It never ceases to amaze me when I meet someone who seems to know it all. I recently watched a Shark Tank episode where everyone in the room disagreed with the valuation given to a woman’s business. Many of the sharks had made an offer, but none of them agreed with what she was asking. One of the sharks urged her to listen to the offers and not let her arrogance get in the way. Well she didn’t listen and walked smugly down the hallway convinced she knew better. She had never run a business before and yet wouldn’t listen to anyone in the room.
There are moments in our lives when we won’t listen to anyone. These are dangerous moments. We should always have a select few people in our lives that can give us counsel. When we stop listening to everyone we can get blindsided by life. When we appear most invincible is often when we are most vulnerable.
Unfortunately many of us have learned not to listen because we have been burned by bad advice. When this happens we withdraw and make the decision we have to go it on our own, no one can be trusted. The problem was we didn’t have a good mentor. We were seeking advice from people not qualified to give it. The solution isn’t ignoring feedback the rest of our lives; the answer is finding counsel that is trustworthy. When we find a great coach we will have invaluable insights into our decision making process. Every big decision I make I run it past a select few who care about me and have my best interests in mind.
So how do we find a great mentor? There are two types; global and local. A global mentor is someone who has been where you would like to go. They have the career you would love to have. They are leading in areas where you aspire to lead someday. They are called global mentors because they are on a global scale. They have been there, done that and written the book. As you are working on your New Year’s resolutions and goals for 2017 you should select a global mentor that you can learn from. Create a goal to learn everything that you can from your global mentor. This will accelerate your growth as a leader.
The second type of mentor is a local mentor. This is someone that you respect and is willing to tell you the truth even if it hurts. This person is more interested in your success than your comfort. They are willing to tell you their recommendations, but then will step back and let you make your own decisions. They will support you through thick and thin. They should be close to home where you can meet them face to face. This way they will be able to hold you accountable to the life you have set out in front of you.
Both are critical for staying on course. I hope you set aggressive goals for yourself for 2017 and even more importantly you will have mentors to walk along side of you to make sure those goals become a reality. Setting goals is important, but consistently making progress is even more important. Most people have given up on their new year’s resolutions ridiculously early in the year. In years past my new year’s resolutions had an almost 100% failure rate, until I found a coach. That coach kept me on track and it made all the difference. Good luck finding a mentor and here’s to a great 2017.
Question: Who is your global mentor? What is one leadership book will you read in 2017?