We all know that obtaining a mentor in this life has long been old wisdom.
Millionaires like Bill Gates, Gary V, Tim Ferriss and even Elon have all spoken publicly about the benefits of life learning. We know that learning from someone wiser and more experienced about life will help your progress by leaps and bounds and inevitable give you one leg up on the competition.
Maybe your reason for getting a mentor is for personal growth? As Men we seem to love a challenge. Many of us love to learn especially as we age and in many professions we know how competitive the field can be. Taking time to network at the local watering hole or in the break room used to work with the boomer generation but these days you need to find an edge to really stand out of the crowd.
You hear top leaders everyday speak about how some of them have multiple mentors to keep an edge on the competition. Did you know Mark Zuckerberg was mentored by Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple Inc.. but Steve Jobs was mentored by the likes of mentor Guru Robin Sharma and many others.
No matter what level in your life you may be at currently there will always be someone who is a level or two up from where you are and where you want to be. I promise that if you seek out these people for mentorship and they decide to help you, take full advantage of every moment of the experience. Asking someone to mentor you is a very big honor and large responsibility. You are basically asking that person to become much like a father figure and teach you everything they know; so that in return you can become a better person.
The experience is very personal and challenging for both parties involved and if your mentorship goes well the relationship will end up being one of the best friendships you may ever have in your life, next to your wife.
I want to share with you a few tips on how to navigate mentorship successfully and thoughts about the obstacles you will encounter along the way. In my life I have been lucky to have 2 very influential mentors in my life. These men were not famous or Billionaires but they are very good men, hard working, honest with good souls and very skilled at living life successfully. I chose these men to mentor me because each one had traits I admired. They seemed to move through life effortlessly, as if nothing bothered them at all and as if their relationships, finances and health were in perfect order. They both were extremely disciple and diligent workers.
Each mentor had unique skills and approaches to teaching but one thing they both had in common was that they both were very hard on me and held me to a very high standard. A standard that each time make be question my very existence and had me questioning why I decided to sign up for this mentorship thing anyways…WHAT WAS I THINKING!!
But in the end it was all worth the hard work, sweat and tears.
Here are my top 5 tips for someone looking for a mentor and what you will need to know and expect before you go all in.
- Expect to grow in Maturity at a fast pace .
- Realize a mentors job and understand that “What you need the most, in not necessarily what you want right now.”
- Try not to let your feelings get in the way and understand that it’s just as painful for your mentor to help you grow as it is for you going through the growing process. Mentorship is personal and if both parties are not mature and emotionally stable the agreement can easily go south very quickly.
- Remember that your mentor is your friend and you need to be just as sensitive to his needs, thoughts and experiences as he is trying to be toward yours. A good mentor will be hard on you and will challenge your every thought, emotion and process that you thought you knew about life. He will basically make you feel like your and idiot; like you are a useless, stupid, immature idiot. But really that's your own self imposed insecurity. What he really wants is the best for you and it’s your responsibility to remember that.
As you go through the harsh reality and growing pains of having a mentor you constantly must be self aware of your emotions, thoughts and the boundaries of the relationship. In my experience with Gary.(photo above) I mentored under him for 3 years, he was a strict Baptist Pastor from South Dakota who raised 2 children, had 8 grandchildren and have spent over 16 years in Korea on missions with his wife Beverly. They invited me into their home for dinner several days a week. I attended church with them, worked alongside Gary on a daily basis and was privileged to learn how he lived. I shadowed his life for over 3 years changing my entire existence and over time I became a new man. I matured at least 35 years so now my soul has got to be around 63 of age at least. Gary was 73 in the photo above and I was 31 at the time where, back home in Mammoth Lakes, Ca where I have lived for 17 years.
You truly become a student of life…
Tip number 5 is one that I work on every day and the most important.
5. Learn to have humility in every way, throw away your pride and have a mindset and heartset full of love and understanding. This is the true key to personal growth and a successful mentorship.
If you truly want to be the man that you imagine to be in your lifetime like I do. You will have to learn to master your pride, you will have to understand that what you know, isn’t enough. That who you are now will not be who you will be in the future and that if you are serious about personal growth and being mentored, you must always show gratitude toward the person who has taken the time to serve you.
Many times in my experience, being a student of life is one of serving, one of extreme humility and a life full of many blessings. Along the way you will struggle with pride, fear and even want to give up. Both Gary and my other mentor have challenged me to the point I have wanted to fight them or the opposite, hug them with a full face of tears of utter gratitude for the love and wisdom they have shared with me.
So I leave you with a famous John Muir quote I have always loved. It’s about nature but really does relate to mentorship.
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”
- John Muir.