Masterminds, Mentorship and Success

You’ve probably heard the saying, “We are the product of our friends.” This is so very true. It shouldn’t surprise you that nice people who are knee deep in debt often have friends who are also debt-ridden. Perhaps they share feel good lines like, “I don’t need money when I have love.” While love won’t bring you more money, the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

On the flip side, some of my most creative friends also hang around with very creative, motivated people. They help drive each other toward success. They visit each other’s productions and exhibits, deliver honest critiques and push one another to constantly better work. Consequently, everyone wins.

What Pack Do You Travel With?

I was reading about dolphins and wolves recently. Both of these creatures work together in teams to survive. While they may not be strong or fast enough to catch prey on their own, they outsmart their food to win. It’s the same for successful people.

In his classic book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill extolled the virtues of creating a group of like-minded people with which you could share notes and deliver success. Now, “who you travel with” is no longer an accident. You’re actively searching for people to be near who are going to inspire you, cajole you, antagonize you, and make you stretch mentally. They’re going to make you push for more. Like a wolf or a dolphin, they’re going to help you thrive.

From a financial perspective, this is incredibly important. There are so many nuances to good money management strategies. Certainly, we try to share as many as possible here at Abundance Bound. My friends often ask questions about areas of their financial lives that are important to them. I hope they feel comfortable asking me for help because they know and trust me. Likewise, I feel comfortable asking them for tips in other areas of my life because I implicitly trust them, too.

Some mastermind groups have formal meetings. Each member talks about their career, their lives, their goals and plans. At meetings, there might be a featured speaker each week, or a member who goes into depth about their challenges to receive feedback and advice. Other groups work like a book club, where they may read books about mentorship (such as Keith Farazzi’s excellent Never Eat Alone), business practices, art, or marketing. Others just meet over coffee and talk. You decide how formal you want your mastermind to be, but the key is this: you are what you think about and work towards. If you enlist a group of friends to help you keep good thoughts and to stay in forward moving action, your career and your pocketbook will both soon thank you.

Who Do You Ask For Help?

While a mastermind group is important, it isn’t the only key to success. I strongly believe that we each need mentors. A friend of mine is 84 years old and has taken up poetry. She was telling me that her mentor is a 24 year old poet in Seattle. Imagine an 84 year old taking advice from someone who is 24? Mentors don’t have to be old to be wise, and there’s no age limit on asking for mentorship. We can always use guidance and support.

Who Fails?

Many artists struggle because they’re afraid to ask for help. This is also true for people I meet with significant financial problems. They think to themselves, “I got myself into this, I’m going to get myself out.”

The frequent result is that we ask for help right after we’re done completely messing up the situation! Things work out SO much better if you ask before you wreck your credit, your budget and your personal relationships with your money problems.

Ask for help early. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

How do you ask for help?

That one is easy. Ask. The method doesn’t matter much, but there are a few phrases to stay away from.

Never ask, “Are you interested….” When it comes to asking for help or selling paper towels, this line is sure death.

Never say, “I don’t want to bother you, but….” Bother? This is your life! Of course you want to bother them AND it’ll be rewarding for them AND you. You’re worth it. Don’t use demeaning language.

Never assume, “I know you can help me because you helped….” For many individuals this will result in a fast no. It’s difficult to respond positively when it feels your time is being taken for granted.

Your top bet:

–       Always acknowledge that you need help.

–       Let your prospective mentor know how much you respect their work and success.

–       Outline specifically what you’re asking of them.

–       Thank them genuinely when you’re done so that you can keep open contact in the future.

Now, go find a pack to work with and a mentor!