Finding a Mentor is Hard – Jeremy Ryan Slate and I share our secrets of success

Finding a Mentor is Hard – Jeremy Ryan Slate and I share our secrets of success

I‘ve been praising the benefits of mentorship for decades.

There’s no way I would be where I am today if it weren’t for my mentor, former CEO of American Airlines, Al Casey. He took a chance on me, which opened the first door and put me on my path to success.

You know, the apprentice model has been around forever, way before the United States. That has always been the case. The folks in the United States don’t understand the apprentice model, where you’re going to school and you’re doing some kind of job to learn a skill, not because the businesses are trying to get slave labor, but because they believe in the careers and these folks who are apprentices or students or mentees understand that they’re going to be loyal and stay for a few years and learn a particular trade.

Apprenticeships can open up all kinds of opportunities, and the mentors can open their networks, and then these folks can then start their own shop, or do their own thing or, or actually go work at the company. But whatever they do, they do it prepared. 

That way of thinking has been lost. Maybe it’s because of the loss of respect for your elders or the idea that millennials need a prize every 30 seconds for attending, for breathing, or loss of patience because of the whole, like distraction of electronic devices. 

Whatever you want to call it, the lost art of mentorship is what I want to bring back. 

But what I really want is to bring it back at scale.

When I say mentorship at scale, all the stuff that I’ve learned, how to do, which I’ve learned from other people, because you always start with the purest source, I have sought to write it down into checklists.

It could be a checklist on How do you boost a post. It could be a checklist on How you set up a website. A checklist on What do you do before, during, and after a client meeting. A checklist on How do you create a statement of work. 

You can take that and systematize it, and that’s mentorship. You know, education and mentorship are really the same thing.

You can read more about cultivating mentorship in this article.

Then listen to this podcast I did with my buddy Jeremy Ryan Slate on how mentorship can enhance your life, income, and impact to gain deeper insights on how mentorship can help you, and strategies on how you can leverage checklists in your own business.

And check out this video, where Jeremy gives us a shout out.

Things I wish I knew 20 years ago, which would have avoided me much suffering….

Things I wish I knew 20 years ago, which would have avoided me much suffering….

Choose ONE niche serving ONE type of customer doing ONE thing really well, instead of doing many things for many types of people. The latter doesn’t scale and results in headaches.

Even a technology business is still a people business first— you need relationship skill to sell, manage employees, and build partnerships. Develop EQ instead of being “just business” all the time.

The path is longer than you think, costs more than you think, and has problems your best-laid plans don’t account for. Still set goals, but don’t beat yourself up when things go wrong.

Focus on getting results, not on how you look. In due time, people will know you by your accomplishments.

Charge a LOT more than you think. Easier to service a few customers paying a lot than many customers who pay little. The less they pay, the more they expect.

Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Keep a list of mentors who advise you on key issues.

The “hustle” of working non-stop is a young man’s game. Take care of your body and have no guilt in enjoying down time. A fully charged hour of yourself is more productive than a full day of grinding while tired.

Turn the camera on to document the journey. Others will learn from your struggles and things they don’t have the courage to reveal openly.

Rather than trying to “network”, be choosy in having a close group of high vibration friends who have done what you want to do.

Take advice only from people who have achieved the goals you have— everyone, especially friends, love to offer you their unqualified opinions.

People who are mean to you are actually revealing their hidden pain. Be kind to them. It’s not personal.

Honor promises you made to yourself at the same level of an important client meeting in your calendar.

Happiness comes from serving others— toys and status soon lose their shiny appeal.

Your income is in direct proportion to the value of the problems you solve. What do you do well that you can scale through people, process, and platform?

Wealthy people own assets that produce residual income— so they focus their efforts by impact, not by hours worked, meetings had, or tasks done. Build a business or multiple businesses that can operate without you, but set the example as the first employee.

Give away your knowledge freely— karma will come back 100 fold, even years later.

If you find yourself unhappy, ask yourself…

Are you making excuses or are you making progress?

Are you blaming others (diminishing your power) or are you being accountable (taking charge)?

You can make a million dollars or make a million excuses– but not both.

My mentors taught me that success is 50% mindset.

And when you are super choosy about who you associate with, you dramatically affect your mindset.

Whoever you are around WILL rub off on you (good or bad)– even if you think you’re immune.

Usually it’s not YOU that is wrong, but that you’re in the wrong SITUATION.

My eagle friends, it’s time to stop associating with the pigeons or trying to impress them.

Instead of them pecking at your feathers and weird non-pigeonlike looks, raise your wings and soar!

Tell me if you’ve been here before…

Rent is due and you don’t have the money. You’re stressed out since you’ve drained your bank account and maxed out your credit cards, hoping that the big “deal” is coming through.

Any day now, you promise others. But you’re conflicted inside since you can’t publicly say you’re on the brink of implosion.

So you grin and bear it, since nobody would hire you if they knew the truth.

You’re afraid others will expose you for being a fraud. But you make promises on stuff you know you can’t deliver, since you need the money.

In fact, you’d take on even random stuff or screw over others if it meant you could get some money today.

Because once you get past this emergency, it will all be smooth sailing from here on out.

But you know that’s not true— you’ve been here before.

And all those other times, it was someone else’s fault that the big “deal” didn’t come through. This time will be different, I swear!

I’ve been here many times and can tell you that the only way out of this mess is to immediately seek help from mentors— people who have achieved what you are trying to do.

Ignore the “successful” boasting you see on social media. Most are broke and pretending, talking about stuff they have no experience on.

The person who created the problem, you, isn’t the one who can solve it— because problems must be solved on a higher level than they were created.

Talk to a mentor who cares and can guide you out.

But that means you have to stop pretending and start being honest.

Then you will feel massive relief, since you won’t have to misrepresent how things are going.

And you’re not solely relying upon your limited knowledge, experience, and questionable ability to work 24×7.

If you want to go fast, go alone.
But if you want to go far, go together.

That ancient African proverb reminds me of how important it is to have a high quality, ethical team around you.

Are you building your team first or just hustling and hoping this next deal will be “the one”?

When your team member FAILS, guess whose fault it is?

If they failed for not having enough skill, YOU should have trained them better.

If they just don’t seem to get it, YOU should have put them in the right role.

If they’re not motivated, YOU should have aligned with their goals and actively have helped them get there.

If they don’t treat your customers well, YOU should be treating them better to set the example.

If they stole from you, YOU should have a stronger qualifying process.

I had a co-founder rip me off blind, rationalized away— and I know it’s my fault for letting it get that far.

Real leaders know that 99% of the time, it’s a problem with management, not your team member.

The rookie manager blames his people, while the pro manager knows that their job is to take care of their people and help them succeed!

Instead of being a policeman, be a coach, mentor and cheerleader.

Partner with someone who can teach you.

Someone just asked us what they should send to a potential client who is asking for case studies– but they have none.

My answer:

You partner with an agency that does.

Trying to sell without authority is not only hard, but it sets you up for failure on something you’ve done before many times.

Would you trust a heart surgeon to operate on you if they’ve not done heart surgery before?

I feel for consultants who are trying to get their first few clients– it’s hard.

If I were starting from scratch, I’d find a mentor who has done what I’d like to do and work for them for free– doing anything necessary to build their business, while having the chance to learn from them.

Maybe they aren’t paying you– but consider how much you’d have to pay them for mentorship and to grow your career.