This weekend, I’m in the process of packing for a trip I’m taking to SLC to meet with one of my mentors and 100+ other people who are on a very similar journey as I am. It got me thinking of this whole concept of mentors.
I know a lot of men have questions about finding a mentor, connecting with one, and developing a win-win relationship so I figured I’d address this and give you some of my thoughts on the power of mentorship and how to make it work in your life.
Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time wandering around trying to figure things out on my own – my business, my relationships, my fitness – all of it.
This notion of the “lone wolf” has actually become more and more common since the advent of the internet. Google is an amazing tool but, at the same time, it’s difficult to decipher which information is going to be best for you.
I thought for a long time that if I could figure out the answers on my own that I would be able to save the money spent on hiring a mentor or coach.
Let me give you a little insight: figuring it (whatever “it” is for you) out on your own is significantly more expensive than hiring someone to teach you what they already know.
You might save a couple dollars but what is the time spent researching, experimenting, and running through trial and error worth to you?
Time is a finite resource and the only one we can’t get back. That’s why I’ve learned to harness the power of other people’s time and experience.
And, that’s exactly what mentorship does for you. Mentorship is a leveraging tool designed to reduce the amount of time, energy, money, and/or other resources figuring out what someone else already knows.
As I prepare my taxes for 2016, it looks like I will have spent in the ballpark of $25,000-$30,000 on one form of mentoring or another. Some of you may hear that and think, “that’s ridiculous.” But, it’s not coincidence that I made more money in 2016 than I ever have before. It’s an investment in myself which means that it will pay dividends.
There’s a lot of confusion about what mentorship even is and what it actually looks like. I personally think there are two types of general mentorship: direct and indirect.
Indirect mentorship comes in the form of gaining knowledge or information without someone physically teaching you. It’s typically the least expensive mentorship and, in some case, it’s free.
This could come in the form of books, courses, seminars, conferences, events, podcasts and blogs like this one – basically any form of gaining new insight without speaking directly with a mentor.
There is value in this although it’s what I would consider the first or basic tier of mentorship. My podcast guest earlier this week, Tom Bilyeu, talked about the concept of cultivating your identity and, when you become deliberate and intentional about the information you are consuming in the form of indirect mentorship, you are cultivating and curating who you want to become.
Direct mentorship is what I would consider the second tier, a higher tier of mentorship. This comes in the form of someone directly teaching you whether that’s in a group setting like our mastermind group, The Iron Council, or even individual one on one coaching.
This is going to cost you more money typically than indirect mentorship but you’re probably going to get some sort of customized plan and even some more accountability that comes with that.
You need a healthy mix of both. I read a ton of books, I belong to three mastermind groups, and I currently have individual coaches that help me with my business, my fitness, and my life.
FINDING A MENTOR
Let’s talk about who you should be looking to as a mentor. Very simply the answer is that a mentor should be someone who is already experiencing the results you’re after.
If they’re not already experiencing the results you’re looking for, there’s no way for you to know if this is someone who can even duplicate results for you.
Look for results. This is difficult, especially in the internet age, because it’s very easy to fake people into believing you have it figured out. Everything is so curated and so filtered that it’s hard for you to know what’s real and what isn’t.
This is where you should look for third party references. Ask a friend, ask someone who is already working with this person, and look for testimonials from other people – not from the would be mentor because those can be crafted.
If you’re looking for fitness advice, you’re not going to ask the guy who’s been sitting on his parent’s couch eating Cheetos and frozen burritos for the last decade – nothing against frozen burritos.
If you’re looking for business advice, you’re not going to want to ask the guy who has been an employee of a company for his entire life.
If you’re looking for money advice, you’re not going to ask the guy who just filed bankruptcy how to handle your money.
In other words, the first step is to qualify the source.
CONNECTING WITH A MENTOR
The second step to finding a mentor is to connect and lead with value. That value could actually be paying someone for his advice. It could be that you can make a meaningful connection for this person. It could be that you could promote his work to your circle of influence. There’s a thousand things you could to lead with value from helping the person out to paying them money and each relationship is going to be different.
Disclaimer and word of caution: Reaching out to a would-be mentor and asking, “How can I help” is not adding value – it’s adding work. Do some homework and get creative in providing actual value!
DEVELOP A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR MENTOR
Step three to finding a mentor is to think in terms of building a relationship. You didn’t ask your wife to marry you on the first date – well, at least, I don’t think you did.
It’s the same thing with a mentor. You want to be in this thing for the long-haul so don’t rush to think that you and your mentor are going to be best buddies the minute you start working together.
You may not like your mentor. He or she may not like you. So, take it easy, learn what you can over time, and continue to provide value so you can build a solid relationship that will last a long time.
I know I oversimplified this process but it doesn’t really have to be all that complicated or difficult to do. We have a tendency to complicate things as an excuse not to do what we already know how to do.
Again, it’s very simply, qualify the mentor through the results he is experiencing, connect with that mentor by providing value – whether that’s making connections, sharing his message, or paying him money), and last develop a relationship for the long-haul by continuing to provide value, and, this is a big one, actually implementing the advice your mentor is sharing with you.
Remember, you’re not reinventing the wheel – you’re leveraging the experience of someone else who has already figured this out and making it work for you.