It happened again… it happens all the time. At least a few times a week.

I guess someone heard a podcast or radio show I was on recently, so this morning, I woke up to an email of someone claiming to be frustrated with life, and they are seeking success online. So, he told me, “with your help, maybe I will see better days.”

Am I expected to respond to this message? What value do I get out of this relationship?

To me, it looks like he has an attitude problem and he thinks someone owes him a handout of sorts. I do not know this person. I have never spoken to this person. Heck, he didn’t even leave a name or contact information. So, am I supposed to read someone’s email rant, then watch them ask me for something, all the while offering zero value in exchange for my contacting them? I think not.

Far too often, I read blogs or questions on Quora where people are talking about finding a mentor… seeking a mentor… “How can I get a mentor to do stuff for me?”

New flash kiddos, that isn’t how it works. No one owes you anything. It is not my job to guide you through your frustrations of life – it is your job to realize you are the cause of your frustrations. It is not a mentor’s job to hold your hand, it is your job to do or give something in exchange for a mentor’s time. A mentor owes you nothing – you owe that mentor everything. People seem to be going in the completely opposite direction they should be going when seeking mentorship. You should not be trying to find someone who can do things for you, you should be finding ways you can provide value in exchange for a mentor’s time.

You should also not start out a conversation with a rant. Someone who emails me, proclaiming to be frustrated with life, sounds like a victim. Someone waiting for a handout, thinking the world owes them everything, with higher expectations for everyone around them than they have for themselves. This behavior will never land you a mentor.

If you are seeking out someone to help you, present them with an offer they cannot refuse. Give them equity in your brand, offer to do an unpaid internship in exchange for someone’s time… heck, wash their car, shine their shoes, pick up their groceries. But do not think for a second that a stranger owes you their time. It is your job to get off your own ass and build value, not anyone else’s.