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The Mentor Mentality

July 12, 2011

Learn from others. You don’t have time to make all the mistakes.

“Wisdom comes from two places, mistakes and mentors.”
–Mike Murdock

Mistakes are life’s most vivid teachers. We seldom forget the lesson learned as a kid, running barefoot into a hot asphalt parking lot, or exploring with our finger that unguarded electrical outlet. Yowch! Pow! No need to try a second time. Lasting wisdom in a flash!

Unfortunately, we don’t have enough time to make all the mistakes we need to make in order to earn a lifetime’s worth of wisdom. The presence of a coach in our lives, or mentors who have gone before us, are key to helping us accelerate our acquisition of knowledge, which applied over time will become wisdom.

You will prosper far more in business by admitting what you don’t know. Admitting you are new, admitting you are a rookie in the game, is not a weakness. While you may feel it is an impediment to gaining new clients, the fact of the matter is, everyone has to start somewhere. Your best bet is to seek out mentors who will share with you a little (if not all) of what they’ve learned.

Yes, some will be intimidated by new blood, the upstarts, those who might rock the boat. You can’t control that, though. Look for those mentors who are secure in what they do and how they do it enough to help guide you. Be open with them. Ask them how they got started. Ask them what they wish they knew back in the day. What mistakes would they caution you about?

One of the best ways to get these conversations going is to offer to buy lunch. Consider it a business development expense! Everyone pays tuition, from the classroom to the poker table and beyond. See if you can setup a standing monthly lunch with one or two people who you admire in your market or in a related client-services field (mortgage, legal, etc.).

Mentors can also come in the form of recorded lectures, audio books, and talks. Spend much time in the car? On a treadmill? Leveraging your “dead time” to learn is a great way to clock a few extra “mentor miles.”

Finally: Remember to give it back. If you’re an experienced agent, remember the days when you were starting out. Seek out someone you can help. Blog about your experience. Find opportunities to be a mentor. You might be surprised how useful it is to go back through what you know (and rediscover a few things you may have forgotten).


Source:  Scott Levitt (07/11)

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