I have had a few wonderful personal mentors in my life. I looked up to them, spent time with them and learned from them. I used to think that was the only way mentoring worked. Find an older person who is more successful than you are and learn from them. As I have gotten older I realize there is better way.
I need a mentor in several areas of my life. I need a financial expert to help me as I get older make wise decisions with money. I need a health and wellness expert to guide me into an always evolving healthier lifestyle. I need a business expert to help me become my absolute best professionally. I need a relationship expert I can learn from as I am always wanting to be a better husband, father and grandfather. I would like an expert on travel who can help me navigate domestic and international trips. I also need a leadership expert who will help me maximize my leadership potential. Do you see the problem? I used to think I could find one person who knew all I needed to know. I now realize that is short sighted. A person great at relationships may not know anything about finance. And a fabulous expert on leadership might have no interest in travel.
So what is a learner supposed to do? Here’s what I now know. I can have as many mentors as I like. They can all specialize in areas where I am lacking. They can be available to me 24 hours a day 365 days a year. They are never are too busy to teach me.
I have discovered great mentors in the books I read and the teaching I get through listening to podcasts. I have two or three people I follow who know way more than I do about business. The same is true with finance, relationships, leadership and travel. I listen to or read the wisdom they have shared and it is like having a mentor with me all the time. The great actor Denzel Washington said it like this, “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” A big life is a growing life and a growing life needs mentors who can help us on our way. We never will outgrow our need for great mentors.