How I Met My Most Influential Mentor

As you may know I like to make the beta reading of my book open sourced so the community that will be using them can actually gain the information and request changes or additional information to be added as the book is being written.

This post is One Chapter of my coming book, “GET THE DEAL”. Which the idea has it’s origins from the live training with the same name that I have taught to thousands of real estate investors all across the country and have had time to refine the information to answer the questions most asked at those trainings. Without further ado I want to encourage you to read this chapter and leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Chapter Fifteen

How I Met My Most Influential Mentor

“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help

enough other people get what they want”

– Zig Ziglar

Most people misunderstand mentoring. I certainly did. For the longest time, I said I wanted a mentor, but didn’t understand what that even meant. That is, until someone pulled me aside, invested in me, and taught me what a mentor really was.

There is a man in my city who can always be found in the same place, sitting on the same porch smoking a cigar, contemplating his next big investment moves. The first time I met him, was a pretty cocky real estate agent and had a few properties at the time. I will never forget the conversation, because he set me up to make me look like a fool and I walked right into it.

I asked who he was and he told me a “hard worker just looking to get into real estate one day like me”. I quickly told him that it’s easier than you think and that if he wants to talk about it I can answer any questions. He then laughed hard and said, “you have no idea who I am do you”. Needless to say at this point I was completely confused. I quickly pivoted and told him I honestly don’t and I am deeply sorry for not knowing.

After he was finished with his laughter I was able to get out of him that he owned nearly 200 units in my city and was the same age as my father! This took me back. I hadn’t considered that any single investor could have accumulated that much property in my city let alone someone who was barely in their fifties.

After apologizing a few times I asked if I could take him to lunch and he politely declined, but let me know if I ever had any questions I could stop by the local cigar shop in Fall River. If he wasn’t busy he would take the time to tell me stories about how he used to do deals, find properties and manage his own and other investors portfolios.

To this day he is still a great resource for things I have never run into and more importantly he has become a good friend who I have had the honor to help on occasion. I have had many mentors in my career and will have more as I continue this journey. Each one leaves a mark and there is an element of paying it forward to the next generation. At the same time, you do want to be respectful of their time and be sure to seek out what their goals are and how you can help them. Most importantly. Take their advice. There is nothing more disappointing than having to tell someone you are asking for advice from, that you didn’t take it.

What Is A Mentor

Before we dig in deeply as to why it’s important to hire a business coach, we need to touch briefly on the difference between a coach and a mentor. Both are extremely valuable assets to small business owners.

Business Mentor: A business mentor, primarily, is relationship-oriented (therefore a long-term commitment) and won’t charge a very large fee. Mentors tend to be concerned about the growth and success of the business owner as an individual. Their first role is to listen to the goals, dreams, and challenges of running the business, and to provide wisdom and advice that will shape both the individual business owner, as well as how they run the business.

A mentor really is a must-have for any small business owner who wants to grow and run a successful business, especially given that mentor relationships cost very little or nothing more than the time it takes to meet with them. Nonetheless, a mentor is not a substitute for a business coach. They each accomplish very different, very necessary, objectives for your business.

How To Find A Mentor

I see a lot of young people approaching mentoring the wrong way. They ask a leader they admire to mentor them, forcing the person into an awkward position in which he/she feels bad for saying “no” or obligated to say “yes.” But this is not how mentoring works.

Common Misconceptions Of Mentoring

I have a passion to see that change. There is a lot of misunderstanding about how mentoring works, including how to begin a relationship with a mentor. Here are some of them:

  • Mentoring is about me.
  • I need to wait for a mentor to find me.
  • Being mentored is more passive than active.
  • I need to ask someone to mentor me up-front.

Face it: Everything you know about mentoring may be wrong. It’s time to start seeking out a mentor the right way. In finding a mentor, there are 10 important steps I’ve found that usually work:

1. Find Someone You Want To Be Like

Don’t just find someone who has a job you want or a platform that you covet. Instead find someone that is like you, someone with a similar set of strengths and skills you want to emulate. Otherwise, you’ll just end up frustrated.

Spend some time finding the right person. In fact, have several candidates before committing to a single mentor.

2. Study The Person

Follow his blog, social media & YouTube channel. Get to know people who know him/her.

If you don’t know the person well, see if he is really like his public persona projects.

Make sure you understand his strengths and weaknesses. Set your expectations realistically.

3. Make The “Ask”

Don’t ask for the person to “be your mentor” right off the bat. That’s a big ask. Far too big for the first meeting.

Rather, ask for an initial meeting — something informal, over coffee maybe. Keep it less than an hour.

Come with questions that you’re prepared to ask, but let the conversation flow relationally. (Note: the formality really depends on the potential mentor’s communication style — something you should be aware of before the initial meeting.)

When in doubt about when to make the ask, just go for it. (That’s what I do, and it usually works.)

4. Evaluate The Fruit

After meeting, do you want to spend more time with this person?

Did she begin the meeting by encouraging you or telling you what to do? Did she ask questions, or wait to provide answers?

Did you leave the meeting feeling better about yourself? Was a connection made? If not, feel free to let the relationship go and seek out someone else, instead. You don’t have time to waste on a self-centered tyrant.

If it went well, then immediately put together a follow-up plan.

5. Follow Up After The Meeting

This is not like dating. It’s okay to appear overly ambitious. You want this person to know that you’re serious.

It’s appropriate to follow up immediately, thanking your prospective mentor for her time.

A good way to do this is via email or other form of passive communication, so that you don’t appear overbearing or waste the person’s time.

This is also a good time to mention that you’d like to do it again. If she reciprocates, offer to get something on the calendar. (You may need to suggest a time.)

Make sure that it feels relaxed and not contrived. You’re still vetting each other at this point.

6. Let The Relationship Evolve Organically

We sometimes place too high of expectations on mentoring. We want to give it a name, because it gives us a sense of status and importance. But really it’s just a relationship.

Mentoring is organic. It’s healthy to let it grow like any other relationship — over time and based on mutual respect and trust.

Don’t force it. That will kill a potential mentoring relationship faster than anything. Give it time; it needs to grow.

7. Don’t Check Out When You Feel Challenged

I was recently speaking with a friend who’s mentored a number of young men over the years. He said the saddest part about what he does is that a lot of guys check out whenever he challenges them. It will happen. You’ll get to a point where your mentor will feel comfortable enough to call you out. And what you do next is crucial to your growth. Remember: this is what you signed up for. Don’t wimp out when it gets tough; this is where the really good stuff happens.

8. Press Into Relationship

Don’t wait for the mentor to initiate. Learn how to manage up. Persevere. Ask for more of your mentor without demanding it. This doesn’t bother him (at least, it shouldn’t). It honors him. It shouldn’t be a big deal to ask this person to coffee, lunch or a cigar.

If a mentor can’t be a friend, then he’s probably not a mentor. Finding ways to solidify the bond you’ve created will only strengthen the relationship. Just be aware that someone with a busy and successful business may have smaller timeframes available and you can find ways to work around that.

One solution I have found with the investors I occasionally mentor is group mentorship calls and masterminds to be able to spend more time getting to know each other in a more efficient manner.

9. Ask Your Mentor For Feedback

Feedback can be hard, but it’s good. As your relationship with your mentor progresses, this will be the #1 way you grow. It will be a highlight for the both of you.

While asking for feedback may initially feel weird, eventually it will become almost second-nature. You will find yourself thirsting for those words you used to fear. Similarly, a good mentor will treat these times with great care and sensitivity.

10. Commit To The Process

You can’t be mentored in a summer. That’s an internship. Mentoring takes real time and real work. In order for it to be a real mentorship, you have to commit to the relationship. Come hell or high water, you’re going to make it work. Then, you will begin to understand what it means to be a student, a disciple, a protege.

Why Business Coaching Is Important

If you’re reading this book, there is still a chance that you haven’t yet found a business coach, or perhaps even a mentor (yes, there’s a distinction between the two). Commonly, businesses that have not found a business coach or a mentor haven’t done so because they believe it’s a costly relationship they can’t afford. The truth is, this is a relationship that you can’t afford to do without. The next chapter will discuss the role the right coaches will play in your investment career.

Alchemist Insights

Ask yourself these questions and start taking “right” action. Do you have a mentor? How did you find him or her? Are you ready for another Mentor? What is the first action you are going to take to finding them? How will you find out what is important to them? How will you help them solve their biggest problem?

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