Adam Grant is one of my favorite new authors. (Well, at least he’s new to me.)

He’s this brilliant, crazy smart professor. He’s a New York Times bestseller. He hangs out with Sheryl Sandberg, Dan Pink and Tim Ferriss. 

And we’ve spent the last 30 days together.

We hit the gym together.

Adam sat with me on my drive to the Big Dream Gathering at Kansas State University a few weeks ago.

He’s shared some serious wisdom over “breakfast” (what I call my 3+ morning cups of coffee).

During the last 30 days, I learned Adam’s insights… inside and out. He taught me the most important concepts from his books so I didn’t have to read them cover-to-cover to get the juicy takeaways. I got to know him as a person, too — he shared stories from his life and we really got close. (Yeah… we may be bromantically involved.)

The beautiful thing is…I didn’t have to ask for Adam’s permission to do this.

Because Adam and I have never actually met.

Have I thoroughly confused you yet?! 🙂

It’s true, I’ve never met Adam Grant. But I feel like he’s been my personal guru for the past 30 days.

All thanks to a concept I call “E-mentoring.”

E-mentoring is a unique take on mentoring. It’s a real-world solution that gives you access to the best, biggest, and brightest mentors out there, without:

  • Needing someone in your network to connect you
  • Getting on your mentor’s busy calendar
  • Paying an arm and a leg to travel across the country to meet them

It’s a strategy you’ll be able to use right away — within literally minutes of learning it — to get a world-class mentor on your time.

Why e-mentoring?

In my coaching business, I get a lot of people who ask “how do I find a mentor?”

It’s a good question.  There’s nothing better than having a great mentor!

Learning from people who’ve already done what you want to do is a serious game-changer. It’s POWERFUL.

I go deeper into the topic of mentoring in my new book Dream Job Redefined because it’s one of the best ways I know to dream bigger, think better, and do more.

One of my absolute favorite strategies is e-mentoring.

E-mentoring allows you to tap into world-class mentors…for FREE. You can implement this process instantly, you can do it anywhere, at any time, and there’s no upper limit — you can spend as much time as you want with your mentor.

The concept of e-mentoring is simple: You find a thought leader and dive into their content intentionally for a month.

The key word is: INTENTIONALLY. (More on that in a minute.)

By doing deep dives into your mentor’s catalog of work online — we’re talking interviews, videos, articles, and other free content — you’ll learn the most important concepts of their work and their journey.

It feels like cheating. But it’s just the 21st Century way to learn from today’s best thought leaders.

The 3 Ds of e-mentoring

Decide

The first step to find your e-mentor is to decide.

Sit back and ask yourself, “Who’s a thought leader I really respect?”

It could be someone who has walked a path that inspires you. Someone in your industry who has done things that you want to do. Or someone outside of your industry who has the kind of success or career or lifestyle that you want to have someday.

Let’s say you want to be an interior designer. Start by thinking about one of your favorite interior design brands. Who started that company? Who’s a founder or creative director?

Or maybe there’s a home design blogger and you have that love/hate relationship with — you love what they do, you love their content, but there’s just a little bit of jealousy. Because YOU want to do THAT!

Decide on one person to be your e-mentor for the next 30 days. You can pick a new e-mentor next month so don’t worry if you have a list a mile long! There’s time for everybody. But just pick one to start with this month.

In our example, we’ll use designer Nate Berkus as your e-mentor.

Dive

We live in such an amazing age. E-mentoring isn’t something our grandparents could do.

If they wanted to get to know somebody, they’d have to live in the same area, find a way to run into that person in town, and hope that maybe just maybe that person would agree to meet with them once in a while to mentor them. Not an easy thing to do!

Nowadays, it’s so cool (and also a little online-stalker-creepy) how much you can get to know somebody in a short amount of time through the magic of the internet.

Use it to your advantage!

For the next step in your e-mentorship, you’re going to open your laptop and do a deep dive into your e-mentor’s content.

Thought leaders share many of their biggest lessons during their interviews. They want to wow audiences with their A-game content, right? By listening to interviews with your e-mentor over the next 30 days, you’ll take a deep dive into their main concepts.

iTunes podcasts

Start by going to the iTunes store. Plug your e-mentor’s name into the search box and search for Podcasts.

Many thought leaders know that podcasts provide a huge platform for their message. (And yes, I’m a little biased because I have the Dream. Think. Do. podcast!) So most e-mentors will have a variety of podcast interviews you can listen to.

Podcasts are great because you can take your e-mentor with you wherever you go. You can listen to them in the car, on the treadmill at the gym, on a flight, on your daily commute… or just about anywhere!

Start inventorying the podcasts in your search results and make a Hit List of episodes that look interesting to you.

YouTube

When you’ve run out of podcast episodes, or if you want a change of pace, (whichever comes first!) hit up YouTube for more e-mentor inspiration.

Search YouTube for your e-mentor’s name. Look for videos your e-mentor has created, public speaking gigs, interviews, TV and talk shows, radio interviews…all of it!

Add interesting YouTube videos to your Hit List.

Google

If you want additional e-mentor resources, a good ol’ fashioned Google search is up next!

Search for your e-mentor’s name and scroll through the search results. Try filtering to show recent ‘News’ stories to see relevant interviews and current stories from their lives.

You can also do some advanced diving here and search for your e-mentor’s name along with a specific keyword.

Nate Berkus has an incredible personal story about surviving a tsunami and losing the love of his life in the process. You could search for “Nate Berkus tsunami” to zero in on resources that share more about it, if that’s where you wanted your e-mentorship to take you.

By now, you’ve got more than enough content to fill your 30 days of e-mentorship, right? So go dive in!

Aim to spend time with your mentor every day for 30 days. It could be as little as 15 minutes every day on your commute, while working out, or while walking the dog.

The key is to use your time consciously. Don’t dabble — be intentional with your e-mentor. This is a big opportunity to learn lessons that can change your life!

Develop a relationship

Now we come to the third and final D: develop a relationship. This is an optional step but one I highly recommend!

In this step, reach out to your e-mentor on social media to show support, let them know how they’re impacting you, and get on their radar.

Related: Jon Levy | The Science and Art of Creating Powerful Networks

To go along with the 3 Ds of e-mentoring, we’ve got 4 Fs of developing a relationship:

Follow your e-mentor on social media

Favorite their social media posts to show your support

Forward their content by sharing their links on social with your tribe

Follow up and personally reach out to start a conversation

A pro tip for following up with your e-mentor: be specific when sharing your feedback. Give heartfelt encouragement and share details about what specifically impacted you. That’s the kind of thing that catches a busy e-mentor’s eye.

Here’s a simple script to help you:

Hi [Mentor’s name],

I just heard your interview on the [name] podcast and your story about [topic] had such an impact on me. I just wanted to say thank you so much for what you’re doing.

Best,

[Your name]

I personally follow up at least once with each one of my e-mentors. Not all of them have acknowledged it and that’s okay – they’re busy people! So I don’t take it personally if I don’t hear back. But some of my e-mentors have written back and they’ve turned into acquaintances, podcast guests, and friends over the years.

You never know what will happen so give it a shot! What do you have to lose? At the very least, you encourage your e-mentor and thank them for all the free knowledge they’re sharing with you. Karma points FTW!

I hope you’re starting to see that you don’t have to wait for somebody’s permission to get a world-class mentor RIGHT NOW.

You don’t have to wait for somebody to say “sure, I’ll meet you for coffee”.

And you don’t have to wait three weeks for that meeting and then hope it goes well enough to maybe turn into a mentoring relationship.

E-mentoring is a concept that you can start doing today.

Just follow the 3 Ds: Decide, dive deep, develop connection. And BOOM. You’ve got a potentially life-changing mentorship!

What do you think?  Let me know in the comments.

Plus, comment and let me know one of your dream mentors.  Who’s someone you’d love to learn from?  Go ahead.  List one.  I can’t wait to see who’s on YOUR list!

And hey… I wrote my new book Dream Job Redefined to share more strategies like e-mentorship to help you dream bigger, think better, and do more. Click here to grab your copy!

Mitch Matthews

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