The Special Force of Mentoring
Having a mentor I an integral part of getting where you want to go and achieving what you want to achieve, as fast as possible, with the fewest mistakes. I consider mentors to be key components of maximizing your Conquering Force.
In your life, you have probably already enjoyed the help of several mentors. For example, you may have had a parent, coach, teacher, or associate who made a major impact on your life. A mentor could even be someone you don't know personally-someone whose philosophy or example touched you so deeply you decided to emulate him or her. In some way, directly or indirectly, these people were there for you. They knew what they were talking about, and they showed you a better way to achieve.
Why try to reinvent the wheel when you can talk to its inventor? The person who desires to be successful will always learn from other people's successes as well as from their mistakes.
Everyone needs mentors. They are critical in our quest to enjoy the best our lives have to offer. Mentors are ideal if you want to capitalize on the shortcuts and proven methodologies for creating wealth, closer relationships, or any other important objective. Don't ever believe that someone made it to the top without the help of others. And don't let fear or pride keep you from seeking mentors.
A decade ago, mentoring was a hot buzzword-people acted as if it were something new-but mentoring isn't new in education or business. For centuries craftspeople have set up guilds with apprenticeship programs where newcomers learn their skills from seasoned artisans. Mentoring has been a mainstay in the world's military establishments: armies take in raw recruits and mold them into soldiers by using seasoned, experienced, and often battle-hardened drill sergeants as teachers. When recruits have classroom instructions, read textbooks, follow lesson plans, and use teaching aids, they are benefiting from the expertise of top military mentors.
Today, businesses also rely heavily on mentoring. Mentoring goes on every day, everywhere. It goes by many names, and it has made many advances. It is a source of guidance you should not leave to chance. Never ask someone to teach, train, guide, or lead you if that person has never successfully done what you want to do.
FINDING THE RIGHT MENTOR
Of whom are you going to ask questions? Obviously you'll seek someone who knows the answers. Whom you put your trust in is very important, so choose carefully. Seek the advice and guidance you need only from people who have achieved what you want to achieve.
There is a joke I once heard about two friends discussing religion. Call them James and Joe. James said to Joe, "Obviously you don't know anything about the subject." "Yes I do," Joe retorted. To prove that Joe didn't know anything about religion, James said he would give him five dollars if he could quote any of the Ten Commandments. Joe accepted the challenge, thought long and hard, and then said, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." James was very surprised and handed Joe the money. "I didn't think you could do it!" he said.
You must be careful from whom you seek advice. Avoid those who only have opinions, not facts.
The importance of finding and utilizing a knowledgeable, experienced mentor is immeasurable. Usually it is not difficult to find a good mentor. Most highly successful people are more than willing to spend time with you and help you understand what got them there. Usually they love what they are doing, and if you share their enthusiasm for their specialty, they are willing to help. I know I am when someone asks me.
When I'm mentoring, I'm giving back that which was so graciously given to me. I love mentoring others and showing them how to create the success I now enjoy. I mentor others willingly because I love knowing that I played a part in their success. The sign of a good teacher is when the student surpasses the teacher.
People sometimes come to my office and stay for a week at a time. They fly with me on business trips or attend my speaking engagements. I even mentor over the telephone, via e-mail, and through newsletters-internationally. I became who and what I am because of my Core Desires to succeed, and because I asked successful people how they got where they are. Then I listened to what they said and did what they suggested.
In my office I have a plaque listing all the people who greatly affected my life. At the top of the plaque I engraved, "To these people I owe an eternal debt of gratitude for their substantial influence in my life." Each day when I sit in my office, I think of all the people who helped me get where I am today.
How do you get someone to mentor you? Simply ask. You can call them or write a letter. All you need to do is let your potential mentor know that you are serious and not interested in wasting their time. Let your prospective mentor know that you consider him or her to be the perfect role model for you. Give honest praise for their accomplishments, but more importantly, be sincere in your request and your dedication.
When I was twenty-eight years old, I asked a wealthy gentleman from my church to mentor me. He had the kind of life I wanted-time for his family and plenty of money. Although I didn't know him, I called him and told him that I wanted to be like him and have the lifestyle he enjoyed.
He chuckled and said, "Sure! Come over to my house sometime, and I will tell you what I know." He was my first business mentor. I was able to create a substantial net worth over the next five years because of what he shared with me. I was a good student: I took notes in his presence, and I was an avid listener.
I find that many people are more interested in impressing their mentors than in listening to them. Taking notes or recording what your mentor says on tape will ensure that you don't overlook something important. It will also give you the chance to review your notes and listen to the tapes as needed.
Don't expect mentors to pop out of the woodwork and present themselves to you-seek them out. Networking is a great way to meet mentors. I have always found that when you are most in need of a teacher or mentor, one will enter your life. Don't stop with one mentor-seek many more. The time and effort you put into finding great mentors will be repaid many times in the long run. They'll prevent you from making time-consuming and costly mistakes. You may only get one good idea from a mentor, but it could be the very idea you need at the time .
By Jack M. Zufelt
"Mentor To Millions