World’s Greatest Mentoring Relationships

Posted by 9 April, 2009 (11) Comment

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This is the fifth part of a five part series on mentoring.

1. Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
2. 10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
3. 10 Things to Look for in a Protege
4. 5 Steps You Need to Take in Preparation of Being a Mentor/Protege
5. World’s Greatest Mentoring Relationships

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton

If you look at any highly successful person, you will almost always find a mentor. It’s really hard to imagine that some people have mentors. We, as a society, tend to put people on a pedestal. In fact, it almost seems as if some famous people were just born awesome when in fact it took many set backs and failures before they achieved greatness.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

It also seems that the older or longer ago a person lived, the more difficult it is to imagine that historical figures are people too. They are just like you and I and they too needed a mentor.

Strongest Symbol for Non-Violence in the 20th Century

There aren’t too many people that have had a more profound effect on the world than Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi, like you and I had a mentor, Dadabhai Naoroji. Dadabhai helped start the Indian Independence Movement in 1857 and Gandhi was able to complete the task on August 15th 1947 which handed the country of India back to it’s people. This movement was the first and largest non violent resistance the world had ever seen and involved 50 million people within India. This all came from a person who had limited success starting a law practice in Mumbai and was also turned down for a part-time teaching position. While not being a direct mentor, Gandhi has been noted as an inspiration for Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela among others.

Richest Person in the World

It’s difficult to imagine that one of the most successful investors the world has seen was mentored at one time. In fact, Warren Buffett was mentored by Ben Graham while at Columbia University. Buffett celebrates Graham’s book, The Intelligent Investor, as the greatest book on investing ever written. It’s interesting to note that Ben Graham once owned a small insurance company you may have heard of before, GEICO. Apparently Ben Graham taught his student well as Warren Buffett now owns GEICO.

Most Admired Person for the 20th Century

Mother Teresa committed her life to God through good works and truly helping others. Instead of living a comfortable life in a convent, she decided to live among the poorest of the poor and help them even though she had no income to speak of. Mother Teresa received permission from the Vatican to start Missionaries of Charity. It started with 13 members to help the hungry and homeless – those shunned by society. Today, there are more than 4,000 nuns operating orphanages, AIDS hospices, and various charities worldwide. She led a remarkable and revered life, but she may not have achieved all that she did if it weren’t for her mentor, Father Michael van der Peet.

Greatest Basketball Player

Michael Jordan is arguably the best basketball player to ever play the game. LeBron James and Kobe Bryant might think otherwise, but they are referred to as “the Next Jordan”, not the other way around. Michael Jordan was a great player, having earned Rookie of the Year, but it wasn’t until he was joined with his coach and mentor, Phil Jackson, that he flourished. Under Phil Jackson’s first year as coach of the Chicago Bulls, and the help of young players Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant, Michael Jordan and the Bulls were able to win their first NBA title. Michael Jordan amassed 6 NBA titles and became the most decorated NBA player ever under Phil Jackson.

What do you want to achieve? It’s probably not as difficult as you think.

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

You’re only limited by what you think is possible. Figure out what you want and then find someone who’s done it. Get a mentor, ask for their counsel, become comfortable with what they’ve done, and then make it your own.

Photo by Vincent

Other Posts
Carnival of Personal Finance #199
Rich Life Carnival #19 – Money Blueprint Edition
5 Steps You Need to Take in Preparation of Being a Mentor/Protege
10 Things to Look for in a Protege
10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
Categories : Personal Development Tags : , ,

5 Steps You Need to Take in Preparation of Being a Mentor/Protege

Posted by 6 April, 2009 (6) Comment

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This is the fourth part of a five part series.

1. Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
2. 10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
3. 10 Things to Look for in a Protege
4. 5 Steps You Need to Take in Preparation of Being a Mentor/Protege
5. World’s Greatest Mentoring Relationships

Whether you are interested in being a mentor or a protege, there are some steps that you should take before entering into this sort of relationship. One thing to keep in mind is that no mentoring relationship is the same. All mentoring relationships are unique.

1. What Do You Expect – Before setting out to do anything, you need to consider what you want to accomplish. This goes for mentoring or just about anything in general. If you are a mentor, are you looking for pass on specific knowledge? For a protege, what would you want to get from a mentoring relationship? This step is most important and expectations or goals should be known by the mentor and protege. I would suggest that the expectations be SMART, but that is ultimately up to you. Remember that mentoring is a relationship, it’s constantly growing and changing course, and nothing is set in stone.

Personal Story

As I mentioned in my posts, I have a FOREX mentor. She actually approached me. I really didn’t know anything about FOREX trading and had no desire to learn. After she initiated the contact, I read a about the subject. It sounded interesting, but I still wasn’t sure what she would be doing exactly. She explained that she would spend as much time with me as I wanted using Skype. After speaking with her on a separate occasion and saw that she wasn’t trying to make money off of me, I was all in.

I am now trying to find the same sort of mentoring, but in real estate investing. I think I may have found one and look forward to sharing my experiences when I do.

2. Assess Skills and/or Experiences – Before entering into a mentoring relationship, the mentor and protege need to assess each other’s qualities to ensure a good fit. There are many ways to do this such as by exchanging resumes or cover letters. The cover letter should obviously be geared towards the potential mentoring relationship. You may want to include your goals for the mentorship. Another way to assess the potential mentor or protege is to actually meet. It’s preferable that this is a short meeting. You are basically trying to get a feel for the other person and see if they’re going to be a fit or not.

3. Be Prepared to Retract – If after exchanging resumes/cover letters and possibly meeting with the person, you may find that you two are not a match. That’s OK. It’s better to find out ahead of time before much time is invested. Whether you are a mentor or a protege, you want to make sure that you’ve found a good fit for you. If both parties aren’t fully committed or compatible, move on. A mentoring relationship can be as rewarding as you want it to be!

4. Set Boundaries – Think about how personal you want to get in your mentorship. Perhaps a protege is mentoring under someone to mentor them in starting up a business. Many people are really “tight lipped” about their finances. How detailed does the protege want to get with their finances? Is this instance, it might be crucial for the protege to disclose his or her finances, but this is a boundary that the mentor/protege needs to think about. Related to that, does a protege disclose a possible partner’s financials? Be sure that you are very clear with your mentor/protege from the beginning about boundaries. It would be a real shame for spend a few weeks with a person and then come to a halt due to a boundary that wasn’t discussed, but is crucial to the process.

5. Why Do You Want to be a Mentor or Protege? – Perhaps, if you are a potential mentor, you want to pass on your knowledge to others. In fact, you may even be so inclined because you feel like you owe society because someone was generous enough to mentor you in the past. For a protege, maybe you want to hone a particular skill. Perhaps you want help in a broader sense, such as personal development. Whatever your position, figure out why you want to be a mentor or protege. I know that’s one of the first questions I’d ask if I was interviewing a prospective mentor/protege.

Have you been a mentor or protege before? Did you do anything to prepare for the mentorship?

Photo by: Marina Cast

Other Posts

First Edition of the Carnival of Pecuniary Delights
10 Things to Look for in a Protege
10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
5 Reasons Why You Should Have a Store Front

Categories : Personal Development Tags : , , ,

10 Things to Look for in a Protege

Posted by 2 April, 2009 (10) Comment

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This is the third part of a five part series.

1. Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
2. 10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
3. 10 Things to Look for in a Protege
4. 5 Steps You Need to Take in Preparation of Being a Mentor/Protege
5. World’s Greatest Mentoring Relationships

There have been many great mentor/protege relationships. At least for me, it seems a protege is typically looking for a mentor to help obtain the goals they have set out, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, in 2007 Warren Buffett announced he was looking for a successor(s). This is a bit of a different circumstance than the typical mentor/protege relationship.

In the same vein that a protege looks for qualities in a mentor, a mentor could be looking for certain qualities in a protege. He or she may be want to pass on knowledge of a particular subject. If you think about it, it makes sense in the grand scheme of things. A person lives for let’s say, 75 years. Well, that is 75 years of experience that someone is walking around with. If the mentor worked hard and obtained success in his or her career, that is a lot of knowledge that they could pass onto a younger generation and help the younger generation shave time off of a potential learning curve. For the sake of man kind and progress, this mentor has not only allowed or at least laid down the ground work to obtain the same success that he or she achieved, but helped them in getting a leg up so that they can progress past the success of the mentor and in turn help society progress (hopefully in the right direction).

So, what should a mentor be looking for in a protege?

1. Motivated – A mentor wants someone who is motivated to succeed in whatever it is that they want to pursue. A mentor more than likely values his or her time and wants to use it wisely and thus on someone who will ACT on the knowledge passed down.

2. Time – A protege needs to be able to carve out time in their schedule. If the potential protege isn’t able to commit a meaningful amount of time, it’s time to look for a different protege.

3. Positive – It’s never any fun to work with someone that isn’t positive around you. The mentor should look for happy people. The protege should look at things in the context of the "glass is half full."

4. Respectful – You want a protege that is respectful of you and your time. A lot of people pay large sums of money to be mentored on anything from blogging to real estate investing (think late night infomercials).

5. Willing to Learn – This goes along with being motivated, but you can be motivated and still not willing to learn. "An investment in knowledge pays the best dividend." – Benjamin Franklin

6. Honesty – It’s a complete waste of time if the protege isn’t honest with you. I’ll stay with Benjamin Franklin with a quote on honesty: “Trickery and treachery are the practices of fools that have not the wits enough to be honest.”

7. Communication – The protege needs to be vocal in whether concepts are clear. The protege also needs to be able to vocalize his or her thoughts and help steer their development. The protege doesn’t need to be a gifted speaker or the most opinionated, but they need to be able to carry on a conversation.

8. Confidence – This isn’t a must, but it’s probably necessary to start out with some resemblance of confidence. People, mentors included, are just naturally attracted to someone who is confident and comfortable in their skin.

9 & 10. I didn’t want to add something just to add it so I’m curious if there is anything you would add. I’d like to get your input and I’ll finish it up based on the best suggestion.

Let’s hear your suggestions for 9 and 10!

Photo by Martin Kingsley

Other Posts

10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
5 Reasons Why You Should Have a Store Front
5 Reasons Why You Should NOT have a Store Front
Case Study: My Adventures in Forex Trading (Update: 3/16)

Categories : Personal Development Tags : , ,

10 Things to Look for in a Mentor

Posted by 30 March, 2009 (10) Comment

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This is the second part of a 5 part series.

1. Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
2. 10 Things to Look for in a Mentor
3. 10 Things to Look for in a Protege
4. 5 Steps You Need to Take in Preparation of Being a Mentor/Protege
5. World’s Great Mentoring Relationships

1. Experienced – Mentors are typically older, but that is not a rule. As Bud Bilinch from Fast Company states, one of his mentors is 20 years younger than him and is teaching him the ways of the Web 2.0 world.

2. Character – Your mentor should be a person that you respect and admire. Many times a protege (mentee) patterns his or her life after the life of the mentor and thus you want to ensure you are following a person that with good moral standing.

3. Similar Goals – Find a mentor that has goals similar to yours. It can only help your chances of success if your mentor has already gone through a lot of the work you have in front of you.

4. Availability – Your mentor needs to be available for interaction. It can be great to have a really successful person mentoring you, but if they aren’t available to meet, it defeats the purpose of the arrangement.

5. Open-minded – You need a mentor that is open-minded. This will allow you to progress in a way you need to progress, not necessarily in the way the mentor would prefer.

6. Caring – We all want people to think what we’re doing is important especially our mentor. A mentor needs to care about your success just as much as you do. This is a person that should help you up when you fall and all of this starts with the mentor caring about you and your success.

7. Positive – Your mentor needs to be positive and help keep you positive. If you spend a meaningful amount of time with your mentor, and they are positive, this is bound to rub off on you. Remember, good thoughts in, good thoughts out. People want to work with other positive people. The future is bright and as Henry Ford says “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”

8. Focus – You want a mentor who is able to not only focus on you and what you would like to achieve, but also help you focus. For instance, let’s say you are new to starting a business and have a mentor who has been successful in starting many businesses over the past 30 years. Starting a business can be a daunting task. There’s a lot of things to think about and especially in the beginning, you have to wear many hats. A mentor can help direct you to what might be the most important point in terms of starting a business.

9. Believes in You – A mentor needs to believe in your potential. If they aren’t sold on you, they aren’t going to put all of their effort into the mentor-protege relationship. No one wins in this relationship and both parties are wasting their time.

10. Open and Honest – A mentor-protege relationship is most beneficial when you can both share experiences and bits of information that a normal acquaintance wouldn’t know about you. Openness and honesty also help build credibility and trust among the mentor and protege.

Remember, a mentoring relationship is only as good as the sum of it’s parts. This is only a guide line for what to look for in a mentor. You may add or subtract from this list as pertains to your situation.

Are there other qualities you look for in a mentor? How did you decide who your mentor was going to be?

Photo by: Puliarf

Other Posts

Want to Be Successful? – Get a Mentor
5 Reasons Why You Should Have a Store Front
5 Reasons Why You Should NOT have a Store Front
Case Study: My Adventures in Forex Trading (Update: 3/16)
Carnival of Personal Finance #197

Categories : Personal Development Tags : , ,