The top achievers in our society often credit the efforts of their mentors for their successes. These mentors, the people who helped these top achievers on their journey through life, play a pivotal role in distilling life’s events into actionable learning experiences. The knowledge and wisdom passed along by mentors helps us avoid some obstacles, and get back on our feet faster after a setback.
With bigger successes and better lessons learned, it is no wonder that mentors play a pivotal role in our achievements.
All that can be asked now is, who is mentoring you?
Mentors and Coaches
When you are looking for a mentor, it is important to make the distinction between mentors and coaches. Both are critical for your success, but they serve very different roles. A mentor is someone who can provide you guidance on your journey. Someone that has walked the same path, and can leverage personal experience to give you insights into your struggles.
A coach, on the other hand, has a short term goal-centric focus. Your coaches will give you specific tasks aimed at developing critical skills that you need right now to reach the next level.
In the 1960’s and 70’s, there was a basketball coach earning notoriety on the west coast. Coach John Wooden’s team went on to win the NCAA championship 10 times in the 12 year period from 1963 to 1975. For the players on the basketball court, Coach Wooden was exactly that; a coach. He helped them focus on a specific skill set; like shooting the ball. This specific short term goal-focused development of skills is the hallmark of coaching. But during his life, Coach Wooden also gave advice to millions of people through speeches. Drawing on personal life experiences, his advice helped shape the journey’s of countless leaders. That imparting of wisdom makes Coach Wooden a mentor to so many others who weren’t directly coached on the court.
Where Do You Find a Mentor?
If mentors are critical for your success, where should you look for one? At the end of my teenage years, I was stumped. Like so many others, I was told that a mentor would help my growth, personally and professionally. But I was just a kid, still green around the ears. Who would take a chance mentoring such an unproven entity?
It was some time later, after graduating university that I came to the first of two realizations. Nobody is going to offer to mentor me. It’s my life, and I alone am responsible for it. If I want a mentor, I need to go find one. And the person I choose to be my mentor should be someone that I deeply respect, someone I can learn from, someone who walked the path ahead of me.
The man I selected, the one I wanted to learn from was Jim Rohn. There was only one problem. Jim had passed away a year or two earlier.
The second realization that I came across was this: it didn’t matter that I couldn’t call up Jim and talk about life. Throughout the years, Jim wrote books and delivered seminars. All the wisdom, support, and guidance I could ever ask for was stored in those pages, in those audio programs.
Understanding that you don’t need to have a personal relationship with your mentors was, as I would call it, a game-changer for me. I became a consumer of knowledge and wisdom from some of the top leaders, speakers, and entrepreneurs. And as I ingested lessons from my mentors, many of my own successes in writing and business could be attributed to the lessons that I learned.
With the way technology has progressed, we are no longer limited in who can be our mentors. The list of resources, of knowledge, of wisdom passed down throughout the ages is nearly endless. All that is left for you to do is choose a mentor that you believe in, and tap into the wealth of information that has been left inked on history’s pages.
Can You Have Too Many Mentors?
Now that we have gone from too few mentors, to countless mentors from all across history, the next question is: who should be your mentor? Can you have too many mentors?
While the list of possible mentors might be nearly limitless, your mentor still needs to be someone that you can believe in. Someone who has walked the path before you, who can help show you the way.
While my learning started with my mentor Jim Rohn, he is not the only mentor that I have tapped into. I have utilized different mentors throughout my life for my health goals, my relationship goals, etc.
You can’t have too many mentors, as long as a few criteria are met. Do you trust their wisdom? And are their lessons learned from experience?
What that really means is this: make sure your mentor has walked the talk.
You wouldn’t take fitness advice from an overweight personal trainer. Health advice from a sick doctor. Or spiritual advice from a politician. In the same vein, make sure that your mentors are people who are already where you eventually want to be.
When you follow someone who is going where you want to go, your path becomes a lot easier. That is the power of a mentor.
With the right mentors, you too will become a top achiever. Who will you credit as a mentor to your next grand achievement?