Mentors are important in our life.
They provide us with guidance and give us advice – thus nudging us back on the right track.
The can give us the blueprint for our journey before we get started.
A mentor can not walk in our shoes, but he or she can take away some doubt or concern that may prevent us from moving forward.
A mentor can dissipate the head wind by reconfirming the goal that we are going after is the right one.
In an ideal situation he can even motivate us to go after a bigger vision.
A good mentor leads by example and we can watch him doing the right thing.
Our duties as mentee is to show that we are taking his advice and putting it in motion.
Here are my examples of who constitutes a good mentor.
#1 – Donald Trump
I am very likely not the only one who would like to have him as a mentor.
He inspires me because he asks the big questions.
He built a multi-billion dollar empire not by aiming for a small, attainable goal.
You aim for the big goal and then think about ways to get there.
In his book “Think Big and Kick Ass”, there is a question of how much money the reader would like to earn in 5 years. and the biggest option if $5 Mio.
He went on saying that he would have crossed out the $5 Mio and written in $50 Billion.
At first I was a bit skeptical, because we are always taught “it’s not about the money”. But thinking of the $50 billion vs. $5 Mio, I started asking if a goal I set myself would really be as big as I could go.
Do you want to grow your audience or start a movement?
Do you want to just have financial independence and coast – or do you want to build something bigger than you can imagine and earn more than in your wildest dreams?
The second part I learnt from “Think Big and Kick Ass” is that you have to absolutely love what you do.
Yes, meet a clear demand with what you are doing, but don’t do something that you couldn’t love.
When I now think about working on a specific project, I ask myself – if I did project X, could I absolutely love what I do?
So I start imagining myself doing the project, having fun with it, investing extra energy because I want to push it forward so badly.
And herein lies an apparent paradox:
Why would you want to think big – why would you want enormous amounts of money – if you already love what you are doing?
If you love what you are doing, wouldn’t you do it without working towards a big goal? Wouldn’t you do it for free?
I think you probably want both. The money as result, the work as a way to get there. Money also as recognizing you have created valuable work.
Like when a runner tries to break a world record, he will still absolutely love the whole running game. But he absolutely wants to break that record.
So if you are only concerned about running and don’t care about reaching records, you would not grow.
So I’d like Trump’s take on it. I would ask Donald Trump this question:
If you absolutely love what you do, how do you prevent yourself from asking too little money for it?
#2 – Gary Vaynerchuk.
Gary Vaynerchuk leads the marketing agency VaynerMedia in New York City.
He is a born entrepreneur. As a little kid, he did not run a lemonade stand, he supervised 8 of them in the neighborhood. Later on, he made thousands of dollars by trading baseball cards, the joined his family;s wine business and grew it – through the launch of WineLibraryTV on YouTube – from $3 Mio to $60 Mio.
I like his optimism and his total devotion to his business. He is a true example of someone who loves his work the way Trump suggested in #1 above.
On the AskGaryVee show, he advocates to hustle above almost all. In “Crush It“, he recounts how he drove 3 hours forth and back through the snowy December one year to make sure one of his customers still got her wine order.
So my question for Gary Vaynerchuk would be this:
If you always hustle, where do you take the time to reflect about the direction you are going? Or is the hustle itself your source of reflection and inspiration?
#3 – Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Arnold Schwarzenegger always talks about the Mind-Muscle Connection. You can get better results by focusing on the muscle you are training; most people in the gym don’t and use momentum to push weights, with very little actual load on each muscle. As a result, they don’t grow as fast as they could.
Arnold is also a great businessman. Did the mindset he adopted from bodybuilding also help him in his entrepreneurial endeavors?
This is the question I would ask him.
Is there an equivalent to the body-mind connection in business? For example, a connection between goals and execution. Do you permanently evaluate whether the action you took today matches your goals?
#4 – Pat Flynn.
Pat Flynn has started his website Smart Passive Income back in 2008 and now regularly earns over $100K per month, mostly from affiliate links for software that allows you to build an online business.
It is said that those who provided the shovels during the big Gold Rush were the ones who really became rich.
Pat has probably provided the same tools for people starting their online business right when demand started to kick in.
I would like to know what resources have helped him plan his days in a stress-free manner. To me, there are two elements. (a) Relentless focus. (b) Always doing the most efficient step.
So my question would be:
How did you make sure you always focused on the essentials and execute them in the most efficient way possible?
#5 – MJ DeMarco
In his book “The Millionaire Fastlane”, MJ DeMarco has stressed out one important trait for a successful business – to make a product that people need.
Hard work, passion, knowledge, all important – but above all, it’s making a product that people need.
DeMarco tells the story how he always wanted to drive a Lamborghini. After he build up his online business where he would generate leads for limousine companies, he sold his company – and could buy the Lamborghini.
And he could do so much more without the need for earning money through a job.
And is that it? Do you eventually sell your company? Or would you rather continue growing it?
When you reached the point where you could sell the company and get the amount of money you envisioned when you started, were you able to let it go? And if so, would you just coast or start building the next company?
#6 – Stephen King
I like his ability to tell a riveting story. It really moves me, and I’d like to know where he gets his inspiration.
What inspires you to write stories? Places? A certain event in history? Talking to other people? Or does one book inspire the next one, in other words – does the inspiration come from within?
#7 – Mark Cuban
I am impressed that Mark Cuban fulfilled his dream of owning the Dallas Mavericks Sports Franchise.
He said to follow your effort, not your passion – and that always stuck in my mind:
1. When you work hard at something you become good at it.
2. When you become good at doing something, you will enjoy it more.
3. When you enjoy doing something, there is a very good chance you will become passionate or more passionate about it
4. When you are good at something, passionate and work even harder to excel and be the best at it, good things happen.
Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort. It will lead you to your passions and to success, however you define it.
But then, once you love it – how do you stop doing it if it’s not profitable anymore?
When do you kill a business? Do you have a specific ratio between revenue and investment that needs to be met? Or do you always “stick it out”?
#8 – Richard Branson
I am impressed that he bought an airline and got it to work.
But more than that, I was always intrigued that he had his own island.
I found that surprising because he struck me as an extrovert who loves having people (more precisely, girls…) around.
So why would he want to live in a remote place?
What is the most important aspect you learnt from living on a remote island?
#9 – Guillermo del Toro
Del Toro is a legendary film maker – for example, Mimic, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Hobbit and others
He was initially tasked with doing the H.P. Lovecraft adaptation of “Mountains of Madness”. They made the drafts, spent several millions of dollar to build models for several monsters – and then the movie studios shelved the concepts because they decided they couldn’t finance it.
Then… he still went on and made Pacific Rim and others.
So my question here is:
How do you overcome disappointments of getting your work taken away after you worked so hard at it? Do you somehow keep those original ideas in your mind?
#10 – Gene Roddenberry
He was the creator of Star Trek.
He conceived a whole universe and vision for the future of humankind. How did that vision develop?
What gave you the original idea to construct Star Trek? Did you know you wanted to make it about the future of humanity, or did you start out with the desire of making a space movie and then the rest came slowly about?
If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.
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