As the African proverb says, “if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.”
Success doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly doesn’t happen alone.
The most successful people in business, athletics, entertainment, and others did not achieve that success by solely focusing on their own thoughts and ambitions. They leveraged the expertise and advice from various mentors at each stage of their career (and life!).
Like a novel, our lives are divided into chapters with a mix of emotions and milestones along the way. With each chapter, we find new challenges to overcome and opportunities to embrace.
From health and fitness to career ambitions, we are constantly learning, evolving, and growing.
If we are all given the same structure, why are some people more successful and satisfied than others?
An early calling for success and the path that led me here
At the age of seven, I started my first business. I painted and sold rocks to support 9/11 rebuild efforts and instantly caught the entrepreneur bug.
At age 13, I made a decision that would seal my current course. I decided that not only did I want success in business and life, I wanted to learn the shortcuts from people who’ve blazed the path before me.
Even then, I knew I couldn’t (and shouldn’t) go down this path alone if I wanted to achieve my goals. I actively sought out information, learning from my mentors’ successes, just as much as their mistakes and challenges.
“But how did you have a mentor at age 13?” — I understand the skepticism.
The truth is, you don’t need to know your mentor personally to learn from them. They can teach you through their content if you’re willing to listen and take advantage of it.
How a mentor can support your career, health, wealth, and relationships
Let’s break this down into what you should expect from a mentor-mentee relationship.
First, a mentor is a trusted advisor.
This person can help you navigate this next chapter of your story, whether that’s a career move, health journey, relationship stage, or some other question or issue. Your mentor will provide a sounding board, helping you talk through current challenges, ideas, or goals.
A mentor can:
- Provide knowledge, insight based on experience, and advice
- Broaden your professional network, connecting you to people who may be able to further support your goals
- Provide encouragement and support
- Help you improve in a variety of areas so you can be the best version of yourself (knowing you will continually evolve and become even better as time goes on!)
And biggest of all, accountability.
Everyone realizes success differently.
Success to you may look different than it does to someone else. It’s important to view your success in a holistic way that includes not just your business, but your physical health, relationships, and financial freedom as well.
Mentors aren’t one-size-fits-all
You don’t need to find the one perfect, unicorn mentor who can help you with ALL of your life questions. That person doesn’t exist. In fact, your mentors most likely have mentors of their own to support various aspects of their lives.
I have different mentors that I study and learn from to model our business, and to help me with my health, fitness, finances, and overall wellbeing. I invest in these people because I know the return on my investment will be huge.
Learning from these people helps me avoid some mistakes or roadblocks along the way, and provides me with a valuable roadmap.
Mentorship can take many forms.
It’s not just about face-to-face meet-and-greets at a coffee shop. Some of the mentors I’ve learned the most from, I’ve never met in real life.
And others don’t even know I exist!
“But wait, if they don’t know you exist, how can they be your mentor?”
That, my friend, is the power of social media and the digital era we live in today. We have access to virtually anyone with just a few clicks and a little bit of research and effort.
When you find someone who is sharing great content and seems to align with your goals, learn from them! That simple act makes them your mentor. Seriously!
Consume their content on social media or read their books. Invest in their products. Buy from them to experience their sales process. Take a course they’re offering. Invest in coaching. Listen to a podcast they either produce or are a guest on. The opportunities to learn and take action are endless.
But don’t rely solely on this method of mentorship. You need accountability, which comes from mentors that you can engage with 1:1.
Remember: Just because someone may seem inaccessible, doesn’t mean they are — you’d be surprised how easy it can be to connect with people and start a meaningful conversation if you just give it a try!
Great! Now, how do I find a mentor?
First, let’s talk about you. You need to put the energy out there to demonstrate that you want to be successful.
Show that you’re already passionate and interested in your industry/field by being active on social media, sharing content, and engaging with other posts (e.g., like, comment, share).
Create a platform that attracts mentors in your life.
For example, you could start a podcast, guest blog, or video series to invite potential mentors you want to meet.
Whatever you choose, focus on providing mutual value for the people you want to build relationships with.
Collaboration is the name of the game here.
Quit the cringy, thoughtless practice of, “can I buy you a coffee?” or, “may I pick your brain.”
Nobody wants their brains picked. Ick!
But the right person will want to help you.
Your approach is everything. Offer to exchange something you can do for the time or mentorship of your preferred person.
If you’re skilled at social media, do it for free for your mentor in exchange for their mentorship in other areas.
When you do get that conversation going, be sure to ask lots of great questions — and don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions.
Also, don’t be scared to invest in a mentor.
It’s actually a good thing to invest money in people who can help you because not only will they be more committed and apt to help you stay accountable, but if you’re financially invested you’ll also be more emotionally invested to take action on the information.
The reason most people don’t succeed is although they get the right information, they are not committed to it and don’t take action. Accountability is absolutely critical to making a mentor-mentee relationship work.
Hearing the information is one thing. Taking action is another.
Make it a goal to outgrow your mentors
The point of a mentor is to help you improve in your career, health, relationships, wealth, etc. So you should expect (and plan!) to outgrow your mentors and seek out new mentors to support you in your next chapter.
Adopt a mindset of continuous learning and improvement.
Pay it forward
Mentors provide an incredible value to your life and career. As you learn and grow along the way, don’t forget to pay it forward. Chances are, someone is looking up to you right now and consuming the content you produce.
I don’t just talk about the value of mentors; I am an active practitioner.
I host B2B Mentors, a leading podcast that features top industry experts who share proven strategies and actionable inspiration on B2B marketing, leadership, and business development.