Why Mr Miyagi Could Hold The Key To Your Future Wealth
By Glenn Fisher, Editor at Creating Wealth
Finding someone to help guide and inspire you is a hugely important part of creating wealth.
For many entrepreneurs who are just starting out, it can be the difference between success and failure.
According to Alison Coleman in Forbes:
“Some [mentors] played a decisive role in the start-up stories of some of the most successful entrepreneurs, including Virgin founder Richard Branson. His mentor was legendary airline entrepreneur Sir Freddie Laker, a man he had always admired, but who became a source of practical help and inspiration during the early days of Virgin Atlantic.”
I spoke briefly about the importance of having mentors yesterday. I want to elaborate on that today.
My gut feeling is that, to most British readers, the concept of having a mentor is a little too ‘American’.
Perhaps it’s just the word ‘mentor’. It does bring to mind the Karate Kid and Mr Miyagi or Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi.
Really, though, a mentor is just a teacher. And if you remember a particularly good one from your youth, you’ll agree that a good teacher makes all the difference to your ability to learn.
So, whether you prefer to use the word mentor or teacher is up to you…
But whatever you call the person, it’s crucial that you do identify people you can learn from.
Why you need mentors
I am an arrogant man.
At least, I was.
I think I’m getting better with age and have become more humble the older I’ve got. At least, I hope that’s the case.
But in my younger days, I was a jerk. I thought I knew it all.
I assumed there wasn’t anything I didn’t know that I couldn’t figure out on my own. In my opinion, people in power were there by fluke or by ‘waiting it out’ and there was nothing I could learn from the people above me.
I know, very naïve.
In my defence, I think it was partly down to some of my immediate supervisors in the local council. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good people, but there were also some real wasters (there likely still are).
Escaping the council, and going back to college didn’t help. As a mature student I was already ahead and my writing, at that stage, was already pretty developed. My tutor was a good man, but by encouraging me so much, it only fanned the flames of my arrogance.
Finally, when I entered the private sector and joined Agora, I met people who did know more than me… a lot more than me.
These were people I could learn from.
And thank Mel Gibson* I did.
(* I have substituted ‘God’ with Mel Gibson — he was on my mind whilst writing. I don’t know why.)
I finally started to understand the importance of having mentors and my career… success… freedom… whatever you want to call it… has increased as a direct result.
If I had continued on the path of trying to learn everything myself, I know I would have only got so far.
You see all the study in the world can’t make up for witnessing and absorbing knowledge first hand in real life situations.
Figure out your strengths and get help with your weaknesses
I hope in some small part you can use the insight and advice you read in Creating Wealth as a kind of mentor…
But today, I would like to give you one piece of advice when it comes to choosing who the best mentors might be for you.
The key is to figure out what you’re good at and in what areas you need help.
It’s about being self-aware.
For example, if you’re, say, a hotshot copywriter, finding a mentor who’s a superstar copywriter is, of course, going to help you a bit. You’ll be able to learn some advance stuff, gain from their experience and further develop your game.
That’s cool. And it’s definitely worth having a mentor in what I’d call your ‘core discipline’. If you’re in sales, find an expert sales person. If you want to own eBay, find someone who’s already figured it out. If you want to run an airline, give old Branson a shout.
But here’s my big tip…
Find one mentor who’s an expert in all the areas you’re weak. If you’re really strong at strategy but weak on sales, find a person who’s good at sales. And conversely, if you’re really good at sales, but weak on strategy, find a person who’s a strategic genius.
Looking for a mentor that has skills and experience outside of your ‘core discipline’ will help you grow in a much broader way than a mentor with a similar skill set.
When I think about it, I’ve had probably had four key mentors who have directly helped me get where I am today, and only one of them is a pure ‘copywriter’.
Indeed, if I had only had mentorship from copywriters, I wouldn’t have been able to expand my knowledge into different areas of business and likely wouldn’t have advanced as far.
So, I speak from experience when I say…
When it comes to finding mentors — which you most certainly should — be sure to look for people with who can not only help you hone your current skills, but also identify people who can help you develop in the areas where you knowledge is lacking.
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