Let’s talk mentors. Part of what will massively pivot your direction towards success is getting a mentor. You know this; I know this.
It’s important that we keep in mind what we’re looking for in a mentor because each person in our lives is important and will teach us something different.
We must take the approach of Abraham Lincoln, who was always learning something valuable from someone, yet most of the time learning what not to do with his life.
3 Simple Ways to Maximize What You Learn From Your Chosen Mentors (and Help Them at the Same Time)
1. Become A Sponge Around Your Mentor
Mentors will often be sparing with their time, and sometimes will be more generous. This part is not up to us.
Our job is to become a learning machine.
The real mentors are busy doing great things with their lives and might not have the time, or really know how, to convey their wisdom in teachings. Teaching is not always in their job description, because we need to take the responsibility to learn all we can from them.
Sometimes we must observe things from them that we’re not interested in emulating, while oftentimes we will learn things by being around them that will rub off on us. This is more of a learning by osmosis, and is equally effective if not stronger!
2. Decipher What Will Be Valuable For You – Discard the Rest
Simply put, if we’re keen on getting a mentor, it’s generally so we can learn something that they know how to do. We want to absorb their years of experience, cut down our learning curve, and gain insight from their years the trenches.
We are not in their presence to clone their lives. We’re simply there so we can make a difference in our own lives, add some form of value to theirs, and grow and progress.
This means we need to figure out what will help us and what will not be beneficial to add to our lives.
If we’re listening to a business coach and want to learn to speak better, and we seek a mentor for that, then that’s what we’ll need to focus on.
Nobody is perfect and if this particular mentor has a rocky relationship with their spouse, we can put that to the side and focus on what they know about influencing crowds with words and energy.
There’s no point in trying to emulate their entire lives, because it isn’t possible and it really wouldn’t help us. Everyone has different opinions on life, and that’s completely fine. Take what works for you. Remember why you sought the mentor and learn about that.
Of course there is a fine line; don’t deal with addicts or crazy irrational people. Simply learn from people who you want to be like, and that have skills you want to acquire. You will inevitably become a bit more like them the more time you spend together, so be careful who you are choosing for this reason.
3. Give Your Mentor Some Value, Don’t Just Take It
This really expands to a deeper life lesson of constantly looking for proactive ways to hustle and help out more than the next guy. However, with mentors it’s important that they get some value from your exchange too.
At the least, this could mean some busy work, and at the best you can be a valuable asset if you bring them some marketable skills they don’t currently possess.
You can figure out ways to strike the balance between giving and receiving value, but remember, if you’re truly in a position with a high-status mentor, you’ll mostly be receiving the value.
This is expected, and if the mentor knows what they’re doing it for then it’s completely okay.
The water about to burst out is being pushed up by water below it. If you want to succeed, find leaders who are doing amazing things in the world, and push them up.
Find powerful people and help them reach their goals. If you’re of service to them, they will be of service back.
– Eben Pagan
Just make sure you aren’t leeching off of someone’s experience or taking them for granted. Exhibit the utmost respect as in:
- Taking action on their advice
- Taking notes in your interactions
- Finding ways to help them out without them asking
- Offering your skills and current knowledge
If you can figure out ways to lift people up from below them, you will make them remember you. Be their star, work harder than anyone they’re teaching, and really evolve into the enormous character you deserve to be.