Last week I taught a business and leadership bootcamp in Vermont to an incredible group of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and leaders. One of the topics that came up was mentorships and the value of a mentor.
The whole conversation started when we began talking about the five relationships you need to live a wealthy life. Wealthy, not just financially, but in health, relationships, community, career, and ultimately your fulfillment. The five relationships include your top 5 financial wealth determiners (the people you pour into daily), your top 25 allied resources (these are the five people that each of your five wealth determiners pour into), love (family, siblings, friends & co-workers), the person you determine wealth for, and mentors and role models. We could talk about these different relationships for hours, but let’s just focus on mentors and role models today.
After my class, several people emailed me to ask if I would be their mentor. Did I feel completely deserving of the request? Not really. Flattered? Definitely. But regardless, the answer wasn’t a quick yes. In fact, it wasn’t a yes at all! Being a mentor to someone (in the traditional sense) is an honor and commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly by either party. I consider a traditional mentor someone who is guiding you along your career path, coaching you through big life decisions, and providing you with advice specific to your business or career.
I’m nothing if not self-aware and I am definitely not a traditional mentor. I don’t have weekly coffee dates or monthly lunches with anyone in particular. So while, I may not be the [traditional] mentor for you, you should work to get mentors in as many areas of your life as possible, like a financial adviser, a business or career coach, or a personal, physical, or spiritual role model. But here’s the thing – these mentors and role models don’t have to be weekly coffee dates. Hell, you don’t even have to know them or have ever met them!
Let me explain. Mentoring or being a role model isn’t always about regularly meeting with someone. If you’re looking for a mentor in your life, all you have to do is open Instagram, pick up a great autobiography from your local bookstore, or attend a conference. It’s about finding the people (who you may know personally or not) that are truly living the life that you want in those six categories (financial, business, career, personal, physical, spiritual). It’s about following what they do and then implementing it. If you want to be a thought leader and motivational speaker then you might follow everything Tony Robbins does – from reading his books, watching his videos, and attending his live events. Not your style? Then maybe you follow Marie Forleo and do what she does. If you want to build an investment portfolio, then perhaps you read, listen to, and watch what Ray Dalio or Warren Buffet does. Regardless of what area you want to work on – there is a mentor and role model for you.
The trick is to really identify want you want and what lifestyle you want to lead and then find the people who are doing that. And be careful who you take advice from. For example, I wouldn’t recommend following someone who is a single narcissistic workaholic just because they make a lot of money, if your ultimate goal is to be financially wealthy AND have a fun and fulfilling family life. You also don’t want to follow people who haven’t really done what you want to do. People LOVE to give advice, but are they following it themselves? If not, move on. Fast!
So, like I said, I may not be a mentor in the traditional sense, but I do coach and mentor my leadership team and employees regularly. That is where I have chosen to devote my time and energy. These people are 100% invested in me as their leader and I am invested in them. And, yeah, it is pretty cool that people want me to be their mentor and might be looking to me as a role model for life or business. I wish I could spend one-on-one mentoring time with hundreds of people, but it’s just not feasible. It’s one of the reasons why I put so much time into creating content (webinars, blogs, podcasts, live events, etc.) and so much time pouring into my team, who in turn share our vision and mission through their own content and network. The people who happen to like what we are doing – great! Maybe they’ll follow my Ironman training schedule, or start to work between vacations, or allow their standards to be the bad guy with their team, or start Transcendental Meditation, or commit to reading 52 books a year. Those are the people who I do end up getting into relationship one way or another (as an attendee at an event, a future employee, or business partner).
So why are people looking for a mentor or role model in the first place? I think it’s a couple things. They are looking for proof that it’s possible to achieve the things in life that they want (money, travel, freedom, a family, writing a book, whatever). I think people are also craving growth and want to be inspired by someone to change their thinking and habits. But here’s what mentors are not. They are not miracle workers. They are not going to do the work for you. And they don’t always have the answers. But they just may give you enough inspiration to change your life forever.
My mentors and role models range from people I see regularly, to people I only talk to on the phone once a month, to people I have never met. They all provide incredible value to my life and I can only hope to do the same in turn over time. Here are my mentors and role models:
- Dr. Smith – Spiritual mentor, specifically Transcendental Meditation
- Gary Keller – Mentor in all areas of life
- Tony Robbins – Role model for inspiration and energy
- John Spinney – Physical mentor and coach
- Ray Dalio – Mentor for business, spiritual (Ray also practices TM) role model, and role model for principles on life and work
- Warren Buffett – Role model for business and investment philosophy (My particular favorite: “Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1.”)
Who are your mentors and role models?