Monday Mornings with Madison


Almost all successful people have or had a mentor—a person who has already done what they want to do. The mentor becomes a tour guide, helping you achieve your goals and using his/her own experience as a compass directing you on your journey and advising you on what it takes and the mistakes to avoid along the way.

The benefits of having a mentor are as follows:

  • You see and feel what success is like in real life, which will help you get clarity in your vision of how you want to be.
  • Mentors demand that you be your best. They will not accept any excuses from you because they didn’t make excuse for themselves.
  • You can watch them in action and learn how they think and act. Most of the time you will learn values and attitudes this way that cannot be learned any other way.
  • When things get tough, you will persevere because you know they will not allow you to quit.
  • Their belief in you will build your belief in yourself.
  • You will succeed faster because they help you avoid mistakes based on what they have learned on their way to success.

Who can be a mentor?

In order for someone to be a great mentor, they would need to be:

  • Successful in at least one area of life
  • A person that you respect and look up to as a model for yourself.
  • Confident enough in themselves to be able to watch you succeed, perhaps even more than they have
  • Willing to invest the time it takes to mentor you, and
  • Able to give you honest feedback, even when it is not comfortable.

How should you work with a mentor?

In order to work successfully with a mentor you need:

  • Respect for the mentor and his / her accomplishments in life
  • A commitment to do what they ask of you, even when it is difficult
  • Respect for the mentor’s time
  • Appreciation for the effort the mentor puts into your success, and
  • Honest communication with them. (They will know when you’re lying and stop mentoring you).

Your mentor does not have to be from your industry, although it helps if they are because they will have a better understanding of what it takes to succeed in your field. But, a mentor can successfully help you even if they are in a different field because the underlying principles of success are the same.

How to get started?

  • Create a list of the people that you respect for what they have accomplished and who you feel would be able to help you to reach your vision and goals in life.
  • Do whatever it takes to get in front of them. Be prepared to wait a long time for the opportunity to see them. Successful people are busy. Just keep pushing until you get in front of them.
  • When you get to them, tell them your vision and goals in life, and ask them to be your mentor.
  • Assure them that you are committed to be your best and that you respect their time tremendously. Offer to work with them in whatever system works for them.
  • Be willing to become a mentor to others, once you have achieved your goal.

What’s the difference between a mentor and a coach?

  • A mentor will usually do it to help others – a coach does it for a living and will charge you money.
  • A mentor will encourage you to think big and keep going – a coach will help you break it down to small steps.
  • A mentor will let you watch him so you can do the same – a coach will help you watch yourself so you can improve.
  • A mentor will show you the way – a coach will help you get there.

You can have a few mentors at the same time, for different areas in your life as long as their efforts are not contradictory and you do not use them as an excuse to ignore their individual guidance.

Take a brisk walk for twenty minutes each day before you start working.

A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up. Anonymous

Who can help you today improve something that you already do very well?

Ask your top 5 clients if they would like to become the board of directors for your company. As board members, they will meet with you quarterly to discuss your business and create a plan for the next three months. The benefits to them will be: 1) they will get to know the other 4 people that you invite, and 2) They will feel good helping someone else succeed.

The benefits to you are: 1) the people you invite will have a personal interest in helping you and will refer other people to you. 2) this system instills in you a very strong sense of accountability because you won’t want your top clients to look at you as someone who is not successful.

© 2008 – 2012, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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