What I mean is this: work out where you want to be and who can help you get there by becoming your sounding board. Who has travelled the path you are now standing on? Who may help to open doors? The best mentor is a person who is already so successful, they won't perceive you as competition and they'll derive joy from seeing your accomplishments, especially if they recognise their younger selves in you.
In the past two years I pursued new, creative, entrepreneurial opportunities I had received no previous training for. Neither had I any prior experience in journalism, interviewing, public speaking, events, etc. I have given it some thought and I strongly believe that having a mentor (or three) is instrumental to climbing any mountain. I'd like to share my experiences and encourage you to follow my example.
When I left my last corporate job, I had drinks with what popular media like to call a "seasoned entrepreneur". I told him about my business idea and he listened patiently. He advised me not to worry whether it'll work out or not but to do my best. Hearing that from someone who knew "triumphs" and "disaster" was incredibly liberating. It took some pressure off me and allowed me to give things a go, treating each idea as a learning experience. During the last two years we've been meeting regularly, which has allowed me to use my mentor as a sounding board for anything from negotiating contracts to testing new ideas. A mentor, unlike your friend or family member, is likely to be honest and straight with you. Once you establish trust, you cannot ask for better quality feedback.
Another mentor of mine with a hugely impressive network of contacts in business and among media personalities has helped me with introductions to people I could hardly imagine meeting on my own. What you have to remember is that every introduction, every opportunity is an open door, but it's just that. It's up to you to make the most of it. Having a mentor means that you want to prove yourself being worth their time and attention. An extra incentive can only spur you further on.
There is no need to make a mentoring relationship formal. My third mentor has no idea I regard him as such! Nevertheless, he gave me priceless career advice and he has believed in me from the outset, encouraging me to write. In fact, perhaps the best thing about having a mentor is that they believe in you before you do. Somehow, it is easier to trust the instincts of your mentor, rather than your mother's or your best friend's, because of the professional, rather than the personal nature of the relationship.
You also have to think about what you could give back. Of course, there is intrinsic satisfaction in helping another human being and sharing goodwill. It must be a pleasure to see your fledgling succeed. But any relationship works best if it's reciprocal. There is something about a challenge of finding a way you can be useful in return.
These days people are fond of peer support: if they want to lose weight or run a marathon, they make a grand announcement on Facebook and rely on peer pressure to get them to the finish line. I propose a different approach. Get a mentor, someone you respect and regard as a role model. Be clear about your goals and look to develop a long-term relationship, not make a quick gain. It'll give you fuel to fly.