Hello there! I assume if you are reading this post, it's likely you have taken the road less travelled as an entrepreneur. You might have pioneered a new idea or a new product, and it's highly likely that along the way you are encouraged by multiple people to keep going and pushing forward despite your unorthodox idea. Those people are really important in your life. Don't take them for granted.
As the saying goes, "Nothing great can ever be achieve alone."
Looking back, for every goal I have achieved in my life, I can always trace back to a mentor or an individual who helped me achieved it. I'm extremely blessed to have some incredible mentors in my life - people who have spoken words of wisdom into my career, business, finances, personal life, spiritual life and relationships.
The world's most successful entrepreneurs would always credit their successes to their mentors. They understand that success is not a one man show and that mentors play a crucial role in their lives. Having a mentor in life is not a sign of weakness but it shows that you are willing to learn and be adaptable to change for the better.
Here are a couple of examples of influential people with mentors:
Bill Gates always credit his success to billionaire investor, Warren Buffett.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook talks a lot about his inspiring mentor, former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs.
Jack Dorset, CEO and co-founder of Twitter turns to Disney CEO, Bob Iger for business advice.
Bill Campbell is the Silicon Valley 'coach' who mentored Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.
If you want to catapult yourself ahead in life, I encourage you to find someone who is already where you want to be and learn everything you can from that person.
I personally think everybody needs a mentor. Someone who is further along the road than you are. Someone who you associate with that will affect your thinking. Someone that will impact your life in a positive way. And the list goes on.
Mentorship is NOT a new concept
Let me bring you back in history. Bare with me.
Have you heard about a book that talks about the crazy guy, Odysseus who goes on a voyage and fights crazy sea monsters?
Yes, that one.
In summary, before Odysseus goes on his journey, he speaks with his friend named Mentor. He says: "Hey Mentor, please look after and advise my son while I'm away."
The word Mentor stuck around and we are using it today. There are so many other examples of mentoring relationships back in history:
Freud and Jung. Socrates and Plato, Hayden and Beethoven.
Mentoring takes place where one person invests time and energy in helping the growth of another person. A mentor is someone who is able to identify your blind spots. Someone who can help you see clearly where your life is at the moment, then create a vision for where you want your life to go and make a plan to get you to your destination.
I personally really like this quote by Oprah Winfrey:
In the journal of Applied Psychology, a study "Career Benefits Associated with Mentoring Protégés: A Meta Analysis" found that people who are being mentored have more career successes.
When building a business, there were many times when I needed moral support from someone. Someone who is able to give the encouragement and guidance to me to get out of my valleys. If there wasn't a mentor there for me, I could have easily gave up or "caved-in" emotionally.
Preventing the Same Mistakes
Whatever you want to achieve in life, if you have a mentor who has been there, they are able to share their mistakes with you so that you can prevent making the same mistakes. Why wouldn't you skip doing things the hard way? A mentor can show you the way of bypassing the pain and lost resources that come from making the same mistakes.
Stimulate Personal and Professional Growth
A good mentor will always focus on helping you to develop yourself. They are able to build on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. My mentors are able to help me set various goals and watch behind my back while I'm achieving the small little goals and provide feedback.
Here are some lessons I've learned and discovered while finding mentors and being in mentorship:
1. Know what you want in life
Ask yourself: In what area in your life do you want to grow?
Everyone has a different definition of a mentor. The word mentor means something different to everyone. Some people think mentor is a life coach or business coach. Others think mentor is a sage who will help answer life's most difficult question. Are you looking for a mentor to pray over you? A life coach? A business coach? A sports coach? A Financial coach? A relationship coach? The list goes on and on. Have clarity in what you want in life!
2. Know what you want in your mentor
Find someone who has the fruit on the tree, someone who is already at where you want to be in the future.
For example, if you have a goal of generating $100k in monthly revenue from your business. The very first step is to start small, let's say $1,000 per month. Then you can progress to bigger goals such as $10,000, $50,000 etc.
Find someone who is currently also making $1,000 per month and learn from them. When you are progressing and making $1,000, it's time to find someone else, perhaps the next level, which is $10,000 per month and let them mentor you so you can keep growing to achieve your goal.
3. Where to find your mentor?
a. Your circle of influence
It's okay to look at your circle of influence as a first step and see who can help you. Your friends probably know you better than a famous mentor out there. They know your good or bad habits.
Keep an eye out for someone in your organization who could invest their time into you.
The best professional online networking tool you can use is LinkedIn. Connecting with people has never been as easy as today. We are all connected either 2nd or 3rd degree away from someone we can learn from and imitate.
Books make a great type of pseudo-mentor. There is so much you can learn from a book of someone's life experiences.
4. Mentoring requires an authentic relationship
Relationships go both ways. Go that extra mile to build that relationship with your mentor. Let me share with you why that is important. When you build that relationship and trust, your mentors are more willing to share with you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear.
Mentors do not like hurting someone's feelings, if you don't have a strong relationship with your mentor, your mentor might not tell you what you need to hear because they don't want to hurt your feelings.
5. Don't ask a question and expect your mentor to give you an answer
Mentors are there to guide and help us to navigate through our problems. My goal is to always learn how they think and why they think the way they think. It's okay to ask for an answer but you may eventually want to think independently if you want to grow to a higher level.
6. Critical feedback from your mentor
Critical feedback may at times be hard to accept or hear. You might hate it at first, but you won't forget it. Don't take any of them as an insult, use it as a catalyst to improve yourself. The key to being a good mentee is to listen when your mentor is coaching you. Lower your ego!
7. Show appreciation and take their time seriously
A mentor like helping others to achieve their goals and most of them do it out of willingness. They invest time to coach you, make sure you are prepared every time you are either talking to them on the phone or meeting them in person. A simple thank you card would show appreciation for someone investing their time to mentor you. Make sure when your mentor has a game plan set out for you, that you follow through and implement.
1. Pray for eyes to see.
Ask God to bring people into your life who can be mentoring voices and people you can pour into. Chances are, God has already brought someone into your life who is ready to be a voice of encouragement and wisdom.
2. Belief in yourself.
While having a mentor is important, believing in yourself is equally important if you want to achieve your goals and dreams in life. Believing in yourself is not something your mentor, your friends or your family could provide. It has to come within you.
3. Have fun in the process.
Mentorship is not all about serious work and coaching sessions. Have a lot of fun building trust and relationship with your mentor. Grab a coffee with them, go out on a trip with them. After all, they are human beings too!
If you don't have mentors yet, don't worry. It's never too late to look for one now. I encourage you to get out there and be proactive about finding a mentor or mentors to help you in areas you want to grow.