Personally, I never thought I would have said, “I need a mentor.” It fits the mold of other people, not me. Two reasons. First, I’m a go-getter, an entrepreneur, an out-of-the-box thinker. When an opportunity comes my way, I move on it. Sure, I seek counsel, but it is more of a necessary step to doing business right. The advice I seek isn’t “mentoring”; it is business advice, of which I sometimes take and sometimes leave.
Second, when developing an idea, I’m more of an introvert. I’ll study and research, pray, maybe seek some advice from an acquaintance or a family member – then just do it. I’ve been this way for years. I’ve gotten a lot done – and made good money – on the ideas that I came up with on my own. I’m an innovative guy – a trait that many people admire me for – and I like to think that I don’t need anyone’s help.
“Help” is the wrong word. I have plenty of help from my network of friends, business partners and associates. And “help” sometimes goes unpaid, and I don’t like to take advantage of my friendships. Besides, some things I don’t need help in. What I need is a comrade, a confidant, and a co-pilot.
The only time I envy a 9 to 5 job is when I’m drudging through an entrepreneurial valley. The self-employed’s valleys are much deeper than the office worker. A comrade will encourage me to press on. Really, I don’t want the 9 to 5 job, I know that. It is less exciting, less risky, less profitable. But sometimes all I need is a comrade who will slap me on the back from behind and say, “Press on, Chris!” I find myself needing that more often than not.
Life of risk may be great to live, but it takes precision and knowledge. I need someone who gets it. I do not need a fool as a mentor. (Who does?) Some of my ideas are knock-out awesome no-brainers, but most of them aren’t. They need careful development. I need to think them through, and doing that with someone – with a confidant – would be oh-so-helpful. Before stretching out my neck onto the chopping block of the marketplace, I want to make sure that I’m doing the right thing. A confidant is what I need.
Once I go to market, I need someone who will be with me. There is work to be done in any venture, and a co-pilot is someone who already knows what needs to get done. Even if I’m doing all the flying, I have someone able to step in if necessary – maybe even take over for a while.
Here’s what I have found extremely difficult: finding one person who can be all three. I have tons of comrades, of whom I bring in a handful of them as confidants, very few of which I’d hand over the plane as a co-pilot. It gets a little tricky, too, when a pilot-type doesn’t have the business savvy that a confidant would bring to the table, or someone with business savvy really isn’t a game player or a comrade.
So, it’s complicated. I need a comrade, a confidant, and a co-pilot. One guy. An old friend of 10 years. I found him, and we’ve had two breakfasts together already. We’re committed to once a month.
Want to know something funny? He’s valuing this just as much as me. I’m mentoring him, too. It’s awesome.
Question: What friend in your life would you like to ask to be a mentor?