Who are your mentors?
If you’re like a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs that I’ve worked with, odds are that you might not have a mentor. You might have heroes — the people whose work and success inspire you, but mentors are a distinctly different category.
When I bring up mentors and the power of mentorship at Cardone Ventures events, one of the most common questions I hear is, “What can mentorship really do for me?” and the honest answer is that mentorship can truly be the difference between achieving and not succeeding.
Finding the right mentor for you is absolutely critical to your success.
Because mentorship is about sharing knowledge, skills, and life experience so that the mentee can better position themselves in reaching their full potential. The mentorship process and relationship can take on many different shapes. It can be formal or informal. It can, and probably will, change and evolve.
A mentor can be a role model, a voice of reason, and perhaps most of all, a trusted resource in any variety of personal, professional, and even financial situations.
Why are mentors so valuable?
Mentors can offer you so much more than simply a model of success. A mentor — the right mentor, to be precise — can provide you with guidance on the state of your business, advice on what to do next, encouragement when you’re sorely lacking confidence, and exposure to their network, which, of course, is invaluable, because this essentially acts as an endorsement for your business.
Let’s not forget another critical factor in having a great mentor: constructive criticism. A good mentor is going to be someone who is willing to be real with you about your goals and your plan to achieve them. They’re not there to pay you lip service, regardless of how successful you’ve become. They’ll keep you grounded while you’re reaching for the stars.
How do you find a great mentor?
This is another question that I’m often asked. People understand the value of having a mentor, but how do you find one? Providing someone with mentorship is a commitment of time and energy, so often those seeking this support will aim low in who they approach.
I say do the opposite. Find someone who has achieved a level of success that you admire and whose advice can pertain to your own professional trajectory, and passionately study their body of work. Learn everything you can about their accomplishments. Find a way of attracting them into your life. This could be through social media, live events, professional contacts — whatever makes the most sense given your specific goals.
I’ve even developed a two-part process for finding great mentors, and it’s one I’ve used countless times over the years in my own life and for those who I’ve worked with in my businesses. The first half we’ll cover in this blog, and this part of the process is called “Find and Study.”
Mentorship, part 1, phase 1: Find
When it comes to finding a perfect mentor, you have to understand a few important things, namely what are your goals, and who are the people you most admire and respect whose accomplishments reflect the ones you want to achieve?
When you think about a great mentor, think about the impact you’d like them to create in your life. How could their experience relate to your goals? What qualities matter most to you? Are there certain things you feel you need to avoid? Why or why not?
Aligning yourself with mentors who’ve already achieved what you want to accomplish or finding people who reflect a level of achievement you’ve established for yourself will keep you focused on creating a more perfect vision of your goals and how to achieve them.
Identifying mentors that you like but aren’t in alignment with your goals will distract you from getting what you really want out of your life and business.
Another reason I find this part of the process so important is because it helps you develop a clearer picture of what you want to achieve. All too often people’s goals are murky, and therefore unachievable. There’s no clarity, therefore there’s nothing actionable, and thus these people’s lives stay idle.
Asking yourself these questions and considering these other important factors will lead to you creating the shape of a person or persons who will be the perfect mentor for you and your goals, someone whom you can align with and be focused and intentional in your conversations.
Of course, after you find the right mentors who have achieved the sort of success you admire and possess traits you should emulate, then it’s time to study them so you can replicate that success.
Mentorship, part 1, phase 2: Study
Okay, so you’ve found mentors you admire, so now what? Well, now is the time for you to study their work, their processes, and the aspects of their life and career that will help you create your own version of success.
In my experience, the most effective way to study a mentor centers on focusing on their accomplishments, their intentions behind those accomplishments, and, in most cases anyway, the shape of their unique body of work.
You need to validate that their accomplishments are truly similar to what you’re trying to achieve yourself. Are there motivations, actions, and behaviors that align with your method of work? Will emulating these processes contribute to your growth and development? Having a mentor that doesn’t have the right experiences, knowledge, or motivations is a waste of your time and theirs, frankly.
And once you’re certain you’re aligned with the right person (or persons), there are multiple ways in which you can study them.
Dive directly into their body of work. Read every book, article, tweet, blog, and piece of content you can get your hands on. Watch every video. Take every course. Go to every live event you can and participate as much as you. Dissect every detail. Don’t just look at what they’ve accomplished, but get a deeper understanding of how they accomplished it and who they accomplished it with.
Did they work with a team? What kind of team? Was it big or small? Did they outsource work, or do everything in-house? Look for the granular details and you’ll surely find wisdom beyond what you see on the surface. Soon enough, your model for success will be clearer, because you’re duplicating proven methods and processes.
Also, it’s important to note how often your mentor is creating new content. Are they continuously putting out new information? Are they actively growing their body of work with new, fresh, and inspiring ideas?
Remember, you’re doing this work to contribute to your own success. You’re essentially mining for gold, so aligning yourself with mentors you feel confident can give you more than just a nugget or two of wisdom. Be wary of those personalities who claim to be business coaches but work alone. They might have certain insights, but growing and scaling a business probably isn’t one of them.
Remember, success is replicable when you understand the reasons behind its being created in the first place. A mentor is the perfect way to help you feel more confident in your journey, especially when it feels like no one else understands what you’re going through. They will, and they can help you avoid the mistakes they might have made in their first few go-arounds.
In time, you just might find yourself in the mentor seat, coaching entrepreneurs through their business journey. But before we get to that step, I would ask you to join me for part 2 of this series, where I’ll be sharing with you how you can attract mentors into your life, as well as use their success to create your own through a process I call “drafting.”
If you’re interested in learning even more proven business techniques from me and the Cardone Ventures team, then you should join us at one of our upcoming events. You learn beside business owners just like yourself who are striving to 10X their companies and their lives. The seats don’t stay empty for long, so register NOW to secure your spot!