Given enough time, you can learn anything and everything. But the reality is that life is short and differentiating yourself from others means learning faster than your competitors. Your meandering to gain knowledge solely through self-experience will waste valuable years of your life. Engage mentors, those who have mastered their craft, to accelerate your career journey. The continual mentoring from masters will separate the winners from the losers.
Engaging masters who can serve as mentors to accelerate your learning is a critical element of your development plan. I have found that the most effective way to engage people is to invite them into your story. You will need to have a simple story that engages their emotions that motivates them to want to help you. These people see something in you that is worth their time.
You will need ideally need multiple mentors that have specific expertise that you are seeking to develop. These people should be named in your development plan.
1 – Select mentors according to your unique path and needs.
Carefully craft what you seek to learn from your mentors.
Identify mentors that can accelerate your progress down a unique path.
Seek those that can perhaps show us what to avoid and mitigate failure.
Prepare for a thoughtful search and do not simply choose the first possible mentor who crosses your path.
Reinforce how teachable you are to your mentors so they understand you are worth their time.
2 – Choose mentors who openly speak the reality you need to hear.
Embrace feedback as a gift – that openness makes it easy for others to help you grow.
Choose mentors that understand and value giving you the sharpest dose of reality.
Be curious about the weaknesses they see in our character and the struggles we must endure as we follow our chosen path.
Invite them to challenge you to reveal your strengths and weaknesses that must be neutralized.
3 – Adapt mentor ideas to your circumstances and uniqueness
Be open to learning and be completely receptive to your mentor’s ideas.
Incorporate and adapt these ideas to fit your style – you must protect the space you need to develop your own voice and identity.
Think deeper about their ideas and guidance to challenge the basis of their thinking.
Mentally prepare and have high expectations to surpass your mentor.
4 – Become your own mentor when no one can serve in this role.
Go back to your personal values and purpose to guide your decisions.
Reflect on your learnings so you do not repeat poor decisions.
Journal to get your thoughts and concerns written down.
Take a walk to reflect on your thoughts and remain present to make your day valuable.
Asking others who are strong in areas where you are weak to help you is a great skill that you should develop no matter what, as it will help you develop guardrails that will prevent you from doing what you shouldn’t be doing. All successful people are good at this. – Ray Dalio, from the book Principles.
Experiment With This
- Share your personal story with people who may be able to accelerate your learning – let them offer ideas on where they can mentor you.
- Do an assessment to identify the skills and competencies that are critical to honing your value proposition and keeping it differentiated. What competency or skill do I need to learn quickly that I cannot solely learn through doing? Who are the specific people that can serve as a mentor to help me develop that competency?
- Identify those people who you see as your heroes who can serve as visual mentors to emulate their ideas, character, and how they show up. See the example on my about page. Each of these people has a quality or talent I am seeking to emulate in my journey to become the person I want to be.
Mastery by Robert Greene (Part III: Absorb the Master’s Power: The Mentor Dynamic)