No matter what you do in life and business, you will not succeed without the help of great mentors along the way. Many times we have mentors in our lives without even realizing it. They can come in the form of a teacher who spends extra time making sure you understand the material so you can get a better grade, or maybe in the form of a great coach in sports. Mentors come in all different ways.
And at times during our lives, we must seek out mentors to guide us and help us to level up.
But, what makes a great mentor? I have been blessed with many great mentors over the years and as I have looked back on them, I have noticed 5 traits consistent across all of them.
They are Wise
Good mentors are wise. Now, this may seem like a given as you seek out a mentor for guidance. But, what is wisdom? Wisdom is not just being smart. Wisdom is true experience. It can only be found by being in the trenches and having gone through the ups and downs and everything in-between in the area of life you are looking for their help. Great mentors are not just smart, but experienced and wise in practical ways because they have been there and been through it. When looking for a mentor in an area of your life, make sure to look for someone who has "been there and done that" and gained true wisdom in doing so.
They Hold You Accountable
Mentors hold you accountable and discipline you when needed. They are not afraid call you out or disagree with you. They keep you disciplined and focused when needed. In fact, you will know that you have a mentor that truly cares if they are willing to hold you accountable and impart discipline into your life. In this area, in some ways, they are like a parent who is raising a child. A parent who cares will hold their child accountable and discipline them as needed to help them learn and grow in the right way. I've often told those that I coach, it is when I stop challenging you or holding you accountable is when you need to worry, because that means I don't care anymore. Find a mentor that cares and embrace them holding you accountable.
They Challenge You In Ways You Don't Expect
Another thing that good mentors do is challenge you in different ways - unexpected ones. They do this because they see the things you don't see, blind spots, and they help bring them to light. A good mentor will help you work on the areas that you are not good at as well as fostering the ones you have talent. They have an ability to see the whole picture and help put it together in the best way. They are not afraid to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear, and then help you in your development.
They Help You Live Into Your Potential
As discussed above. good mentors can see the bigger picture and potential blind spots. In doing this, they can help you live into your potential. In fact, they can help you realize your true potential and that you are capable of much more than you realize. They not only help you understand this, but more importantly, they help you to take the actions to make it a reality. This is one of the most exciting parts of working with a great mentor, finding out what you are truly capable of.
They Make Time For You
Mentors are usually successful people in demand or have pursuits that keep them pretty busy. Another sign of a great mentor is that no matter how busy they are, they seem to find time for you, especially when you need them most. This trait is rare in today's world. To find someone that will set aside everything they have in their life and on their plate to help another person is a blessing. And great mentors do this consistently. When you find a great mentor, you will see this from them and be truly grateful for it.
One last note is that some mentors will ask to be compensated for their time. There is NO problem with this. Their time is precious and comes at an opportunity cost to other things in their life. And they do have to pay their bills as well. If you have a found mentor that checks all the boxes above and wants compensated, don't rule them out. Work out a plan where they get compensated and as you find more success, they can share in that success by higher compensation. This may come in the form of sharing in the future success of your business in some way or a graduated system of compensation. You'll have to figure it out, but just know that it is worth it and will pay off multiple times over for you.
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