Monday, April 13, 2009

Attracting Great Mentees

As powerful as having great mentors is having great mentees, for when we “teach” we learn.

I am blessed to have a busload of great mentees, or protégés. They range in age from 21 to 66. Yes, indeed some are older than me (there is no rule that mentees must be younger). And, some are almost young enough to be a grandchild. The breadth and diversity of the group so enriches my life. Our discussions are constantly stretching my thinking in all kinds of different areas.

So how do I find great mentees? I find them everywhere. I find them in my clients. I find them at seminars I attend. And, I have even been known to be proactive in “adopting” someone whose book or article or speech I particularly enjoy.

Where do I find the time for my mentees? That is easy, as I find the time for all the things that are important to me. And, my mentees are very important to me! I carry a list of my mentees with me and when I am on the road and have a space in my schedule, I drop them a note or schedule a catch-up phone call. And, when they reach out to me, I make a special effort to be quickly available to them.

Like with other aspects of my life, my mentee relationships often evolve to be long term ones. I have been married 35+ years; I have client relationships that are 10+ years (one is 25+ years); and I have mentoring relationships that are 20+ years. The fabric of my life is supported by the long term relationships which I enjoy.

I am grateful for the kind words I get from time to time from my mentees. But, I am even more grateful for all that I learn from their trials and tribulations. And, I get incredible energy from watching them succeed (and my busload of mentees experience a lot of success!).

One of my early role models was Zig Ziglar. Many years ago, he drilled into me the philosophy that:

You can get whatever you want in life,
if you will help enough others get what they want.

I am strong believer that we perform roles in life best when we are skilled at both sides of the relationship. The best leaders also know how to be good followers. The best speakers know how to be great listeners. And, the best mentors know how to be a good mentee.

My life is enriched by my mentoring relationships, on both sides of the relationship. So too can yours be .

In these tough times, having great mentoring relationships, on both sides of the relationship, is important to having the kind of support team that is key to achieving prosperity…in every sense of that word.

Coming Next: In this twelve part series, I will be addressing each of the types of members of a great personal team. In my next blog post, I will be sharing information on Selecting the Right Role Models. The series starts here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Attracting Great Mentors

In interviewing peak performers from all walks of life, for my weekly radio show on Peak Performance, I always ask my guests to share the role that being mentored has had in their success. Consistently, my guests cite having great mentors as being very important to their success.

As a result of my radio show experience, I love asking people that I meet about their mentors. As a result of this informal research, I have become a believer that there is an incredibly high correlation between those who have had the benefit of mentors and success. But, here is the important point. In the vast majority of cases, the mentee selected the mentor!

Many of us grow up with the image of the magic moment where a successful person reaches out and says “will you let me mentor you to success.” Well, successful people figure out that they need not wait for the magic moment. Often, the mentee initiates the mentoring relationship. In many cases, they never even ask to be mentored…they just start absorbing the wisdom of the mentor and consistently express their appreciation for what they are learning. From such a beginning, a fuller mentoring relationship often develops.

I have been blessed with having an incredible group of mentors. Not one of these relationships was started with a mentor offering or by my requesting a mentor relationship. For me, the key was my being open to receiving the wisdom of the mentor and being prepared to consistently reflect my appreciation for the interest in my success being taken by these successful people.

In essence, I have come to believe
that mentors…like friends…are a gift you give yourself.

I can’t imagine going through life without having a couple at any one time.

If you want to learn more about the power of mentoring, my favorite book on the subject is Power Mentoring, How Successful Mentors and Protégé’s Get the Most Out of Their Relationships. This book does a great job of explaining how mentoring has changed in recent years….including the change of one having mentor(s) younger than oneself.

One of the best ways to learn to be a great mentee is to mentor others. Time and time again, when I recommend to professionals without a mentor to attract a mentor by becoming a mentor, they report that shortly after they started mentoring, a mentor came into their life.

These are very challenging times. Navigating these whitewater times solo is just not smart. If you don’t have a mentor, make the choice to attract one or more mentors. If you are fortunate enough to have a mentor or two or three, make sure that you let them know just how much you appreciate their help.

Coming Next: In this twelve part series, I will be addressing each of the types of members of a great personal team. In my next blog post, I will be sharing information on Attracting Great Mentees. The series starts here.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Are You Surrounded by The Right People?

The quality of your life is, in large part, a function of the people with whom you spend your time.

Never has this truism been more true than in these challenging times. Think of these as whitewater times. Wouldn’t you want to be navigating whitewater with as fine a crew in your raft as possible? Well, why wouldn’t you want to be navigating these tough times with as fine a crew as you can attract?

One of things that I have learned from my years of research on personal peak performers is that:
high performers are very proactive in surrounding themselves with the right team.
Peak performers build and maintain a team that provides quality support in every aspect of their life. Their teams include quality:

1. Mentors
2. Mentees
3. Role Models
4. Mastermind partners
5. Coaches
6. Accountability partners
7. Colleagues
8. Clients or customers
9. Professional advisors
10. Family & friends

In the coming blog posts, I will be sharing how each of these is important to your being the best you can be. For now, I just want to get across the message that:

your performance is a function of the quality of your team.

And, the quality of your team is one of your most important life choices.

So, how great is your team? On a scale of 1-10 (high) in each of the ten kinds of team members, score your current team. If you don’t have anybody in any of the categories (for example, you don’t have anyone is a mentee), give yourself a zero in that category.

If your score is less than 70, than I am confident that you could make a quantum leap in improving your performance, in all dimensions of your life, by putting in place the right team and opening yourself up to absorbing their wisdom.

If your score is more than 70, I am confident that you are someone who is doing well with the talents with which you are blessed. Congratulations! But, even you can improve your results in life by looking at how you can improve the quality of your support team. For example, if you have a coach, have you outgrown your coach? Are any of your mentors losing the impact they have historically had on you? Are you in a Master Mind group that has lost it’s way? Etc. Etc. Lifting your score by twenty percent, will…I am confident…have a concomitant improvement in the results in all dimensions of your life.

Life is a team sport. Our success in life is every bit as much a function of the quality of our team as it is in our singular capabilities. Those who will prosper in these tough times will be those who choose to surround themselves with a great team.

The choice is yours!

Coming Next: In this twelve part series, I will be addressing each of the types of members of a great personal team. In my next blog post, I will be sharing information on Attracting Great Mentors.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Givers vs.Takers

Have you noticed that the response to the downturn by some people is to become a hoarder? Some people hoard their wealth, their contacts, their compliments and everything else like a squirrel hoarding nuts before winter sets in.

Hoarding is a very natural defensive behavior to an expected period of shortage.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are people who have stepped up their sharing and giving to others. These people approach life, even in a downturn, with a philosophy that the world is abundant and prosperity comes to those who open themselves up to the world.

These people are givers, and are in sharp contrast to those who are takers in life. Givers share their contacts, their time, their expertise and even their money with others. They do so with a philosophy that was best summed up, for me, many years ago by Zig Ziglar:

"You can get whatever you want in life, if you will just help enough others get what they want."

I am so blessed to be surrounded by givers. They nourish me in so many ways. And, I am so grateful for their presence in my life. This is not by accident...for I walk through life with Zig Ziglar's sage advice top of mind.

Of course, we all want to be viewed as more like givers, than like takers. But, what are you? What would an honest friend say about you? What does the composition of your circle of relationships say about what you are?

Like in good times, I believe that prosperity will primarily flow to the givers, even in these tough times.

The choice of what you are is up to you.