Life Lessons

Why You Need a Mentor

Recently, my mentor suggested that I become more active writing in this blog again. That’s when I realized, I’ve been putting off writing for so long…Once upon a time, I used to enjoy writing, sharing stories through this blog. However, due to so many reasons, some I don’t even know why, I haven’t been writing a lot lately. Perhaps, I was just too busy. Or perhaps something else is at play.

Late last year I had the opportunity to get trained under Anthony Pangilinan on a 2-day seminar based on the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.  One of my key take-aways from that special exclusive 2-day training was the decision to write again..and to revive this blog. After the holidays, that goal has been put into the back burner once again. Until now.

Now, here I am, trying to share something that I hope would be of value to you — Why You Need a Mentor.

In 2003 I read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. It was the book that made me realize that there’s more to the world of money than what I previously knew. That book started my journey to financial freedom. I bought and devoured all books written by Robert Kiyosaki. I came to know other authors as well like Brian Tracy, Robert Allen, Anthony Robbins, Dan Kennedy, and more…I have bought more than a hundred books through the years. Even when I was working in Malaysia, I was busy colleting books. If you see me at the mall, you can only find me in either the sports section or at the bookstore. 🙂 Those were my early mentors. I’ve never met them personally, only in books. Maybe someday, I will get a chance to meet some of them as well.

When I got tired of reading, I moved on to attending seminars on money and investing. This is when I met Bo Sanchez and all his mentors, Edward Lee the chairman and owner of COL Financial a stock brokerage firm, Dean Pax Lapid, owner of multiple businesses and author of Go Negosyo books, Jomar Hilario an internet marketer turned virtual assistant trainer, Larry Gamboa, a real-estate investor and trainer, and many more. Even though I met them personally, the mentoring I received is limited to how much I was willing to pay to attend the seminar and maximize the event to get to know them personally. There are exclusive mentoring sessions with them but you would have to attend another separate seminar or a special event out of town, for which you will have to shell out money for.

I was thankful for the many mentors I’ve met and learned from in books and seminars, but I was still very hungry for more. I yearned to learn the nuts and bolts of starting a business. However, none in my family has a business background. I didn’t know where to start.

Around 5 years ago, I met one of my mentors, a young 23-year old woman who introduced me to the opportunity of a lifetime. At that time I was overworked, stressed, and looking for a way out of the situation. My friend, turned mentor introduced me to a group of young entrepreneurs in XTRM 1-11…I had a gut feeling that something rewarding and exciting is about to happen. At that time, I had no idea how to build a successful business. I was a shy and timid IT programmer stucked in front of the computer. I had no idea whether I can actually talk to people face to face. Meet strangers. Study and learn sales and marketing. Learn to lead a team to victory. And more. One thing I know, I could not have done it without my mentors.

Meet my mentor, Ms Ivy Dela Cruz-Sepe and her husband Mr Sheldon Sepe. Yes, they are younger than me. This husband and wife team are instrumental in my journey to financial freedom. Even though I was already working for 9 years as an IT consultant, they had one thing I didn’t have at that time. They had TIME. I was financially ok, but that had a price tag to pay. I had to work 16 hours a day, almost 7 days a week. I had to come to the office even on weekends. As a consultatnt, I got paid very well. I am grateful for that. But sometimes, there’s more to life than just earning money. You long to have some time off where you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. You also long to GROW more personally, not just become a dispensible cog in a money-making machine called work. I don’t know if it’s quarter life crisis, but I was constantly asking myself if this is all there is to life. I wanted out. I wanted to explore. That’s what I did, and the rest as they say is history.

Learn to become a LEADER.

I remember the feeling when I was still an employee. Yes, I had a manager, but we all know how different a manager is from a mentor.  Perhaps the closest thing I’ve experienced in the corporate world was having a counselor. But I think counselors were meant for a different reason. They were there to counsel us from our depression, work problems, and ultimately convince us not to resign from our jobs. 🙂 A mentor is different. He may actually convince you to leave your job if it was meant it will make you grow.

Leaders are not afraid to go against the grain sometimes. They walk the talk. They let their actions do the talking. They realize that they cannot expect people to do things they are not willing to do themselves. Leaders set the vision of what is possible for the people they lead. I have seen this same trait in the likes of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerburg. They see things other people cannot see. They have the bravado to turn down a $1 Billion offer for something BIGGER than them, a vision of what’s possible.

One thing I realized early on in my early attempts to entrepreneurship was that business is a TEAM SPORT. You need other people to make it happen. Trying to do it all alone is going be very hard and counter productive. If you need the support and assistance of people, then you will need to learn to work in a team…and LEAD theam. The best thing that ever happened to me was become part of XTRM 1-11, an organization of young entrepreneurs, who get trained to become LEADERS. Since September 2010, this organization has created hundreds of millionaires around the world. I’m very fortunate to have had a chance to get trained and mentored through this amazing organization and learn to LEAD.

Learn from an EXPERT.

If you want to learn how to do something, you better learn from someone who has been there and have done what you intend to do. My mentor says to always remember that whenever you buy into someone else’s opinion, you are also buying into their lifestyle. It means that in life everyone will always have their own opinion, regardless if it’s something positive or negative. It doesn’t matter if they have experienced it themselves or not. Before accepting any of their opinions, it’s best to think about whether the lifestyle of the person you are speaking with has the lifetyle that you want or not. In the same way when you are about to take and want to pass the board exam, you’d better ask tips from someone who passed, not someone who failed, or worse from someone who has not even taken the exam.

The great thing about having a mentor is that they have been there. They know how it feels. They experienced a lot of mistakes, mistakes that you can avoid if you choose to listen to them. Having a mentor will allow you to get to your goals faster and more efficiently.

I remember when I had my first car, I was very excited to put the decal in front of the windshield.  I was too shy to ask the people around me. I tried to do it all myself. I watched youtube videos, read a lot of articles on how to do it…and one Saturday afternoon I finally decided to put it on. After 4 gruelling hours, it’s finally done! I was about to pack up when I saw the decal another time and noticed the small letters were missing! Arrgghh.. In my frustration I crumpled the decal and threw it in the trash can. The next day one of my teammates also wanted to put a decal on his own car. However, he was humble enough to ask help from one of our mentors, someone who had already put decals on almost all the cars in our team. I was there just observing how they are going to do it. Much to my amazement, in just 5 minutes our mentor has managed to put the decal on the car without any sweat at all! That’s when I realized, something so complicated for you to do may be very easy to do for someone who knows what he’s doing. 🙂

Learn to get FEEDBACK.

One of the things that prevents some people from succeeding is in not having someone who gives them feedback. It takes courage to accept a constructive feedback. We all know that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. There’s value in having people give you compliments and letting you know how you did a good job, and more. However, I believe there’s also value in having people around you have the guts to tell you when you’ve made a mistake. It takes courage to give feedback constructively. It also requires a certain degree of humility to listen to feedback. More maturity may also be needed in order for you to muster enough courage to accept it and take action. You have to be open for feedback. Sometimes, people don’t give you feedback because you haven’t given them permission to do so yet. Perhaps, you do not allow yourself to become vulnerable. Your ego is still in the way. You feel you’re listening but really you are not. Having mentors around you who know that your GROWTH is more important than you feeling good is one of the best blessings you can ever have. Nobody is perfect. But perfection is not the goal, growth is.

I’m very fortunate to have met a lot of mentors in my life. But one group I consider my family is my co-mentors in XTRM 1-11. Here’s our picture together. We all are part of a bigger whole. One person can influence so many, but a group of mentors who are willing to listen and become LEADERS and EXPERTS, courageous enough to accept and give FEEDBACKS surely is going to elevate the lives of many many people around the world.

Your mentor can come from reading books, listening to their seminars, and more…but my favorite is having a mentor who you can talk to face to face, one you can open up to when you’re confused or frustrated, someone who has the courage and heart to point to your mistakes and suggest ways on how you can improve. I have a lot of mentors in business, but I also have mentors in other aspects of my life. I have spiritual mentors, mentors in building a family, and many more. I wish for you that you find that mentor in your life as well. Cheers to a happy and fulfilled life!

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