You now have great ideas to implement and complete your plans to reach your goal. Some of these ideas can be put into practice easily, but others will be raw and need refinement to implement. So many people try forcing a path through the thick undergrowth of ‘trial and error’, ‘traditional’ thinking and ‘lack of information’; exhausting themselves far short of their goal. This is when you may need to share your plans and goals with someone who knows about strategies and can refine your thinking; a person who has developed and proven principles over many years and who has demonstrated positive results. Such a person, a mentor, can open up your thinking to see a new direction and bring a new understanding of the principals to apply right through to the achievement of your goals.
What is a mentor? The dictionary defines a mentor as usually older and more experienced a person who advises and guides a younger, less experienced person. The word comes from Homer’s Odyssey of Greek mythology; when Odysseus left home for the Trojan War he left Mentor in charge of his household and, and because Mentor was a wise counsellor, Odysseus also appointed him to teach and protect his son, Telemachus. From this legendary guardian, Mentor, comes the word mentor.
In many countries of the world, the ‘elders’ in a family are mentors to those of the younger generations. They are guardians and protectors and they teach their accumulated knowledge and experience to the young people, so they will be able to follow in their footsteps. Such wisdom is often lost in western societies where the elderly are not always treated well and they are not given the respect they deserve by the younger generations; thus valuable life lessons go unlearned.
When pursuing your ambitions, whether they are life goals or business goals, after a time you find that you don’t see the business with the same clarity that you used to. Like living next to a busy road; after a while you don’t hear the traffic. Mentors, with their vast knowledge, can take a fresh look at you and what you are trying to achieve, see other possibilities which you were unaware of and give you positive feedback, thus compounding your effectiveness. Such people are trusted guides who can help you understand that there’s more to success than just knowing what to do to reach a goal. Mentors are there to guide you in “who you need to be, to do what you need to do, to have what you want to have’.
Mentors can be people you know personally and they can also be men or women you know only by their exploits. They are people who have become successful in their field through great determination. Your mentor could be on the other side of the world or that person may have lived and died many years before your time. Mentors can be found through reading biographies or books written about great lives. Their story may affect you so powerfully that you are challenged by their experiences, their resilience in the face of trials and their strength of purpose and their principles that brought them ultimate success.
Mentors are those people you want to model your life after. They are counsellors, protectors, guides, advisors and instructors who can give you a broad outlook on life by expanding your thinking and providing you with the principles you need to take you to success.
Many people use the words ‘mentor’ and ‘coach’ interchangeably but there is a fine line of difference. The word ‘coach’ has several meanings and one is “giving someone private instruction in a particular subject”. Although coaches are generally associated with athletes and team sports, everyone needs a coach. It is easy to lose direction when difficulties arise. Sometimes you don’t know what to do for the best any more and you can get to the point where there is little purpose in your day. Start working with a coach; just as in the sporting arena, a coach will guide you back on track and assist you to reach peak performance.
Coaching, however, is not just for when you are down and discouraged. Coaches are committed to challenging you to reach your full potential – to make you into the best person that you can be. Like mentors, they have the knowledge and experience because they have been there before you. They can help you discover and set your goals and they can train you to stay focused. They can also inspire and encourage you, through a process of selfevaluation, to improve your performance so you will be able to achieve your goals more easily. In doing this they can engender in you a need to maintain enthusiasm for what you are doing and you will receive emotional support and feed-back along the way. Coaches, like mentors, are people with whom you can share all your hopes and aspirations, confident that they will adapt to your daily needs, adopting the role of taskmaster, library of knowledge or persistent motivator, but always educator, in order to help you reach and grasp your dream. A coach is there to show you how, rather than just ‘doing it’ and leaving.
A coach will teach you new information, new skills and strategies and you will be shown how to measure your results. Some of those strategies, put into place on a daily basis, will form good habits that will lead to the success you are looking for. Learning to delegate can be one good habit to learn. Allow others to show what they can do and give yourself time to do those things that are most important. You will also be shown how to ‘think outside the box’ and detour around obstacles that present themselves from time to time.
A coach will push you to do what needs to be done but a coach is also your friend and will make you feel better about yourself, less stressed and more relaxed.
On the whole coaching embodies four essential principals for continuing success – education, inspiration, strategies and consequences. A coach will:
– Point you to the personal study you may need to do to gain the right knowledge to achieve your goal.
– Be a driving force to inspire and encourage you to engage on a daily basis and focus your efforts to achieve your goal.
– Teach you strategies that will bring massive results and lead to excellence in your achievements.
– Teach you to be accountable for what you say and do and help you understand the consequences of your actions both good and bad.
A coach is there for you and you will find the time well spent and exciting as you build toward the achievement of your goal and ongoing success.
It might be difficult to find a mentor or coach to help you, so another vehicle to multiply your effectiveness can be to bring in a partner for your venture. This can be a very productive way of meeting your need for growth. The old adage “two heads are better than one” can work well if you choose carefully and it can become the ‘power of two’. Choose someone who will fit your purpose and who will share the same vision as you. Keep a wise head on your shoulders as you investigate this path.
A partnership could work well if one partner has money but little time and the other has the time but little money. The one partner may be prepared to fund a venture and the other partner can bring their knowledge and skill to the partnership. This could be a good match. The person providing the money in the partnership may wish to be a ‘silent partner’, i.e. taking a background position and having little or nothing to do with the day to day running of the business; or they may wish to have a full say in the decision-making.
The partner without money may have failed in business many times on their own but, if they are teachable, often the right partner can make the difference and turn that failure into success. Many of the people in the world who have failed in business have tried to make it on their own and this has been their downfall.
When choosing a partner make sure you both have a full understanding of your roles and what is required of each other. A healthy partnership is one where each partner is given equal consideration and both are prepared to listen to each other’s ideas and concerns. Either way, the right partnership could help you realise your potential.
It is important to come to an agreement and put it in writing; that is fair to both parties. There is great power in agreement and King Solomon talked about that power when he said, “If one prevail… two shall withstand… and a threefold cord is not quickly broken”. It means that if you can stand together with someone who shares the same vision and is aiming toward the same goals, you will be able to address difficulties together, resolve issues and continue to move forward with greater strength over a shorter period of time.
Partnership can be very productive when done for the right reason and when you both have a determination to succeed. Together you can each unlock your potential while interacting and learning from each other. A partnership can provide support and strategy ideas that may not be thought of by one person alone. The right partner can help you plant the seeds for tomorrow’s success.