What to look for in a mentor

There is a famous saying that goes like this, “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.”

That saying speaks volumes to us all, as we are all trying to know the road ahead. We're all trying to figure out what to do next, how to do it fast, and how to do it better than the last person who did it. We're looking to know the what, the why, and the how.

In order to truly know the road ahead, we have to ask those who are coming back. People who are coming back aren't people who quit just a few steps ahead of you, they're people who know the way because they've gone that way. But this is harder than it seems.

We live in a world with too many influencers. There are too many people claiming to know the way. We have way too many people that want to show you the way for a mere $15 a month.

By sheer statistics, we can know for a fact that there can't be THIS many people who know the way. The scale just wouldn't work. There can't be that much supply. We've all heard the saying, "If it was easy, everyone would do it." Because climbing the mountain top of success isn't easy, we know that not everyone is doing it. Jesus Himself said, "The harvest is plenty, but the workers are few." This all shows us that the people who truly know the road ahead are few and far between.

They are far more than people who know how to get a following on social media. They are far more than consultants or life coaches. Influencers and the like are position coaches in life; they can help with an aspect of success. But position coaches don't know how to win super bowls or national championships. In the same way, we need to find the real head coaches who know the way!

I pride myself in having some really incredible mentors. Part of my reasoning for writing a book, or even this blog, was due to how much wisdom my mentors were pouring into me. I didn't have room to store it all! I don't write because I know the way, but rather because I'm being shown the way.

In that same spirit, here are a few things to consider when picking a true mentor:

1) Start with the fruit!

As you're aiming to pick a mentor, start by looking at their results in life. Income is definitely a metric by which success is measured, but it's not the only metric. It's also not a full-proof metric either! Look at their home life. Look at how they handle themselves in a bad season. Look at how do they treat people, how do they spend their free time, and how long they've maintained this success. Look at their fruit!

P.S. There are deal breakers.. In my life, a mentor with success in business but a horrible home life is not someone I want mentoring me.

2) Limit true mentors to two or three!

It's going to be hard to find someone who has the fruit you want in all areas of life, or someone who knows the way across the board. We should be able to pick a few mentors in a few of the main areas of life; marriage, parenting, business, etc. But we can't have more than three people who speak into us regularly, trying to show us the way, because mentorship will soon look like a supermarket rather than a boutique. Supermarket mentorship breeds paralysis via over-analysis!

3) Take the good, leave the bad.

Since you'll rarely find someone who has it ALL together, it's okay to diversify the mentorship across 2 or 3 mentors. But this only works when we know how to take their good, and leave their bad. If I've picked a mentor in my marital life, he also doesn’t have to be the world's best businessman. The only reason I’m submitting myself to his teaching is because I want to learn how he takes care of his wife, not how he makes a profit. Take the good, leave the bad.

4) Pick a mentor that cares about you.

Mentors are like a caddy in golf. They need to sit shoulder to shoulder, not eye to eye. As much as we can receive from books, podcasts, and the like, we need some aspect of relationship! You may not have the most famous mentors, or the most popular, but a mentor who can look you in the eye is greater than anyone in the public eye.

Lastly, mentorship is not networking! Mentors show the way, they don't make a way. You don't need a way made for you anyways- you just need to be shown! Pick your mentors wisely!

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