Don’t Ask For A Mentor…Get Yourself a Board Member!

I get tons of requests for mentoring people. I always say no. Before you think I’m selfish, hear me out. The minute someone says “Will you mentor me?” I start to panic.

Here are the questions that immediately run through my mind when I’m asked to mentor someone:

  • What do they expect from me?
  • What are the deliverables?
  • How often will we have to talk?
  • How will we communicate?
  • Will they call me all of the time?
  • Are they emotionally ready to go to the next level?
  • Do they just want a business therapist?
  • Have they had other mentors?
  • Why are they choosing me?
  • What does a successful mentorship look like for them?
  • When will it end?
  • What if we don’t connect and I’m stuck with a huge commitment?

And there are probably more but you get the idea.

To be clear, I believe whole-heartedly in “pushing people up” and I have benefited greatly from the counsel of those much wiser than me. We’ve probably all heard the saying….”Your growth in life will be determined by the people you meet and the books you read”.  Another favorite is “You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with”.  It definitely makes you think about the company you keep, doesn’t it?

Said differently, does your personal network make your life bigger or smaller?

Corporate America has a great method to leverage best practices for business leaders. It’s called the board of directors (BOD). Everyone knows what a BOD is. Most growth-oriented companies and start-ups organize a group of people with various talents and skill sets to help set the direction for the organization. Typically, the members are chosen because of a positive impact they can have on the decisions and strategies for the future of the organization.

What about you? What about YOU INC? Whose counsel are you seeking to help your personal growth? Who do you talk to about what is next in your own trajectory? Who is at the next level you are striving for both personally and professionally?

Norman Vincent Peale was the first to write about the power of this idea. He famously called it “The Mastermind Group” and wrote at length about using our relationships and our imaginations to drive purposeful self-improvement. He understood, as did his mentor Andrew Carnegie, the power of deliberate time being spent with people who can influence you for the better.

Back to asking for a mentor. If the same person that asked me to be a mentor, asked me out for a cup of coffee or a phone call to pick my brain, I would say YES. I would do whatever I could to help them. I would feel NO pressure by just being asked to show up, drink coffee, and talk about whatever is on their mind. It accomplishes the same thing…..getting smart people involved in helping you get to the next level….but eliminates the worry that this would take too much time, etc. listed above.

Are you ready to get started? Click here for six steps start organizing your personal BOD.


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