For decades, I have been a strong advocate of mentorship. My success would not have been possible without my mentor, former CEO of American Airlines Al Casey, who took a chance on me and opened the first door on my path to success.
Jeremy Ryan Slate and I hold similar views on this topic and have done a number of podcasts together; we stress the importance of having a mentor to be successful and how to go about selecting the right mentor who shares your goals and aspirations.
The Apprentice Model
The apprentice model has been around for centuries, providing valuable opportunities to learn skills. Apprenticeships can lead to a variety of opportunities, and mentors can introduce their mentees to new networks, allowing them to start their own businesses, work for the same company, or explore other opportunities with the skills they learned.
My encounter with mentorship occurred during my professional journey. Mentors like Al Casey, former CEO of American Airlines and a billionaire investor who funded companies like Costco and Best Buy, played a pivotal role in shaping my mindset and opening doors to new opportunities. These mentors selflessly shared their wisdom and expertise, guiding me toward success.
The Lost Art of Mentorship
Mentors impart knowledge and influence one’s thinking patterns, paradigms, and decision-making processes. Spending time with accomplished individuals allows you to adopt their mindset and absorb their successful habits. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals will inspire you to continually strive for excellence and push yourself to reach new heights.
However, this way of thinking seems to have been lost in recent years. The lack of respect for elders, the need for instant gratification, and the constant distractions of electronic devices have contributed to the loss of the art of mentorship. As a result, it is essential to bring back mentorship on a larger scale.
The Importance of Selecting the Right Mentors
While advice can come from various sources, it is important that you seek guidance from individuals who have achieved the desired outcomes. Aligning with mentors who have accomplished what one aspires to achieve significantly enhances the learning experience. Choosing mentors wisely ensures that the advice received is based on firsthand expertise and increases the chances of success.
Before embarking on a mentorship journey, it is essential to establish clear objectives. Define what you hope to achieve through mentorship and outline specific goals you aim to accomplish. This clarity will enable you and your mentor to focus efforts effectively and measure progress.
Renowned mentor Mari Smith shared invaluable advice: if an opportunity or commitment is not a resounding “hell yes,” it’s a clear “no.” Embracing this mentality helps us filter through potential distractions and focus only on endeavors that truly excite and align with our aspirations. By saying “no” to questionable commitments, we create space for “hell yes” opportunities and maintain a calendar filled with activities that bring us joy and fulfillment.
The Ripple Effect of Mentorship
Mentorship is a two-way street, with mentees playing an active role in nurturing these relationships. By following up on mentor guidance, taking initiative, and delivering results, mentees demonstrate their commitment and respect for the mentor’s time and expertise. In turn, mentors may extend their networks and introduce mentees to influential individuals, creating a powerful ripple effect.
The “1000 Ingredient Kitchen” Analogy
Mentorship often involves a structured and sequential learning process. Mentors guide mentees through a series of tasks and steps designed to build knowledge, skills, and competence in a particular domain.
For example, if you aspire to build a website, your mentor may guide you through the steps of understanding web development, designing user interfaces, and implementing coding languages. By following this sequential approach, you gradually acquire expertise in a systematic and efficient manner.
The “1000 Ingredient Kitchen” analogy offers a valuable perspective on the mentorship process. Just as a chef combines ingredients in a specific order to create the desired dish, mentors guide mentees through a sequence of tasks and knowledge acquisition to achieve their desired outcomes.
Each task represents an ingredient, and by assembling them in the right order, mentees can create their unique recipe for success. Whether it’s mastering Facebook ad optimization or developing a three-by-three video grid, the mentorship process ensures that you acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve your specific goals.
Some individuals may express concerns about the perceived lack of creativity or customization in a mentorship process. However, it is essential to recognize that mentorship focuses on imparting proven knowledge and methodologies. Just as a surgeon relies on well-established medical procedures rather than experimenting with each patient, mentors guide mentees based on tried-and-true practices. This approach ensures efficiency, reduces risks, and increases the likelihood of success.
Standardization is a fundamental aspect of mentorship. Mentors leverage their expertise and experience to provide a structured framework that promotes learning, growth, and achievement. This standardized approach facilitates a seamless transfer of knowledge and ensures that mentees receive consistent guidance and support throughout their mentorship journey.
Mastering the Basics and Continuous Learning
One fundamental principle of mentorship is emphasizing the importance of mastering the basics. Just as Tony Hawk excels at skateboarding by honing his foundational skills, individuals must focus on mastering the fundamentals before delving into more complex endeavors. By consistently practicing and refining the basics, individuals develop a solid understanding and gain the ability to think creatively within the framework.
Continuous learning is also a key aspect of mentorship, as it fosters growth, expands knowledge, and allows for the development of expertise over time. To create scalable systems and processes, allocating time for learning, doing, and teaching is essential.
While client work and immediate tasks may demand attention, neglecting the learning and teaching aspects hinders growth and limits the creation of efficient systems. Prioritizing these activities helps develop expertise, refine processes, and establish a knowledge-sharing culture within teams.
Mentorship at Scale
Experts and mentors possess the ability to distill complex concepts into simple and understandable terms, like a step-by-step checklist. The true mark of a knowledgeable individual is their capacity to communicate clearly, avoiding jargon and unnecessary complexity. As Albert Einstein once said, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. By grasping the fundamentals and striving for simplicity, individuals can gain deeper levels of understanding that set them apart from amateurs and blowhards
When I talk about mentorship at scale, I refer to all the knowledge I have gained from other people, which I have compiled into checklists. These checklists can be used to boost a post, set up a website, prepare for a client meeting, create a statement of work, and more. By systematizing the checklists, we can make mentorship accessible to everyone. Education and mentorship are essentially the same thing.
In the business world, mentorship is not only valuable for personal growth but also vital for overall success. By implementing a mentorship system, individuals can streamline processes, pass on knowledge, and avoid repeating tasks unnecessarily. Mentors share their experiences, offer guidance, and empower mentees to take ownership of their learning and development.