Besides marketing, one of the things I enjoy doing is coaching women’s volleyball at a local university.
I began coaching after I was a four-year letter winner and scholarship player as a member of the Redbirds volleyball team at Illinois State University. Not to “toot my horn,” but according to CBS news Money Watch, only about two percent of high school students win sports scholarships every year at NCAA colleges and universities.
And while I’m passionate about volleyball, reflecting back, it took a lot more than my passion to win that scholarship and continue playing at that level. It took more than my devotion to practice and the many hours I competed on the court too.
Sure effort was a big part of it, but without someone to guide me…give me feedback on my serve and technique…help me with a workout plan…give me advice about how to get that scholarship, etc., the truth is, I wouldn’t have gone that far.
One of the ways I differed from players who didn’t play past high school was that I continued seeking advice and listening to it too. Sure, I knew a lot by then, but I knew if I sought advice and took action on it…I could continue to improve.
In business, I’ve found it be a similar scenario.
Those who seek advice, guidance and take it, rise to the top.
For me, that has come from mentors.
What about you? Do you have a coach or mentor to help guide you and your business to get better?
In Dave Dee’s article, Why Outliers: Story Of Success Got It Wrong, he discussed how having a mentor is a key difference between overwhelming success and mediocrity.
If you’re at all curious about the idea of having a mentor, here’s some information on how to determine if mentoring is right for you:
If you have trouble getting things implemented in your business. If you are like most entrepreneurs, you are very busy which makes it difficult to stick to a time schedule and get things done. Having a mentor will not only keep you accountable, but he/she will help you identify what’s most important to focus on at any given point. This narrows your focus making it much easier to get things done.
If you have questions about what to do and no one to answer them. Mentors with entrepreneurial background can not only be the one to turn to when you have questions, but they can give you advice based on their past experience as well as the experience of their past mentees and other businesses they’ve come across.
If you have no one to brainstorm ideas. Brainstorming often produces much better ideas and can help eliminate ideas that possible shouldn’t be done. However, in order for brainstorming to be effective, you need someone who “gets it.”
If you are always running yourself ragged. As an entrepreneur, it’s common to have a ton of ideas you are always trying to execute. As a result, you end up running yourself ragged trying to do them all. A good mentor will help you identify where to devote your time and energy and can save you time by sharing his experience…such as which things will be most beneficial, which are a waste of your time, and the best resources to assist you so you don’t have to do all the research yourself.
If you sometimes end up doing subpar work because you try to do too many different ideas at once. That’s why you’re an entrepreneur—because you have lots of great ideas. But that tends to make you very busy which means deadlines sometimes get missed. Or you are rushing so much at the end that you do subpar work. A mentor will help you prioritize and keep you accountable so you’re not rushing at the end to meet a deadline.
What makes a good mentor?
The role of a good mentor is to help guide you to make the right choices. Your role as the mentee is to listen to and act upon the advice given. After all, if you aren’t taking action, then the advice doesn’t do you much good.
A good mentor will…
- Encourage you and work to keep you motivated.
- Hold you accountable to do what you say you’ll do.
- Point out where you are making a mistake.
- Guide you to make the right decisions.
- Help you make a plan based on experience that often provides a shortcut to reaching your goals faster.
Common mistakes people make when they work with a mentor.
They stop because they think they know enough. This is what separates the great business people from the pack. Great people never stop learning and looking for how they can improve their game. (Tweet this!)
They don’t listen to their mentor’s advice. You have to be prepared to take your mentor’s advice, otherwise nothing will happen. After all, a mentor can only do so much. You need to put the effort in to execute the items you discuss and agree upon.
They aren’t prepared for their mentoring session. To get the most out of mentoring, it’s important to know what you want to accomplish and communicate that with your mentor prior to the start of the subject. Also keeping your mentor updated on what’s happening in your business, so they can prepare information relevant to what you need.
Everyone can use a helping hand in business, no matter how successful you are. Mentors can’t do it all for you, but they will help guide you to bigger success—faster than you imagined possible.
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