Your imaginary mentor

Your imaginary mentor

Joseph Darby

Why you need an imaginary mentor

Do you have a mentor? A thoughtful, capable, motivated, intelligent human who’s a bit further along and can guide you in the direction you want to go?

Having a guide in life can be crucial to getting where you want to go, realising your full potential, and becoming who you want to be.

But there might not always be mentors readily available to you. Many people struggle to identify mentors. Asking them to be a mentor might seem like an awkward marriage proposal. “Will you be my mentor…?”

As crazy as it sounds, plenty of successful people have found comfort and guidance in 100% imaginary, totally one-sided ‘relationships’ with a pretend mentor.

Who might be an imaginary mentor for you?

The list is nearly endless. Who comes to mind when you think of someone successful and principled? It could be anyone living or dead, maybe:

  • Richie McCaw
  • Mother Teresa
  • Elon Musk
  • Serena Williams
  • Edmund Hillary
  • Nelson Mandela
  • You in 20 years, or at age 75!

Where you could find answers

If you don’t know what advice or pointers your imaginary mentor might give, you could find answers in places like:

  • Books they have written
  • Books written about them
  • Movies or documentaries about them
  • In their interviews, such as on YouTube
  • If they’re still alive, on their social media

Pay attention to them and learn about their values, how they made choices, and how they handled challenges.

What could you ask an imaginary mentor?


When you get into a difficult spot, or perhaps you are adrift and not sure what to do, you can ask yourself, what would they do in this situation?

Just think about someone who inspires you and ask what they would do. Consider the choices they’ve made and do the same or similar.

In General

Even when times are good, the sorts of general questions you might ask an imaginary mentor could include:

  • What steps did you take to get where you are now?
  • How do you balance creativity, productivity, and making income?
  • What does your life outside of work look like?
  • When do you know you’re ready to ‘level up’?
  • How did you prepare for the next inevitable challenge you knew life would throw your way?


Or, maybe it’s accountability that you need. Picture these scenarios:

  1. If you know you must provide a progress report to your imaginary mentor every evening before you go to bed, or
  2. Maybe your imaginary mentor is following you for key activities of the day, watching your every move.

In both cases, you’ll probably conduct yourself each day with a certain sense of purpose as you go about your activities, carrying yourself with a sense of duty to your imaginary mentor, attempting to live up to their expectations.

Why not have more than one?

While you wouldn’t want to get carried away, perhaps you have an inner circle of several people you turn to, depending on the situation. One might be career-focused, while another is more health or family orientated, or some other area of focus for you.

The bottom line: your imaginary mentor

The importance of having a mentor, or multiple mentors, throughout your life or career cannot be overstated.

Mentoring does not need to be a long-term commitment; even a one-time conversation can positively impact your life trajectory. An imaginary conversation with a mentor can help you identify new opportunities, open your mind to new ideas, advise you on how to navigate challenges, and be an essential component in the journey of achieving your personal, financial, professional, and other goals.

You may also like: