The most beneficial thing to ever happen to us was to get a mentor. Someone in life who had done it before, but was not attached on an emotional level like parents, friends, or even teachers. This one thing has been the greatest catalyst in pushing our lives to new heights each and every day.
Unfortunately, most parents and people with Aspergers are extremely clueless as to how to go about this. The good news is, it is easier than you think to get yourself or your child a mentor that can guide their life.
3 Defining Characteristics of a Mentor:
- They are not in it to be friends, or give you or your child good feelings. They are there for transformation and growth.
- They will give it to you straight. When you screw up, they will tell you what you did wrong, and how to fix it.
- They are solution oriented. If you come to them with all of your worries and issues, and expect them to validate you, then you are not in the right relationship. They will not pity you, or give you sympathy. They will, however, give you a solution.
As we said in the video above, having a mentor is a very special relationship. When someone points out where the issues lie, and how to fix them, one of two things happen. People either shut down and deny, or transform. We have done both. At first, we ignored the advice of these wise people. They would tell us to do something, and we would do the exact opposite. Sure enough, more pain and disappointment came. So eventually, we learned to listen, and take action on what they said. That is where the real change started.
So, how do you go about finding a mentor for you & your Aspergers child?
The 4 Steps to Finding a Mentor:
1. Set your outcome. What do you want someone to help you with, and what do you want the end outcome to be?
In order to find someone that will help you achieve your goals and dreams, whatever those may be, you first need to identify what it is that you seek. Do you want help with communication? Understanding behavior? Dealing with anxiety? Whatever it is, write it down. Then determine what the end outcome WILL be. Will you be happier? Able to walk up to complete strangers and have a conversation? Not panic every time you hear a strange noise? Write that down too.
2. Find someone that has already accomplished what your outcome is, but is not in the spotlight.
The trick to finding an amazingly transformative mentor is to find someone who has accomplished what your outcome is, but is not currently in the spotlight. So if you wanted to become the worlds’ best olympic swimmer, you wouldn’t go to Michael Phelps, you would go to the guy who trained him. Still good, but just not in the spotlight.
So for dealing with Aspergers issues, you would find someone that is really good at communication, focusing, social skills, understanding behavior, etc. Or someone that has had tons of communication issues, and has overcame them. This type of person is the best, because they can take you by the hand and show you exactly what to do, much as I am doing right now.
So how do you find these types of people? There are few places you can look. First, use good old google to start your search. Use search terms in this format: “(outcome you seek) expert” or “(topic) expert”. So If I wanted to search for someone that had gone through Aspergers, and grew into someone that has been through it all, I would type in “Asperger Experts” (Hey! I know them!).
But seriously, try things like “communication expert” or describe your problem such as “how to focus”. There will be a lot of crap. There always is, but if you take the extra 10 minutes to weed through the crap, you can find someone either through a video, or an article or book that can help you.
Other places to look for mentors:
You don’t want to outright look for mentors that can work 1-on-1 with you at this point. Just people who’s ideas you resonate with, and want to learn more about. Then hit google and learn everything you can about that person.
3. Consume your chosen person’s information that is already available.
This is a crucial step. Listen to their audios, read their books, watch their videos. Get to really know how this person thinks and behaves. Almost so that you can imagine what they would say to you in any particular situation. Really know them. Use the library if you need to.
Once you have chosen the person that you would like to gain insight from, now it is time to approach them. Email generally works best, unless they are local to your area. If they are local, try to go to one of their events, or schedule a meeting with them. Again, you are looking for expert, but not in the spotlight.
Here’s a sample email template to use:
Hi (name of person),
My name is (your name). Can I ask you a quick question regarding what you said in (their material).? I know your time is valuable, so I’ll be quick.
Thanks and looking forward to your response,
Simple, quick and to the point. If they say yes, ask your question. This is where #3 comes in, because the question you are going to ask is going to be based off of something they said in any of their material. This lets them know that you are serious. From there, a relationship can be established. Not everyone will get back to you or respond with a yes. Expect 1/10 to respond.
What you will find as you do this is that people will start showing up in your life, or talking about the very subject you are researching. Then you can skip the rest of the steps, and being to form a relationship with this person. Text them your questions, and ask for their advice. Alternatively, sometimes you will need to hire someone to be a mentor. That means that you are exchanging money for individual guidance. It generally isn’t cheap, but this type of mentor can be the best kind, because they are paid to get you results.
Please email us if you have any questions. (Hint: Look at our material first, then ask a question based off of that.)
P.S. Want to listen to one of our mentors? Click to listen to Jeff Combs talk about “The Breakthrough Factor” below. We highly recommend that everyone with Aspergers listen to his. In this audio he talks mainly to business owners, but this message is highly transformative for anyone. Click play to start the audio.