Success can be obtained in a myriad of different ways, but securing a network of reliable associates seems to be a constant in all of them. Whether by introducing a bit of healthy competition, energizing inspiration or providing a source of encouraging motivation, establishing a team of teachers and advisors is integral to professional growth. As John C. Crosby once said: “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”
Determining a person to entrust with your burgeoning skills should always be a heavily considered process-not just anyone will do. A dependable authority should be knowledgeable, road tested, confident, and eager to impart their wealth of wisdom.
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The importance of leadership
Jeff Rose recently penned a piece for Forbes irradiating the importance of instituting healthy mentor relationships before embarking on your road to success. A little more than a decade ago Rose was a newlywed, with very limited business experience. Looking back today, he contends that a great deal of his affluence is owed to the five key relationships he procured in his early days as a finical advisor.
Principally, Rose stresses the importance of having a person in your life that is able to perceive your potential better than you are. This role can take many forms. Rose categorizes them into three in particular: coaches, mentors, and sherpas.
Professional coaches are typically expensive, but they can help clarify our goals, keep us accountable, and make our ambitions seem a little less abstract. Rose took part in a business coaching program for entrepreneurs before achieving millionaire status. It ran him around $9,000 annually, though the tutelage he received was instrumental to his development. Hiring a coach enforces objective criticism. Unlike a close friend a professional teacher doesn’t owe your feelings soft-language. Whether you want to hear their criticism or not, the money you’ve spent hiring them will bend your arm into taking it seriously.
However, as Rose points out, a beneficial consultant doesn’t have to cost you anything or even be a person at all. We live in a thriving digital age, constructive mentorship can be achieved just as easily from books or blogs. Authors like Tom Corley or blogger Trent Hamm, have acquired a bounty of valuable maxims over the course of their long careers. And their insights and tidbits are pretty accessible.
The process of determining sherpas in our lives is a little more hard to define. Typically, they should be people that inspire us in more non-representational ways. They help ground us, they evoke our roots, and remind us of our ethical objectives. They teach us just as much with their words as they do with their actions. The inspired methodology of Rose’s own sherpa, fellow entrepreneur Josh Axe, galvanized his business acumen immensely. Axe’s determination reinforced Rose’s. He writes: “He’s so laser-focused that it’s not a matter of if he’ll achieve that goal, but when.”
Leaders in our lives, in whatever capacity, should always “be two steps ahead of us.”
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