You don’t have all the answers. Here’s what to do about it.
Luke had Yoda. Harry Potter had Dumbledore. Rocky Balboa had Mickey Goldmill. Who do you have?
Whether you’re starting your own business, climbing the corporate ladder, or at a complete standstill, you could use your own Mickey. Someone in your corner who knows your strengths and weaknesses, someone to hold your feet while you do sit-ups to the tune of “Eye of the Tiger” — metaphorically.
Here are four places to look for that gold-star guidance.
1. The “coffee & beer” approach
(No, I don’t mean drink coffee and/or beer until inspiration hits.) Ask someone you admire and respect if you can buy them coffee or a beer. The worst thing they could do is say no.
If you go this route, here’s a tip: “Can I buy you a beer and pick your brain for a bit?” won’t be as appealing as “Can I buy you a beer and talk to you about your experience with financing your small business?”
Giving someone a slight heads up on the subject matters helps you both be more prepared for your meeting of the minds. If all goes well, you could start with a casual coffee conversation and end up with…
2. A coach
A coach, a mentor, a guru — a person who will actively invest in your success. When considering a coach, it’s important to find someone you trust who pushes you, understands your business, and respects what you’re trying to accomplish.
It’s entirely possible you already have someone like that in your life and just haven’t realized it yet. Reach out to people who inspire you or people who’ve been in your shoes before. Start that conversation, find a good fit, and the rest will follow.
3. A peer group
The first Thursday of the month, I get together for a beer with a group of fellow entrepreneurs and talk shop. We bounce ideas off of each other, offer advice, and hold each other accountable. This has been one of the most critical factors to my personal and professional success.
Over the years, it’s grown from chats about business and accountability to almost a “life group.” It’s amazing how much you can grow from consistently sitting down with other people who know each other, trust each other, and are invested in each person’s success. Give it a try.
If you’d made it this far, you clearly know the importance of reading, but it goes beyond a Google search when you’ve hit a roadblock. Make an effort to find books, articles, webinars, online courses, whatever you can use to. Make sure to diversify and try new sources of knowledge and education. If you always read biographies, try reading some fiction. If you always listen to the same podcast, add a new video blog to your routine. So many of these resources are free and available at your fingertips; don’t let them go to waste.
No matter which of these strategies you take advantage of — coffee, coaching or otherwise — the underlying truth remains the same: you don’t have to go it alone. After all, Rocky Balboa didn’t.
For more lessons on how to do work you believe in, check out my weekly newsletter Point Letter. — JTM