Over the years I’ve had different mentors.
There was Brian who I met when I found myself in jail at 16 years old, and others like Gerry who I reached out to 10 years later when I was weeks away from going bankrupt running a $1.2M dollar company.
They showed up when I needed them most. Some refer to them as their “Yoda’s,” others call them their teachers. I like the word mentor, even though I’ve never asked them to be, or called them that in person.
I jokingly say, “mentors are the people you turn to, for making huge life decisions, instead of your parents.”
Ideally they’re someone who has no vested interest in your decision and are living a life that you aspire to live.
The following is a list of characteristics that I’ve found some of the most impactful mentors share:
1. Ask You Great Questions
Want better answers? Ask better questions. That is one of the best skills of a mentor.
They’ll ask questions that will help you expand your thinking and look at the problem from different angles.
I put a lot of value in someone’s questions versus prescriptions.
2. Never Tell You What To Do
The best mentors never give you the answers. They typically provide you with context and great personal stories of similar challenges they’ve been through, but they never tell you what to do.
3. Quick To Respond To You
All of my mentors reply almost in real time or at least the same day I reach out to them.
This is primarily for the following reasons:
- I only reach out to them with big challenges
- I always execute on their advice and follow up with the outcome
- Most challenges are time sensitive
The key is that they’re quick to call or email and always seem to make time when it’s really important.
4. Inspire You Through Their Actions
The mentors that I value the most are the ones who continue to create and move their lives forward. They’re relentless and in those learnings, extreme relevance is born.
The messenger is just as important as the message and great mentors can back up their advice with relevant guidance based on active learning.
5. Never Make You Feel Stupid
This is probably the most important aspect of a great mentor. No matter how bad the situation is, they never make you feel ignorant or inferior.
Their advice is always uplifting and supportive. They may acknowledge the challenge but help you put it into perspective so that you remove the emotion and make the best decision.
There’s quite a bit that’s been written on finding and working with a mentor, but I felt it was necessary to understand when you’ve actually found a good one.
If you feel they don’t pass the filters above, keep searching for someone who does.
Overall, great mentors leave you feeling a sense of Clarity!
Do you have a mentor? How did you find them? What are some tips for interacting with them? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.
– Posted from my iPhone