Science shows us that the highest performers in business and in general always seek sound mentorships. This is different than simply having someone you admire or respect or follow on social media. These are relationships that they invest time and/or money into. Even if they don’t “meet” the mentor in person, the most successful leaders and CEOs are actively learning from their mentors by engaging in their teaching- just like athletes learn from a coach. This can be in person, on the phone, online, in blogs, or other interactive means. It might start as consumption of educational content, but it becomes consumption turns into ACTION that impacts the person who receives the new knowledge. They look to the mentor specifically to learn and actually take action on the things that they learn in order to make a positive shift on their own journey. It is a critical aspect of real, long-lasting success. So… how do you know who your mentors should be?
Here’s a few criteria to consider:
- A mentor should always act in YOUR best interest. There are a lot of “influencers” out there who may be “popular” or have “social influence” but they are not necessarily acting in your best interest because they have their own agenda as the core driver of their actions and words. Listen and observe carefully and over time– it’s not always easy to see on first glance.
- A mentor should be acting and speaking from a place of discernment and wisdom. Lots of people know “stuff”. But only a selection of those people know how to apply what they know to the context of other moving parts like environment, adaptation, resources, and mindset.
- A mentor should always be humble. They will have mentors in their own life– not just people they admire and respect for results, but people they’ve actually built relationships with and learned and taken action from. They’ll be the ones who continue to learn no matter how smart or successful they are and they will always try to never be the smartest person in the room. The humble teacher will never allow their ego to be bigger than their desire to keep growing and developing.
And here’s the BIG one:
Mentors should have ALL THREE of these elements. Not just one or two. ALL or nothing. That might sound harsh, but it’s the truth and it’s important. Why?
If they operate with item 1 (your best interest) but lack items 2 and/or 3 (wisdom or humility), they may be well intentioned but their guidance will tend to stray from best practice because it’s based on emotion.
If they operate with item 2 (wisdom) but they lack items 1 and/or 3 (your best interest or humility) you leave yourself open for manipulation where their agenda is forced on you and you might not even realise what’s happening. You’ll be lead astray, smiling the whole way until you realise you’ve gone far off path and the person you followed has their own needs met but you’re still wandering.
If mentors operate with item 3 (humility) but miss items 1 and/or 2 (in your best interest or wisdom), they’re a nice friend to have, but they’re not positioned to offer sound guidance yet.
The process of mentorship is critical, but it must be done with attention to detail, investment in the process, and a willingness to do your part. When you can approach it with a lens for these three key characteristics, you’ll set yourself up for game-changing success in your business. Take an inventory of the people you follow, look up to, and allow to influence you. Remember its a privilege for anyone to get that kind of influence in your very valuable life… the mentors you allow in that presence must earn that privilege. But you’re the gatekeeper…
Until next time, lift some people up and live your legacy.