Why Your Top Choice for A Mentor Will Tell You No

The Top Five Rookie Mistakes When Asking For Help

Scott Cooksey and Randy Gage
Cooksey connects with Randy Gage at recent event.

Most successful people achieved their status shedding blood, sweat & tears.  The rest found success by accident.  Which path are you on?

Successful people also have another trait in common: failure.  Each person at the top, even the lucky ones, made many mistakes along the way.  Your journey is no different.   The problem occurs when you never learn from the mistakes.

In the corporate world, managers routinely send employees to training classes, in hopes the trainers will magically “fix” their broken employees.  (Read: Why Training Doesn’t Work).

What’s worse is when I routinely see “aspiring” individuals (often spending their own money) who continue to get in their own way when approaching a mentor, without even realizing it.

Here’s a list of the Top Five Rookie Mistakes:

1)   Never admit you have no idea what you are doing.
I can sum this up in two words: freshman year.   If you have blocked that traumatic experience from your memory banks, try to remember the second one…college freshman year.  Look, in the adult world, you will gain much more respect from the professionals even a few years ahead of you by just showing a little humility.  I have never seen someone in a business suit give anyone a swirly in the restroom—except once…and that guy deserved it.

2)   You can simply hire people to do what you do not do well.
Despite what you may have heard, there are no short-cuts!  You may have heard the phrase “Do what you do best, outsource the rest!”  Let me be clear: there are plenty of incompetent people who will take your money and make you feel good about it.  Outsourcing any task or aspect of your business should not occur until you fully understand what successful execution of said task(s) looks like. Before you divulge your plan to avoid doing any “heavy-lifting” to your prospective mentor, I suggest you think twice. (Required reading: The Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss and Take The Stairs by Rory Vaden).

3)  Someone must agree to be your mentor before you can learn from them.  Recently, I was watching a video post by prosperity expert, Randy Gage.  He was talking about his “mastermind group” which included some of the greatest success-minded individuals of the past 100 years.  Suddenly, it clicked. He does not actually sit down face-to-face with his mentors (some of them are actually dead!).  Rather, he studies everything he can find where each mentor explains their philosophy: recorded speeches, books, articles, videos… And, in his mind, these guys speak to him and offer perspectives on success.

(More reading: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – I recommend the original 1937 version for full effect of it’s power; Risky Is The New Safe by Randy Gage; and watch Dead Poet’s Society starring Robin Williams.)

4)  Make sure your mentor thinks just like you do. Listen up, kids, ‘cause I’m only going to say this once: Keep an open mind and turn off your filter once in a while – you just might learn something from your mentor.  Time and again, I have witnessed people who ask for help, then offer a host of excuses why they couldn’t possibly do what had just been suggested they consider. Note: I am not saying you should “check your morals at the door”. I am merely suggesting that you can learn from people who think and act very differently than you.  Especially an “unofficial” mentor. Even Einstein knew the definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.”

(Challenge: Research someone who has been wildly successful despite possessing very different values from yours. Look for motivators, techniques, and systems you could replicate – seek to understand the “how” and get out of your comfort zone.  It’s been holding you back, anyway!)

5)  Your plan is the only way it will work.  As I look back at my career, with all of its amazing twists and turns, it is almost impossible to believe I am a professional speaker.  What made it work was my perspective.  Every setback.  Every failure.  Every slower than desired success. Each micro-decision along the way led me to where I stand today…on the platform.  Your pathway to success probably will not look the way you think it should, but remember – it is your story to tell.

Turn each setback into a lesson and call it experience.  Remember to celebrate the victories, no matter how small, with loved ones and confidantes. The road to success is full of twists and turns but, when you find yourself enjoying the journey, you will know you have arrived.  You will be even more shocked when you realize who helped you get there. Now, pick up the phone and call that prospective mentor!

2 Replies to “Why Your Top Choice for A Mentor Will Tell You No”

  1. Excellent blog Scott. You are right on about successful people and failure. One of my videos on You Tube has over 4,000 hits because of the title “Fail Your Way To Success”. People need to know they’re not alone and your advice to find a mentor will help people move forward. Well said.

    You rock!

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