Starting off on the road toward a successful career is never an easy task. There aren’t always clear paths and what you start out trying to do might not be what you want later in your career. But, in more ways than one, the initial step is the hardest that you’ll ever have to take. More than ever before, we are all being bombarded with a vast range of choices and decisions, any one of which could make or break your career.

How can someone hope to make the best choices that will help them to move up the ladder of career success all the way to the top? One of the best, yet most misunderstood, recipes for success is finding a mentor to guide you. Here’s where to look and how to get started on finding a Mentor.

1. Let Everyone Know

Don’t be shy and not ask for what you want. Speak up and let everyone know that you are looking for a mentor. People around you are sure to take notice and remember you as being the one with the passionate and desire to learn. Some of these people might just be the very people who can help you better educate yourself on what you want to learn and refer you to the right people. One of them might be the person who helps to get you started toward a rich and fulfilling career during which you could well become the world’s leading expert on that very topic.

2. Look To A Person In Your Immediate Life First

Some lucky people don’t have far to look when it comes to finding a trusty mentor for their passion. Some find that a parent, an extended family member, or a teacher or University professor is already looking out for them. Occasionally, you’ll find all the help you need to get you started on your career path in the people you’ve known all your life or, at least, during a significant portion of it. It’s rare, but it is possible, so give them a good glance before you decide to search elsewhere. The main benefit is that they are already around you often, and meeting up and keeping in contact consistently is one of the most important aspects of a mentor.

3. Try Some Networking

The 21st century is the Golden Age of networking. Networking has expanded by leaps and bounds, increasing the size of the average business network by thousands of percentage points. Utilize the power of technology to keep in touch with current connections and then reach out to people who are where you want to be later in your career. Who knows what doors getting in touch with the right might just open up for you? Your potential mentor may be no further than a simple LinkedIn message away. Here are some additional ideas for networking.

4. Show That You Are Ready To Learn From Others

If you are going to be mentored by an individual who is already well respected in their field, you have to show that you are always willing to set aside your pride, ego, and all of your preconceptions concerning the field of knowledge that they are trying to impart to you. You have to always be willing to listen to advice, willing to try new and unfamiliar approaches to problem solving, and always ready to learn from the lessons taught by others. To draw and keep the attention of a potential mentor, you will have to be a person who possesses this openness and curiosity. TL;DR = Don’t be a know-it-all.

5. A True Mentor Is A Lifelong Friend

Always remember that a true mentor is a person who is there for you through thick and thin, good times and bad, and with you for the long haul. Don’t look for a mentor who you think can only be there in the short term. Choose a mentor who can also be a life long friend and will develop along with you. If you can accomplish this, your chances for ultimate career success through their mentorship will certainly increase. Keep your mind open, and your eyes fixed on the finish line.

6. Find Someone in their Prime Giving Back Years

There are many baby-boomers retiring right now, all of which have many years of knowledge that they want to pass on to the next generation. Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Look for someone who has valuable experience that can be a benefit to you career path. You’ll often find that they are eager to teach and mentor those who want to learn and use the information to make a better life for themselves and positively contribute to society.