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Personal Capital -Part 2

This post addresses Personal Capital in relation to mentorship.
What does your Failure say about your Mentor?…maybe nothing, but the risk to your mentor is that people may think there is a correlation between your success and their mentorship anyway.
I have had this post in my mind for well over a year now but really had no good ideas how to put it together. Finally the thoughts that mirror mine were heard in a podcast by Tim Ferriss (author of The 4 Hour Body) interviewing Ryan Holiday (author of The Obstacle Is The Way)…both famous authors.

Ryan Holiday discusses how he connected with mentors to achieve success faster than he would have on his own..in his early 20’s. This is great advice, regardless of age or position in life.
Mentorship does not have to be an official relationship.

Ryan: “People think mentorships are like these very official relationships.”, Ryan explained. He went on to compare it to an apprenticeship from the old days where you are practically a slave to a Master of the trade for a number of years before you too can practice a trade. You don’t have to meet a mentor. Ryan goes on to explain that – “A mentor is anyone who you learn from. Who gives you advice and teaches you things….You don’t actually have to meet them for them to be your mentor.”

Did you realize that? You don’t actually have to meet a mentor for them to be one?
Quite honestly, that thought had never crossed my mind. I, like many, used to think that a mentor/mentee relationship had to be some kind of formal agreement started with a
handshake after an awe-inspiring lecture or something. One of the nicest things a mentee can do for their mentor is to actually put into action the advice given…and be successful!

Ryan: “You can have that with almost anyone. I think people hold out for this sanctioned, official relationship, rather than just learning from anyone who has wisdom or advice or value that they can pass your way, and that if you put it into practice and you do something with it, THEY see value in that as well.” Haven’t you ever given someone much needed advice as to what they should do, and then they actually do it…and are successful? I personally find that highly satisfying, and I am far more likely to help again. I might even stick my neck out and take some risks to help someone like that.

Tim: (paraphrased) The great philosopher Seneca..and extremely wealthy businessman… said that you should find someone you can use as a benchmark or a ruler to compare yourself to, so you can be more decisive when you have difficult choices, like: What would this person do in this situation? How would they act? What should I do here?

Tim: – “….ask very specific, short, life questions.” “I would ask questions that I thought would be helpful to me but very easy for him to answer.”
This is a great way to “feel out” a possible mentor. If they ignore a very simple question that requires little thought and a short answer, this might be a good indication that they just aren’t interested. Never take this personally, and don’t give up either. Experts and very famous people have so many who are clamoring for their attention. Persistence can pay, but hopefully you have a sense about when you are becoming annoying, and know when to quit and find another mentor to model yourself after.

Tim: “Asking someone to be a formal mentor is like the absolute best way to never have a good mentor.” (sic) it is like asking them to sign up for an unpaid part time job, because you assume they have so much free time. Tim Ferris explains that the word “mentor” may be better replaced by “teacher”. It is less onerous. Less heavy. Having this mindset about a mentor is healthy, and takes the tension/responsibility out of the relationship. There is no age limit.

I might also add, that there is no age limit for a mentor/mentee relationship. You see it in life all of the time. Older being mentored by younger, and vice versa. More than anything it takes an open mind and a humble spirit to be mentored, regardless of age. Leadership often is hesitant to be your “official” mentor and these are effective ways to foster this type of relationship. Always be respectful of what a mentor advises you to do, even if you disagree and don’t plan on acting on the advice.

Preserve the relationship, because the next piece of advice they give you could be a game changer.

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