Billionaire hedge fund tycoon Ray Dalio and entrepreneur and music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs met during a photoshoot for Forbes magazine’s list of “100 Greatest Living Business Minds” in 2017, when Combs approached Dalio and started asking him questions.
“I didn’t really know who he was,” Dalio would later say.
However, their meeting would become a lasting relationship. It was a mentorship that Dalio hoped would, as he tweeted in 2019, help Combs “take his great success to another level.”
But you don’t have to be a famous to find a great mentor. Rather, Dalio has some key personality traits for establishing a strong mentor relationship.
“The first thing that it starts with is humility,” Dalio says. A prospective mentee should approach their desired mentor and say something like: “I’m worried that I don’t know the best [next move], and I really do want to learn.”
Your mentor could also be someone you already know who supports and cares for you. And you don’t need to designate any one person as your “official” mentor. Instead, find multiple people who can help provide advice across various aspects of your life. The only requirement is that you’re open to their ideas and suggestions.
At first look, Combs may not seem like someone who needs a mentor. The 51-year-old had already turned his musical talent and entrepreneurial acumen into a fortune worth $740 million through ventures like record label Bad Boy Records, bottled water brand AQUAhydrate, clothing company Sean John, and alcohol business Combs Wine & Spirits.
However, the 72-year-old Dalio happily agreed to mentor Combs, especially after learning of his particularly fraught path to success.
Combs was born in Harlem, New York, and raised by his mother after his father was murdered in 1974. “My father was a drug dealer,” Combs said, “so I learned early in life that there [are] only two ways out of that.” Combs chose to focus on his studies rather than following his father’s path .
That desire to do good clearly resonates with Dalio, who stepped down as co-CEO of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates in 1975. Since then, Dalio has focused on Principles, a people management software company designed to help share his decades of knowledge with younger generations.
For Dalio, the bottom line is: “If you’re receptive and you look and you listen, [the right mentors] will come.” Anyone can find a valuable mentor, just as Combs did, if they keep their minds, as well as their eyes and ears, open.