I have often wondered: What are the four essential principles needed in order to excel at any new skill?
I have found that there are four which make a difference above all the others. Today we will talk about the first one.
Has this scenario ever happened to you? You have a big goal you want to achieve, and everything is going to plan until you get to a moment where you are stuck. You know the stakes are high and you need a shift, but you are not sure how to overcome the challenge you have to face.
At that moment you have three options…
The first one is to give up or just wait for something to happen, which is essentially the same thing. Out of the question.
The second option is to persist on your own. The problem of choosing this option is that it takes a long time, and is not always effective. It’s a bit like driving around a big roundabout without knowing exactly which exit to take, and trying them one by one in the hope that one will be the right exit. This takes not only time, but also energy, and when you finally find the right exit you are exhausted and irritated.
There is also a third way, and to help explain it, I’ll tell you the story of one of the greatest heroes that ever existed: Simba, the Lion King.
If we wanted to divide this story into a series of chapters, we would start by meeting a young Simba, adventurous and brave, used to having fun and chasing challenges. Then a tragic event occurs – his father’s death – and Simba believes it’s his own fault, running away from the shame (sounds like option 1, doesn’t it). This event leads to a state of ongoing paralysis, with Simba living his life in blissful ignorance, and the kingdom deteriorating under Scar’s rule (his uncle). This continues until Simba goes back to Pride Rock, conquers his kingdom back and everyone lives happily ever after.
However, to shift Simba from his self-imposed paralysis to the triumphant return phase, something needs to happen, and actually Simba has an encounter with Rafiki, the wise monkey. Rafiki is that mentor that puts Simba back on track, and allows him to transform from a normal lion with no special future to the hero of the story.
That is because the key of the third option is to find a mentor, someone who will help you to overcome a moment in which you face a challenge or in which you want to step up. A mentor is that person who gives a meaning to the hero’s story; they are that accelerator which allows you to save time and achieve bigger things. It doesn’t make sense to waste time discovering something on your own that has already been discovered by someone else. When you have mediocre goals, you can afford it, but when your goals are great, there is no time to waste. When your ambition is really high, you need humility and also a lot of trust in yourself, because once you trust in your ability to choose a mentor and follow their directions to accelerate your results, nothing can hold you back.
The fundamental question on your lips at this stage: how do you choose the right mentor?
There are three characteristics you must make sure your mentor has, no matter what they will mentor you for.
To be a mentor, one must have achieved a lot of results. Results speak louder than words, and it wouldn’t make sense for you to learn from someone that has never achieved results applying what they preach.
2) WILLING TO SHARE
A mentor needs to be willing to share their strategies. If they have achieved a lot but they keep their strategies to themselves, you can’t select them as a mentor. When your mentor shares them in a book, good. When it is face-to-face, even better.
3) CONSTANTLY GROWING
A mentor cannot be defined as such if they have settled for their old results instead of chasing new ones. They can’t be considered a guide if they do not keep growing and asking themselves to bring out their best. One signal of this is to see if the person in question still has a mentor, or is searching
It’s not easy to find people who have all three characteristics. At times you may find people who have had a lot of results and are willing to share their strategies, but who have stopped growing. Other times you may find someone who is willing to talk about a lot of strategies even if they haven’t achieved anything. There are also people who achieve a lot and keep growing but are not interested in sharing their keys to success.
Therefore, when you find a mentor, remember how precious they are. One thing I also do is to constantly ask myself “Would I like to mentor someone like me?”; this question allows me to make sure I focus on being coachable, reliable, trusting – in general, the best mentee I could be.
By doing this, growth and results are guaranteed!