There may be some of us (myself included) who believe we must always battle through something on our own – a challenge, issue, goal, etc. We think that asking for help shows weakness or would make the eventual accomplishment mean less.
It required a great amount of maturity over time to open my eyes to the reality that we should take every opportunity to learn from those who went before us or are already doing what we want to do TODAY.
If we want to become our absolute best then we must look for every opportunity to accelerate our learning curve in our desired area of expertise and mastery.
Therefore, we must always be on the lookout for those who can help us meet our goals faster than we could do on our own – WE NEED MENTORS!
Yes, we all need mentors, and I’ve never heard the value of a mentor articulated better than when Sir Isaac Newton stated:
“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
These ‘giants’ in the context of mentors are those men and women who already scaled the proverbial mountain that we are attempting to climb, and have valuable lessons learned, pitfalls to avoid, and shortcuts that we can leverage to cut down on our trip up that same mountain.
Now I’m sure for some there is a hesitation to reaching out to someone we respect and asking them to be a mentor. Or maybe there isn’t anyone in your immediate life right now who has successfully done what you want to do.
Either way there is good news! Gaining a mentor doesn’t mean you need to awkwardly ask someone to be your mentor as if you were asking someone out on a date.
Throughout my career and post graduate schooling, I signed up for every mentor program offered as there is no substitution for a true mentor. They give us focused advice and guidance. We have one-on-one time to ask our specific questions that are tailored to our unique experiences and desires for the future. So if you have an opportunity to create a one-on-one mentoring relationship then do it!!
However, if we currently don’t have a mentor or do have one, yet need additional expertise and guidance than what they have to offer, then let’s look at a different approach.
First, we all must come to the realization that mentors are all around us. When I shifted my perspective, it was a game changer and allowed me to tap into a huge supply of willing and able mentors (even if they don’t know that I consider myself their mentee)!
It’s time to open yourself up to a different type of mentor – for the purposes of this discussion, let’s call them ‘virtual mentors’. There people are already compelled to share their wisdom and help as many people as they can through a variety of mediums:
- Lessons from their books
- Recorded Webinars or videos
- Speaking engagements
- Blog posts
- And so on…
By engaging with these great minds through a variety of different mediums you can reap the following benefits from these ‘virtual mentors’:
- Quantity & Quality – search out mentors for each area of your life or career you want to improve
- ‘Work’ with them on your own time – Where before I would struggle to make meetings with my physical mentor work, they now ‘ride’ with me on the way to work and to and from dropping my daughter off at daycare
- Start and stop mentoring relationships at will – you may feel you’ve learned everything you need to in a certain area, so move on to someone else (no awkward mentor/mentee break up required)
I have gleamed more golden nuggets of leadership, mindset, physical training / self-care, relationships, business, and so on from these sources than anywhere I can think of.
I wanted to provide a quick glimpse into who I am currently hanging out with and learning from. This list changes over time, but I wanted to share some of my ‘mentors’ (nope, none of them know me) and the areas of my life that they add value:
- Todd Durkin (Physical, Mindset, World Class Performance)
- Robin Sharma (Mind, Spiritual, World Class Performance)
- Joel Osteen (Spiritual)
- Good Dad Project (Family, Parenting)
- The Minimalists (Mindset, Values, Getting rid of physical and mental clutter)
- Lewis Howes – School of Greatness (Mindset)
- Tim Ferriss (little bit of everything)
Once again, let’s not forget – a real mentoring relationship is worth its weight in gold, but if you haven’t found someone accessible that you want to learn more from, or do have a formal mentor but want to expand your growth in areas that they may not be experts, then be aware of the all the options available to you today at a click of a button.
Let’s always remember that we are greater together than as individuals. We must continue to strive to learn from others as we continue our journey towards our best selves in order to realize our highest goals and aspirations.
A final thought on mentoring: Pave the way for those who come after you…
One more thing before we go. As we succeed as athletes on our chosen fields of competition, it becomes our duty take advantage of the opportunities to GIVE BACK.
Find an aspiring ‘athlete’ in your workplace or circle of influence and help them begin to grow and reach their potential. Make sure they avoid the challenges you faced and they go forth on their own journey to make a positive impact in the world. I’ve read many books and listened to various talks from successful people, and one common theme from those who are truly fulfilled is that they prioritize giving back to the world that has given them so much.
SO let’s leverage mentors and stand on the shoulders of GIANTS, and then let’s become the mentors for those who need it!
If you’ve had a successful mentor-mentee relationship in the past, what were one or two key attributes of the relationship that made it a success?
What ‘virtual mentors’ have had the biggest impact on you?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."