I believe that some people are confused on what the word mentor means. They think it needs to be some elaborate meeting and that it will equal someone else dictating what they will do with their life. If that’s the meaning of mentor, then I don’t want any part of it. Here is the definition of mentor – “An experienced and trusted adviser. To advise or train.” Take it or leave it, that’s what it means. To seek out a mentor means that you want to be advised as what to do with your life.
If you are mentoring or being mentored, then you know how important it is. The reason for being mentored is to have people speak into your life who have been through what you are currently going through or what you will go through in the future. They can help you make less mistakes, because the truth of the matter is that you can either learn from mistakes or from mentors. It’s your choice.
The 2 topics that my mentors help direct me in is my relationships and my businesses.
These two topics are my biggest concerns. At first, my main issues with being mentored were that I didn’t have enough time to meet with them and that I wanted to just keep some things personal. When I realized that mentoring can sometimes be done by just a phone call or by checking in weekly or monthly and that life is best lived with others in community, stepping out and seeking advice from people I respect and who I want to speak into my life became much easier.
My biggest prioritized relationship is the one with my wife, Jasmine. My second highest priority in relationships is with my kids. When these are in sync, life is great. When they aren’t, chaos abounds. Since these relationships are so important to me, we have finally set up ways to ensure that they don’t lower from our single top focus. How did we do this? We now enforce the top three rules of marriage – constant communication, honesty, and show each other our individual love languages. [Book] (Jasmine’s love language is quality time and mine is words of affirmation.)
Mentors of mine who direct me in the relationships department with my family need to have been married for at least fifteen years and have grown children. There are just so many issues that are dealt with inside of marriage that people who are single don’t deal with. Of course there are plenty of things that I take away from people who aren’t married, but what I cannot take for myself from them is time management. The main difference between people who are married and those who aren’t is the way that time is scheduled, and for me that is a huge deal.
For those who are married, there should be time set aside every day for family time. For people who don’t have a family, then this time can be used for other things. So, to say that I should be able to keep up with people who are not married in my work would be a ridiculous goal if life’s priorities are correct. Yes, everyone has the same amount of hours in a day, but the way we use it is completely different depending on where we are at in life. My best advice is to research the background of people who you are reading about or letting speak into your life, because they might not have the same responsibilities as you and that drastically changes things.
This is the best criteria I can give you for selecting a mentor. If there are people who are married who have a great relationship with their spouse and children and accomplish a lot in their day, then I am all ears to hear their secrets as to what they do to get it all done. These are the people that I want to learn from.
In business, I look to other successful entrepreneurs for mentoring. My measures of successful entrepreneurs include their influence through innovation, continual growth, a great company culture, close relationships with employees and customers, and an extremely profitable bottom line. With younger entrepreneurs and CEOs in the picture than ever, age is definitely not a factor for me in guidance with successful business mentoring. While I typically look for older people to direct me in relationships with my family, a higher priority for me in business is to evaluate the valuable perspective of business people, regardless of age. To dismiss the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world would be stupid on my part. In business, it is more about the life experiences that possible mentors have been through more than any other factor out there.
Who already has a handle on the target market I am pursuing and how can I improve on what they are offering?
It is innovation that got successful business people to where they are at, and it is innovation that will also help my businesses to continue to grow. Innovation is the key to growth in this day and age of business, so a top priority of mine when talking about mentors in business is to find those who have a grasp on cutting edge innovation and what people will want tomorrow, so I can seek out wisdom there.
When someone achieves greatness any of these areas, then I know I want to become closer to them, because we have common ground that can be built upon. If these friendships turn into mentoring relationships, then great. If not, then we have something and common and I know there won’t ever be that awkward quiet space in conversation.
Of course, there is a difference with my relationships with mentors and friends. This isn’t to say that I am this selective with people I have friendships with, but I am very selective when choosing mentors. If I want to become better, then I believe that the people who I allow to speak into my life on a mentoring level will ultimately have a huge impact on who I am as a person. This being said, my goal in surrounding myself with better people is that I become better myself.
I hope this podcast has sparked an interest in you to step out and become mentored yourself. I can promise that being mentored will only help you find success in your endeavors.
Now, go and find a mentor, today.