. It's probably because he doesn't feel like he can give you the time and attention you deserve. Don't force the issue or resort to the stalking that was not really suggested above, because a reluctant mentor will never be able to provide what you need.
Think about it: you already know lots of admirable people who have a lot to teach you. If the first choice says no, ask the next one on your list.
Do you have a business mentor? How has he contributed to your success?