Mount Everest. Its summit stands 29,029 feet above the valley floor, earning it the title of the “earth’s highest mountain.” Many adventurers invest tens of thousands of dollars on this one expedition. They train for months, and in some cases years, in advance of attempting to summit. They exchange the comfort and luxury of home for the unpredictable, extreme conditions hurled at them – avalanches, frostbite, altitude sickness and even death. Those fortunate enough to summit consider it to be a pinnacle moment in their climbing careers. Most of the time they are pictured on the summit with their fellow mountaineers and one of the locals, commonly known as a Sherpa.
When it comes to high altitude climbing, many mountaineers look to the skills and expertise of the Sherpa. He knows the mountains. He knows the conditions. He understands the threats and opportunities. After all, it is his home. The right Sherpa enhances the probability of successfully reaching the summit, and more importantly, surviving the descent. As such, the most important relationship the climbers develop while on this expedition is with their Sherpa.
It is not a coincidence that people often equate a business mentor to a kind of Sherpa. After all, a mentor can help bridge the gap from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow by sharing experiences of success, as well as failure. We all have dreams and goals to elevate our businesses and our careers to the next level. And while no one will be successful for us, developing a relationship with an experienced mentor can help produce exponential results in our businesses.
Here are three simple ways a mentor can accelerate your success:
Show you the path
This is undoubtedly the most significant way a mentor can accelerate your success. She is an expert at his craft. She knows what she is doing and understands what you are attempting to achieve. It is likely that she has accomplished a similar goal more than once.
Help you understand the environment
A seemingly beautiful day on Mount Everest may erupt into an avalanche, requiring the adventurers to think on their feet and adapt their plans to the new environment. Similarly, operating a successful financial services business requires one to be constantly aware of the changing environment. A trusted mentor can help you quickly adjust your plans when the environment demands you make a pivot. This understanding will not only enhance your success in life and business, but it may also prevent game changing pitfalls along the way.
Help to quickly identify opportunities and threats
The fact your mentor knows the path and understands the environment, enables her to give invaluable feedback that directly addresses areas where you have opportunities for growth. On Mount Everest, it might be making sure your oxygen tank works properly or the ladders that span the fissures in the ice are secured. In our business, it might be helping you refine your sales process, improve the language used to describe solutions, integrate new technology into your practice or introduce you to resources to continue your professional education.
It has been said that “successful people make a habit of doing the things unsuccessful people will not do.” This includes finding and building a relationship with a mentor. Give yourself permission to seek the experience of someone who might see the untapped potential you possess. He or she will genuinely be concerned about your long term success and will generously share his or her wisdom, knowledge and expertise. Why? Zig Ziglar said it best, “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else believed they could.” Your mentor is simply paying it forward!