Nobody who has ever any degree of fame or success has done it on their own. When you watch a film, you see the end credits where thousands of people have worked to tell the story that the actors deliver. In a book, the authors acknowledge their support from editors to designers. Of course, some people prefer to do things by themselves or their own way, but when it comes to being successful, you have to learn how to accept help from others. Those that make it on their own are as rare as genuine overnight successes. If you’re not already successful in some facet of life, chances are you’d benefit greatly from talking to somebody who is.
When you’re looking for a mentor, don’t automatically assume you need to see some sort of life coach or similar.
Look for someone specialised in the kind of success that you’re after, no matter what it may be.
If you want to be successful in your relationships, talk to somebody who is, find out how they work on those relationships. Chances are, they’ll be willing to talk about it with you, and you will learn a thing or two. Sometimes what you learn is that you're on the right track, and that's good to know. When my first marriage failed, I thought it could've been saved. Several mentors showed me that it takes two to make a happy marriage, and if the other party is only interested in drinking and golf (or drinking at golf) then it's never going to work. In learning this, I've worked harder on my marriage to Kevin. I've taken up his interests, he's joined mine. When you love someone you take interest in what they do. Now this might sound obvious, but you don't know what you don't know, and if you don't see what you need around you then find a mentor.
Mentors don’t have to be qualified in the traditional sense, or have training and courses on how to be successful in general – they just have to do something well that you’d also like to do well. Some of my best mentors have been peers who have excelled in an area that I'd like to excel in. I learned better cooking skills when I was mentored by a chef. He also told me that in any field of expertise there are basics you should master. He then recommended Delia Smith for the basics. I'm no longer in touch with the chef, but I remember his advice, and to look at Delia when there's a basic I've neglected. He didn't teach me everything – that would take a lifetime – but he told me where the source of all cooking issues lie, and where to find the answers. Over the years, I've been mentored by several chefs from Naval chefs to executive chefs of internationally renowned organisations. My current coach owns several restaurants. And, as you can see, I'm not a food blogger!
Not everyone will want to talk about what they’re doing
But most will – especially if you come at it from a positive angle. Mention to them that you’re really impressed with how well they do something and ask them a bit about how they do it. It's worth paying for their time. When you invest your money, you pay attention to what's being said. You want ROI so you are more likely to take action. Some of the most successful people I know spend 2k upwards on email mentoring. Not because they want to learn new things, but to ensure they're putting what they learn into action. In the act of investing, they're signaling their intention to take action in a massive way.
If it’s something work-related, don’t be afraid to talk to multiple people in higher positions that you’d like to be at. Ask them about what kind of path they took to be where they are, and what the most important things are for you to do to get to that point. When I ran my pub, I was always talking to my colleagues. What were they doing that I could learn from? One colleague, Trish, had a tribute band on a Friday night. I tried it, it didn't work. My customers didn't want to listen, they wanted to join in. So I booked a karaoke. This made Friday nights much more enjoyable for the staff as well as customers, and gave lots of talking points. It really connected the community. Their best karaoke story was how they picked me up and locked me out of my own pub for brutally murdering Peter Gabriel's “Sledgehammer”.
If I hadn't spoken to Trish about the Friday night slump, I'd never have found Karaoke. Mentors are more likely have some important insights as to what you could be doing better in order to succeed.
It can be a little embarrassing at times to have to go to others and ask questions like these, but you have to realise that it’s going to benefit you in the long run. You’re not expected to know everything there is to know in life, and some people will naturally know a bit more than you. It's by asking that you will gain the answers. All you have to do is implement them.
That's where accountability swings into action.
All the mentoring in the world will not help you if you're accountable to someone. Sometimes you're accountable to your family, other times it's to your boss or coach.
The worst person you can be accountable to is yourself.
When you are accountable to yourself, you rationalise and validate every excuse you make.
- You didn't feel like it? That's okay because self-care is important.
- You didn't feel like it for a week? That's okay because you're still finding your passion/thing/drive.
- You didn't achieve anything in 2020? That's okay because there was a global pandemic.
Your accountability coach will call you out on these excuses. Not because they want to make you feel bad. They call you on it because they're not real excuses. It's procrastination disguised as looking after yourself.
Resistance as Steven Pressfield calls it in the War of Art.
Your work with an accountability coach is to move you forward, and shift gears at the right time. It's to ensure you're on the right road, at the right speed and going in the right direction.
Want to talk about how we can focus on getting you where you want to be?