November 4, 2014

To thine own self be true

Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival for 21 nights. He won the bet!

As everyone who’s heard Funny Business will know, one of the seven keys that journey taught me was about the importance of help from others – ask and you shall receive.

Well, what better way of asking for help than the guidance and assistance you get from a mentor?

Ok I know there’s a debate about mentors versus sponsors versus coaches, but I’m not planning to even touch on that. What I’m talking about are those people who willing work with you, providing advice and guidance, challenging you to push yourself further, or to look at things another way, pushing you to achieve your potential and instilling confidence in you. Personally I don’t even think this has to be formal – to me, “will you be my mentor?” smacks of the playground request,”will you be my girlfriend / boyfriend?”

Instead I think that the informal supportive relationships can work best.

Even then the challenge is in creating this type of relationship. Busy, successful people, might make amazing mentors, but only if they can find the time and see the benefit. Like the job market you need to stand out. Here are my top tips for bagging yourself that mentor (and no kidnapping them is not the answer!).

1. Start with a small simple request – a coffee / short meeting.

2. Then get your elevator pitch sorted out – they need to know who you are and what you want from them.

3. Take some time to think about what you could offer them – whether it’s the satisfaction if helping someone achieve their full potential or perhaps the possibility if access to different networks or even the chance to test drive a possible job candidate.

4. Shakespeare got it right – “be true to yourself” – your mentoring relationship must be based on trust so save the blagging for the pub on a Friday night.

Which leads me to my last tip…

5. Be humble and grateful (but not gushing!). Let the relationship grow slowly and take time to show your gratitude as you go through.

This blog is dedicated to all those people who helped me in my Edinburgh journey – you know who you all are – without you I’d be £1 worse off but more importantly be poorer in terms of life experiences.

Click here to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.


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1 Comment »

  1. I must agree that good mentors or should I say motivated mentors can give you a big push and help you get to the next level. And a mentor doesn`t need to be any genius. He/she can give you a big leverage just by supporting you and telling what he/she thinks would be most reasonable thing to do in that situation.

    And like you wrote, the one who gets advices from the mentor need to show his/her gratitude towards the helper! That is the best price mentor can get…

    Comment by Joonas Ollgren — January 8, 2015 @ 12:15 pm

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