“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.” ~ Japanese Proverb
When I started this new site and online business, I was afraid.
I had a fairly successful blog (Live Bold and Bloom) and a coaching business. I was running online courses and selling some products and really enjoying the work I was doing. Things were chugging along quite well.
But I started looking around at other bloggers who were more successful than me. I could see that just blogging and sharing my ideas and insights wasn’t enough to sustain a real business. I recognized that in order to compete in an increasingly crowded online environment, I would have to ratchet up my game.
It was time to make a decision about whether I wanted to build a thriving business around my passion. And if I did, how was I to go about that? I had some vague notions about what I should do, but I had many fears and doubts overshadowing those notions.
- I was afraid of putting myself out there in a more prominent way.
- I was afraid that it “wouldn’t work” for me the way it worked for others.
- I was afraid that I’d put all of this time, energy, and money into a new venture and see no return on investment.
- I was afraid that in the jumble of information on the internet about how to succeed, I was picking the “wrong” way to go about building this business.
- is a role model
- offers insight and advice
- has some level of engagement in your success and enjoys the intrinsic satisfaction of having a protege
- provides encouragement and motivation
- inspires by example
- challenges you to push beyond your comfort zone
- shares specific ideas and experience-based problem solving techniques
- recognizes the long-term mutual value of the mentor/mentee relationship
So in order to manage my doubts and fear, the very first thing I did was find a mentor — two in fact.
I looked around the circle of online experts I knew or recognized for those who had successful sites, had a large following of readers, were making a great income (six figures), and consistently showed a level of passion, integrity, and connection with their followers.
There are many wonderful online experts who fit that bill, but two people were so responsive and helpful when I reached out to them — Jason Gracia (The Six-Figure Expert) and Corbett Barr (of Think Traffic). Not only are both of these gentlemen successful online entrepreneurs themselves, but they are successful online entrepreneurs who teach others how to be successful online entrepreneurs.
If you look at their sites, you will see how much great information they simply give away for free. And believe me, I picked over their sites like a vulture on road kill. I was looking for every morsel of information that could help me figure out how to do what they were doing, but in my particular niche (life passion).
However, beyond devouring the info on their sites, I needed a little more hand-holding, some reassurance and direction that I was on the right track. I reached out to them, and ultimately that’s how these two guys evolved into my mentors.
Before I go on with my story here, let me pause to tell you a little about a mentor/mentee relationship.
In these times, when you can get just about any information and instruction you want from the internet, why do you need a one-on-one relationship with someone to help you find your passion or figure out how to live it?
Here are a few of the reasons:
1. Because reading and researching can never replace the personal interaction and confidence you receive in a mentoring relationship. It is only here that you can drill down to the emotions, complications, frustrations, and potential roadblocks of making big change and get real-world feedback on how to manage these things.
2. A mentor has been there and done that, and they can keep you on a more direct path to success, while offering the security that what might feel impossible is actually possible.
3. Mentors might see something in you that you haven’t recognized or acknowledged in yourself and shine a light of awareness on it for you. A mentor has already found the spark of passion within themselves, and they can help you define how your aptitudes and personality might best match your passion pursuit.
4. Mentors can inspire you to bring out the best in yourself. They encourage you to believe that what you once thought impossible is actually achievable. The encouragement from a mentor to find and live your passion creates energy and enthusiasm when hope begins to fade.
5. A mentor can facilitate your life passion work by offering specific advice and techniques for moving forward. And they can help push you past your perceived limits by setting the bar high and inspiring you to stretch yourself.
6. Having a mentor, or several mentors, will accelerate your life passion work. When you have someone in your life who is living their dream, especially if it is the same dream as yours, you will feel empowered and hopeful. You will be energized to learn what needs to be done and take the actions to make it happen.
Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. However, true mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing ad hoc help. It is about an ongoing relationship of learning, dialog, and challenge. ~Wikipedia
The mentor . . .
The mentee . . .
- is the initiator in the relationship
- is respectful of the mentor’s time
- is responsive and grateful for the mentor’s input and suggestions
- remains friendly and professional and doesn’t view the mentor as a therapist or personal confidant
- can accept criticism and suggestions for change without defense
- shares successes and results with the mentor
- understands the reciprocal nature of the relationship and proactively finds ways to support or help the mentor
In this mentor/mentee relationship, it is imperative that the mentee remain cognizant of the mentor’s time and willingness to share information. At some point, the relationship might transition into a consulting or coaching arrangement in which you hire the mentor if appropriate.
This changes the dynamics of the relationship, but it can be a good and necessary transition that benefits you and the mentor. This role change doesn’t have to happen, but it is one reason mentors make themselves available. They see how these connections can generate future business directly or indirectly.
Jason Gracia served as my mentor for over a year, regularly answering questions and giving me feedback on various projects. He was the first person to recommend that I begin to build my expert site. Once I made the decision, I knew I needed more of his time and help, so I hired him as my business and marketing coach which moved me forward more quickly and confidently.
Corbett has remained strictly a mentor. He has given me great feedback and advice. He has made referrals of my work to others, shared information about my site on Think Traffic, sent me notes of support and congratulations, and continues to inspire me with his work, integrity, and brilliance. I know he would be there to assist me if I needed it. And he knows that I would bend over backward to support something he is working on.
Both Jason and Corbett understand that one day I might be in the position to help them even more, as I become more successful in my business. They recognize and support genuine interest, hard work, and potential.
So how do you go about finding someone and asking them to be your mentor?
For me it happened organically. I never asked directly, but the relationships evolved in a way that it was implicit — at least for me. Jason and Corbett may not know they are my mentors!
Here’s what I did in my mentor development, and here are some other suggestions for finding your own mentor to help you with your life passion pursuit.
Things I did . . .
- Regularly read and/or commented on their sites;
- Connected with them by email to ask the occasional question or make positive comments on their work;
- Regularly expressed my gratitude for their help and support;
- Offered my assistance with their projects or endeavors;
- Offered to pay them for their time, even when asking for a small amount of it;
- Was mindful of their time and prioritized my questions.
- Research people whom you admire and respect currently succeeding in the passion you think you want to pursue;
- Make initial contact with them by email to comment on or praise their work and let them know why you respect them;
- If one or more replies in a positive way, let them know you are interested in following their example. Have one or two specific questions lined up to ask;
- If they offer a suggestion, follow through immediately, and follow-up with them to offer thanks;
- Look for ways you can reciprocate the help your mentor offers — even if it’s taking them to lunch or sending a gift card;
- Understand that mentoring can take many forms. It can be a monthly lunch, a quarterly Skype call, or merely a steady E-mail correspondence.
Other things you can do . . .
You don’t want to become too dependent on your mentor. The mentor’s role is to help you fly on your own one day. Your passion pursuit may not evolve or manifest exactly as your mentor’s has, so you should always balance what is best for you and your situation with your mentor’s advice.
Having a mentor offers tangible proof that it is possible to live your dream. You see first hand how someone has created their life around what they love, and how they have overcome their own doubts and obstacles. There is nothing more valuable in accelerating your success than someone at the top of the mountain reaching down to give you a hand up. If you are seeking your passion, take the time to seek a mentor who can accelerate the process for you.
Have you had a mentor in your life? Who has it been and how have they impacted your success or life passion?
If you enjoyed this post, please share it with other life passion seekers!