Turn to the Mentors of Your Dreams If You Don’t Have Your Own IRL

Mentors are great in theory, but they don’t always play the way you want them to in real life. Perhaps your chosen mentor isn’t as helpful as you hoped, or you can’t find a mentor to start with. If so, journalist-turned-blogger Joanna Goddard has a suggestion : Make a list of the mentors of your dreams and ask yourself what they will do or think about the situation. Here’s how to do it.

Use the power of your dream mentor

When she first started her blog A Cup of Jo in 2007, Goddard said there really isn’t much advice on building or maintaining this type of platform. So, with no mentors to work with in real life, she compiled a list of people she believed to be mentors from afar – people she had never met but whom she trusted. For Goddard, the list included “magazine editor Pilar Guzman , novelist Anne Lamotte , force of nature Michelle Obama , and neck-hater and all-round genius Nora Efron .” Whenever Goddard was unsure what to do or how to handle the situation, she asked herself, “What will Michelle Obama think of this?” and then tried it (or at least a version of it).

Create your own mentoring experience

Likewise, you can also get your own informal mentor, paying attention to what the person you admire is doing and taking it as a kind of advice / mentoring. In his post, Goddard also refers to an excerpt from Mindy Kaling’s memoir, Why Not Me ? where she discusses this advice from her mentor Greg Daniels:

You take your mentorship wherever you can find it, even if it is not offered to you. Have you ever used your neighbor’s Wi-Fi without using a password? If you have the opportunity to observe someone at work, you receive mentoring from him, even if he knows nothing or is resisting. Make a list of the people you think would be the best mentors and try to get close enough to steal their Wi-Fi.

Of course, most of us don’t have the opportunity to work with someone who is behind some of the most iconic television shows of our time , but we can work with someone whose career trajectory we would like to emulate. If you find this person, take a look.

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