I may be a little weird but I don’t take marriage advice from a counselor who has been divorced 3 times. I don’t take health advice from a doctor who is overweight. I don’t take fitness advice from a personal trainer who can’t straighten their arms. Call me picky but I believe it’s important to choose my mentors wisely.
If you continue to listen to rubbish from “experts” then you’ll continue to stay stuck where you are. In this era, it’s hard to know who is real and who is fake. How do you tell the difference? For me I use a certain set of criteria:
- Does the person represent my own values and goals? This is probably the biggest one for me. I value flexibility as well as strength so I tend to follow yoga teachers or pilates instructors rather than traditional personal trainers. I also don’t believe in “functional training.” Each time I watch someone do functional training, such as walking like a crab across the floor, I want to ask them, “when do you actual do that movement in your day?” How functional is it really? I also don’t want to look like a body builder so I want someone who looks lean and fit because that’s the way I want to look. All of the doctors I follow for health and nutrition advice are lean and fit. That’s what I want to look like so I look for mentors that match my goal. Let me be clear though, each mentor I have doesn’t have to posses each and every value I have or represent each goal. Different mentors for different goals, get it? When I choose an actual Doctor, for something as complex as surgery, or as simple as my yearly health check-ups, I have a questionnaire I run through to see if their values match mine. I know it sounds strange but it works. I was able to avoid a disastrous relationship with a surgeon because when she answered my questions, it was clear that her level of follow up with her clients was very minimal. She may have been the cheaper option but I would have had a lot of worries. For me, it just wasn’t worth it.
- Has the person already overcome the challenges or obstacles I’m going through and achieved what I want to achieve? When I was invited to join a mastermind group, one of the participants had already created an online training program which is something I was working on at the time. She was 2-3 years ahead of me in her business development and for me, that was a great sign of a mentor. Her skills and experience in this area were essential to me. I brought my own skills and strengths to the group which my fellow members also needed. It was a win-win for all of us.
- Follow your common sense. If all else fails, stick to your gut feelings. When something sounds too good to be true, I normally error on the side of caution. I’m often invited to attend “free” events by speakers who pronounce themselves as the best in the world in one way or another. If they are the best in the world, why is the event free? It just begs the question of common sense. If you’re that good, why am I not paying for your expertise? For me, I believe in paying for someone’s expert knowledge and when it’s free, my first instinct is to look for the catch. What’s missing? What is the gain? What are the possible outcomes? Most of the time when someone like this gives away their “knowledge” for free, it isn’t actually knowledge, it’s just a sales pitch in disguise. And if it was really that valuable, I wouldn’t need the misleading sales pitch to begin with. If you were really that good, I would want to buy your product or solution because I trust in your expertise. It’s rare that I’ve been burned and bought something with little or no value. It has happened, I admit. And it serves as a reminder for me to remember and learn from.
So choose your mentors wisely. There are some really great ones out there. Do your due diligence and find the ones that fit your criteria.