Mentors Are Hiding Everywhere
Whether you are aware of it or not, you choose mentors all the time. If you are not consciously choosing them, you may unwittingly be affected by mentors who model bad habits. Good mentors are hiding everywhere; finding and paying attention to the right ones will help you piece together the puzzle of your unique life.
Image Credit: David Goehring
So What is a Mentor Anyway?
In general terms, a mentor is someone who trains or advises us. We commonly think of this in a positive light; however, it is possible to get bad advice or improper training. So, it’s up to us to find good mentors and identify the ones who are doing us harm, albeit inadvertently.
Taking Stock of Those Close to Us
Sometimes it’s easier to start by thinking about those around us. Make a list of the people who you connect with on a fairly regular basis. Be sure to include family, friends, coworkers you spend time with, etc. Then, ask yourself these seven questions:
- What do I admire about [enter name]?
- What drives me crazy about [enter name]?
- Do I feel good or bad after spending time with [enter name]?
- What activities do I usually do with [enter name]?
- Do those activities get me closer to my goals or pull me off track?
- Are our values in harmony or do they conflict?
- Does talking with [enter name] cause me to stretch or challenge my thinking?
After thinking about your answers to these questions, rank each person on a scale of 1 to 10. Here’s a visual to help you figure out how to rank them.
- If someone ranks a 1 to 3, you might want to begin the process of removing them from your life. At a minimum, limit the amount of time you spend with them.
- People who fall in the 4 to 7 range are likely people you enjoy spending time with doing certain things. Get better at saying “Yes” to spending time with them when it counts and start saying “No!” when it’s likely to drag you down.
- For those people who rank 8 or higher, you should start looking for opportunities to interact with them more. These are probably the people in your life who are already acting as a positive mentor.
Isn’t One Enough?
If you have identified one awesome mentor in your life, count yourself as very fortunate. But don’t stop there. I have a “many mentors” rule that says you should bring as many positive influences into your life as possible. Then:
- Listen to what they have to say,
- Try on ideas or practices that seem appropriate to you,
- Keep what works best for you, and
- Ditch the rest!
I believe it’s important to not blindly follow any one person. You have to think for yourself and be mindful of what you choose to implement. The four-step process above is a good way to triage information received even from the best of mentors.
Where to Look for Mentors
Amazing mentors are hiding everywhere. Here are some of the places I’ve found them.
I’m a sucker for books related to money, real estate and self-help in general; I’ve have read many of them. Why do I keep reading them? Because I always get at least one amazing kernel of wisdom that I hadn’t heard before, at least quite like that. Perhaps it’s just that the time was right for me to “hear” that message. Each book/author is a mentor of sorts.
Some of my favorites are listed on my Resources pages.
People around you
Earlier in this post, we talked about filtering the people already in your life to see where the great mentors already exist. Now I’m talking about paying attention to new people that you might encounter. Always be on the lookout for people that will add value to your life. Look for opportunities to engage with them in a mutually beneficial way.
I haven’t done this yet, but I plan to. Mastermind groups are abundant and cover a wide range of interests. You can find them on various social media channels or just Google a subject with the word Mastermind and see what comes up in your area. Meetup.com is another site that makes it easy to find people of like interests or to organize a new group.
Of course I’m going to include blogs as a resource for finding great mentors. I follow a lot of blogs, some of them are listed on my home page under Blogs I Follow. I can’t encourage you enough to start subscribing to blogs on subjects that interest you. You can always unsubscribe any time.
I have received so many inspiring posts in my inbox. This is a great way to stay focused on your goals and to interact in the communities of like-minded people who contribute on various sites. Most of the people are truly amazing~bloggers and readers alike.
There are several radio programs I enjoy and when I’m in my car I’ll tune in if the time is right. Two of my favorites are Dave Ramsey’s show and Ken Rutkowski’s Business Rockstars show. While I love music, I can’t resist these shows.
I’m a podcast lover. There are so many amazing people out there doing exceptional podcasts. I download them off iTunes and listen to them when I’m on walks, in my car and sometimes when cleaning the house. Do yourself a favor and give it a try.
These are just some of the places you’ll find inspiring mentors. Where have you found yours?
Mentoring is a Two-way Street
It’s important to realize that mentoring is a two-way street. We can all learn from each other. Honor those people in your life who step up and mentor you by at least trying on what they suggest. Share your experiences with your mentors and with others who are in your situation. Don’t be shy about commenting on blog posts or online articles that held special meaning for you — I can’t tell you how many comments I’ve read that moved and inspired me. We all have something to offer…
How Have Mentors Appeared In Your Life?
I’d love to hear from you. How have mentors appeared in your life? Did you listen to them from the beginning or did it take years to finally hear what they had to say? Are you mentoring others? What’s that like for you? Please share your experiences in the Comments below.
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