Pivoting from the book reviews. Over the past few months I have asked each elder from our church to go to coffee or lunch. I am almost halfway through going to lunch with all of them. I cannot tell you how life-giving, inspiring, and humbling that exercise has been. I have had so many impactful things happen because of it.
I wake up every day eager to pursue my gifts and talents for something bigger than myself. All of that because of seeking perspective and encouragement from those that have gone before me.
Having mentors has had a tremendous impact on my life prior to this exercise. I would not be anywhere near where I am without them.
Talking to my peers and folks earlier in their career than me, everyone seems to understand the concept and value of a mentor.
BUT few know when or how to get one.
Let’s start with the WHEN.
I think you should have a mentor for almost every area of your life. Faith, parenting, marriage, fitness, career, etc.
They could be a coach, businessman, elder, friend, family-member, a book, or an article.
Your life would be greatly improved if you had a sage person who has been where you are and navigated it successfully time and time again.
Any large goal or career path needs a specific mentor.
Can you imagine how many invaluable words of wisdom a leader in your industry with decades of experience could give you? How many mistakes could you avoid? How much faster could you get to work?
YOU SHOULD NOT TAKE ADVICE OR MENTORSHIP FROM ANYONE WHO HAS NOT DONE WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO!
They should have done what you are trying multiple times and succeeded well….multiple times.
Professors, family members, and friends all have STRONG opinions. Unfortunately if they don’t have experience, they are probably very misguided. Be respectful but don’t listen to a word they say.
But HOW do you get a mentor?
Getting a mentor is not a transaction. It is a relationship.
Very few of my mentors would call themselves my mentor. They would call me a close friend.
Most of them started out with, “Hey, can I take you to lunch? I’d really like to hear your story!”
Just build real authentic relationships with people you admire and respect. Take people to lunch or coffee. Pay the bill if they will let you!
Ask them questions about themselves, life, and business. There are no shortcuts. Just build a REAL relationship with them.
Follow up with them once every 1-2 months and build the relationship.
After a few times of getting to know each other, you can ask specific advice questions. Listen. Ask how they handled that in their past. They will be eager to share. They are passing on some of their legacy to someone they see themselves in.
I have driven for hours. Flown across the country. Bought lunches, coffees, dinners, golf, etc. to pour into relationships with mentors I respect.
It has been worth every penny.
I PURSUED THEM. They did not cold call me or reach out to me. I took action to get to know them.
I’ve read magazine articles and books and sent messages to the authors. People respond a lot more often than you would think. I’ll be flying to Chicago in the Fall and driving across the state in the Summer to meet with authors and billionaires.
Why? To ask them about themselves and how they got where they are. I can’t wait for the lessons and stories and adventure that comes with that.
Send a message to that person you admire today! Ask them to go to lunch!