Principle 12: Find a Mentor.

Step One

Find a mentor.

You may be good by yourself, or you may think yourself good, by yourself.  But you’re not.

If you don’t know that you need help, that means you need help.  Welcome to Step One – You can’t go at it alone. It takes a village. Most definitely a friend, a sponsor and a mentor.  You need people around you, the people you surround yourself with make you the person you are today.

Your mentor doesn’t have to be Steve Jobs, Oprah, Bill Gates or Warren Buffett.  Find someone a step ahead of where you want to go and grab a lunch, spend a day.  Ask them many questions.  Look for how they do things, ways that they talk, speak, act, interact, challenge, grow, etc.  Find the point where they went for it, and study that point.

Age Differences

Greatness comes with age.  Maya Angelou said it best, “If you want to learn teach.”  She was Oprah’s mentor.  If you watch their masterclass, you will see the similarities between them.  As you live being a traveler on this road, it is best to have someone in your circle that has been there before.

Older mentors are wonderful as proven by a study of elephants which proved that older elephants make better leaders:

“Our study provides the first empirical evidence that individuals within a social group may benefit directly from the influence of an older leader because of their enhanced ability to make crucial decisions about predatory threat,” they wrote.

“Such abilities are likely to be highly relevant in other large-brained, long-lived social species where older individuals play a key role in coordinating group activities.”  via Telegraph.

Mentors can protect you, don’t discriminate too much on age though.  The widsom of experience is a great thing, but so is the wisdom of novelty.  The energy of youth.  Fresh eyes.  Being new to a situation, being able to see past the facade or the boundaries previously placed and wonder why can’t we do this, or go here?

Grant Mutual Respect

The key to a good Mentoring relationship is respect.  When you find someone you would like to emulate, give them mutual respect.  Grant it in full.  Ask them to tell you what they think, to open the door to a conversation when you’re a jackass, and to give you a good word when you’re down.

“View mentoring less as an act of graciousness and more as a strategy to capture benefits through relationships or otherwise that are likely to transpire for you as well.” – Making Ideas Happen

Most of all find someone that inspires you.  Someone that does something that makes your heart smile.  Look at the fruit of their life, is it what you want for yours?  Look at the way they interact with people and study them, make it an art.  Be a student of life, and most of all teach.

But certainly, find a mentor.

(And don’t be afraid to smoke a stogie with them, it will make all the difference.)

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