mentoring Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
mentors into your room

Let Mentors Into Your Room

How can you increase the number of mentors into your room?

First, create a two-column list. In the first column, write down everyone’s name who is currently in your room who enhances the quality of your life. That can be your personal life, your professional life, your spiritual life—anything that matters to you. These people can be family members, friends, community members, business associates, coaches, colleagues, spiritual leaders, and so on. Don’t neglect anyone who is a positive force in your life.

Next, in the second column, write at least one action you can take to strengthen each relationship. For family members, it might mean arranging more quality time together. If a spiritual leader is on your list, make it a priority to attend services more frequently if you are attending sporadically now. For business associates, perhaps you’ll want to extend an invitation for a lunch meeting or a discussion over coffee. Ivan has written extensively on the value of building strong networks in business, so if this is a new and unfamiliar area to you, consider reading more on the value of business networking to cultivate these positive relationships.

The steps you write don’t have to be complicated or earth shattering.

The point is, you want to create a concrete plan that will help you fortify the relationships you already have with mentors. Then pick up the phone, send the email, or attend the social gathering. Take steps today to strengthen your relationships with mentors by engaging them and, when appropriate, expressing the value they have in your life.

Put your Doorman to work to let mentors into your room. Then dedicate the time necessary to develop those relationships. The impact will have a compounding effect.

This is the premise behind the newest book, “Who’s in Your Room? The Secret to Creating Your Best Life” by Ivan Misner, Stewart Emery, and Rick Sapio.

To order the book, please use this link: https://tinyurl.com/WhosInYourRoom

networking

Four Questions to Ask about Networking Mentors

We don’t teach networking in colleges and universities hardly anywhere in the world — we didn’t when I went to school, and we still don’t today.  I meet so many entrepreneurs who are hungry to learn how to network effectively.  Many things about networking are actually counter-intuitive to what business people may actually think.  So – how do entrepreneurs learn?  Other than through trial and error, I recommend finding someone who can mentor you on how to network effectively.

Recently, I had someone ask me four questions about this process.  Here are the questions and my answers to them.

  1. Who should your mentors be, and how do you find them?

First, you need to determine your values (they can be aspirational values – values that you are striving to achieve), or they can be values that are clearly part of your life now.  Next, you need to think about your personal and professional goals. Have you noticed that many successful people tell people to set goals?  There’s a good reason for it – they work!  So think about yours before you look for a mentor.  Once you’ve looked at your values and thought about your goals, then, look for people that you believe embody those values and goals.

Try to “network up.”  Look for successful people whom you admire, who embody values congruent with yours, and who may be able to help you with your objectives.  Look for people who have the characteristics that represent your values, who may have achieved some of the same kind of goals that you have established, and then go to the places where you can actually have meaningful conversations with these prospective mentors.  Unless you pay for coaching, trying to get the “sage from the stage” to be your mentor may not be realistic and will definitely not be easy.  Talk to people you’ve met, know, and respect.  They are the most likely candidates.

  1. Should the relationship be formal or informal?

It is not either/or, it is both/and.  Both can work.  I have had many, many informal mentoring relationships, as well as formal ones.  I’d recommend creating a formal mentoring relationship for about a year (if the prospective mentor is willing), then let it transition to something more casual over time.  If the mentor is only available informally, go with that.  The “right” person is the key.  Work with this person as much as is reasonable and respectful of their time.

  1. What should you expect from your mentor, and what should they expect from you?

It depends on whether your relationship is formal or informal.  In both cases, you want the relationship to be congruent with your values and goals.  It always comes down to that.   Formal relationships should have structure and processes in place.  They should include regular meetings in person or by Skype (generally monthly).  There should be a set objective or topic to discuss at each of these sessions.  I have found it helpful if the person I’m mentoring sends me questions in advance so I can give thought to them before we talk.

  1. How do you both determine whether the relationship is working and also recognize when it’s time to move on?

As long as you continue to receive value from the relationship and/or give value to the relationship – it is working.  I have had some mentoring relationships where I started as the mentee, but it evolved over time where I was a peer mentoring my mentor on certain issues.  That’s when you know you’ve developed a long-term friendship.  Ideally, a strong mentoring relationship evolves into a long-term connection and friendship.

Some people tell me they don’t have time to be a mentor.  To them, I say, “find a way to make the time if at all possible.”  You see, every time I was a mentor to someone – it was also a learning experience for me.  When I was given topics from people I mentored, I always did a little research or looked through my files to see if there was something I could offer them to help them through the issue.  What I realized over time was that I was improving myself while trying to help them.

This really struck home with me when many years ago I coached my son’s elementary school chess club.  I remember going into it thinking that it would be great to spend time with my son and his friends – but at no time did I think that I would become a better player by coaching 10 and 11 year olds!  I soon discovered that I was wrong.  By coaching these young chess enthusiasts, I had to really brush up on my game.  More importantly, I had to do my homework to learn the names of many of the moves and strategies that I had done intuitively for years.  I was amazed at how my game improved by coaching elementary school kids.

The same is true with mentoring people to network better.  The process not only benefits the mentee, it also benefits the mentor.

Three Reasons Why Your Mentor is Your Greatest Asset

Where is your cell phone? Close by? Some of you may even be reading this on your phone right now. Most professionals will have easy access to the internet, and so many of us will jump straight to Google when looking to answer the simplest of questions.

mentoringGoogle can’t always answer your questions, though. Articles and message boards can only get you so far. Occasionally you will have a question or concern in your business so specific that you would really benefit from a direct answer to your situation. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reasons why every successful businessperson could benefit from a mentor. So why should you have a mentor? Here are three reasons why a mentor could be invaluable to your business.

Hone your craft

Your mentor will likely be someone who has years of experience on you in your field. They know how to accomplish tasks that you might not, and as a person who has a genuine interest in you and your success, they will teach you how to communicate more effectively, succeed at a networking event, or set worthy and empowering goals. Whatever your hurdle is, your mentor can help you overcome it.

Access to relationships

So often we forget the power of the network those in our network have. As you are networking and working to grow your business, your mentor once upon a time did the same for their business. Their network is a powerful resource to you, and they would likely be more than happy to get you in contact with members of their network as need arises.

Building your confidence

Having a mentor can help build your confidence in numerous ways. For one, having an individual that you trust and respect backing you, perhaps someone with a reputation in your industry, can help you feel as if you have made the right decisions. Additionally, hearing their stories from when they were at the same juncture in their career can help you see your situation with a different clarity, and help you feel empowered.

Do you have a mentor? How have they helped you the most? Leave your comments in the field below!

Making Connections to Start Your Own Business

I recently got asked a really great question on Ask Entrepreneur: Where do I get connected with people who can help me open a business?

Though there is evidence that business is currently on the rise and the economy is moving in a positive direction, the recent downturn in the economy prompted many people who found themselves unemployed to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit and consider starting their own business.

This begs the question above–are there efficient ways to get in touch with people who can help you start your own business?

The answer is yes, and here are my three recommendations:

1) Go through your contacts and talk to people you personally know who have started a business. Set an appointment.  Let them know what you are doing and ask if they’d give you an hour of mentoring.  If possible, meet with them in person.  Show up with specific questions written out in advance.  Send them the questions prior to the meeting so they have a good understanding of what kind of information you’re looking for.  When you meet, focus on those questions, write down the answers, and stick to the time frame you promised.  If the conversation goes well, ask if you can meet with them in the future.  Follow this process with two or three people who have opened a business successfully.  I guarantee you will find this to be very valuable.

2) Find a business coach who has experience with start-up businesses. Hire them to coach you through the process.

3) Read, read, read!  There are a lot of books out there on opening a business. I have personally reviewed many of the books published by Entrepreneur Press on starting a business and they are excellent.  Go to EntrepreneurPress.com to see some of them.

I strongly encourage anyone genuinely interested in starting their own business to pursue the endeavor. I have owned my own business for almost thirty years (that’s a picture of me at top right, when I first started my company, BNI, and was running it from my house and garage with only one other employee in the mid ’80s) and it continues to be an amazing and fulfilling journey. I don’t think I would ever go back to working for someone else.

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