Mentors are Myths.  Or at least unicorns.  If you are waiting for a mentor to help develop you professionally, my best advice is to stop waiting for the magic mentor and go create your own opportunities.

I have written about the concept of five minute mentors, and the more people discuss the topic, the more I believe that learning from whomever you can whenever you can in combination with taking charge of your own destiny is your best path for success.

How many people do you know who have a professional relationship with someone who is really a mentor?  I would be shocked if you said any, let alone many.  The odds are just not good.

People are busy and distracted.  They have their own interests to take care of.  And even those with the best intentions don’t have the ability to be a mentor in the way that most people think about the word.  If you are able to get someone who can be helpful to pay attention to you, that’s fantastic.  Do what you can to develop a relationship and learn, but don’t have expectations that the relationship will endure on an ongoing basis or that they will think of you when you think that they should be.  That’s setting yourself up for disappointment.

Even worse, it may lessen the so-called pressure on you to straight-up hustle your butt off to make things happen for yourself in your professional life, whether as an entrepreneur or as an employee.

If you can find someone to be that person who puts their arm around you, says, “you are the chosen one,” looks out for you, tells you when you make good decision, tells you what to take away as a learning opportunity from bad ones, calls you when a new opportunity presents itself that is perfect for you, then by all means, grab on and don’t let go.  But kind of like the woman who waits for a Disney prince to live happily ever after, it’s probably not the best recipe for success in the real world.

Make your own opportunities and success.  Someone else can open a door for you, but in the end, you need to walk through yourself.