Having the courage to take the leap and pursue your business idea doesn’t come easy. There were probably a whole gaggle of people that you bounced ideas off of, that listened as you pondered option A versus option B, and acted more or less as your therapist during the first few months (or years) of getting up and running. (Think of all the money you saved from those free sessions!)
Now that you’ve “started your start-up,” what do you do when you need advice?
Inevitably you’ve hit some rough patches throughout the process. And, truth be told, the life of the entrepreneur can be a lonely one. Entrepreneurs are constantly making mistakes in an effort to “fail fast,” and without a sounding board, you can really become your own worst enemy. Whether you suffer from analysis-paralysis or you tend to jump in too quickly, sometimes we all just really need a swift kick in the pants to remind us where we stand.
Seek out the Encouragers
In his book, ‘Rules of the Red Rubber Ball,’ Kevin Carroll talks about the importance of seeking out Encouragers. The ones who inspire you, motivate you, and most importantly, challenge you. He says “Sustaining your life’s work cannot be done alone.” Encouragers, as Carroll reminds us, “...help you evaluate options - and they challenge your assumptions.”
In an office of 1 (or 5, 10, 100) it can be tough to make sure you’re not drinking your own kool aid. Having someone willing to push back on you, give you advice, and question your logic, doesn’t come easily from a direct report. And let’s be honest, you need that push back in order to keep your edge.
Finding a mentor can be a daunting task, but they can also truly become your Secret Weapon
Think about the time you spent securing funding, revising your business plan, or developing your branding. Now, consider if you’d invested that time into finding the right mentors? You’d be flush with mentors. The first step is thinking through a few key questions to narrow down your list. Who do you look up to? Who has achieved what you want in life? Who you feel you can connect with on a business level, but also on a personal level?
For these reasons, having a mentor is invaluable. But keep in mind, you truly get out what you put in. As Carroll says, “You’ll likely find many along your journey, and together they will constitute a mosaic of mentors who will influence and direct you in untold ways.”
We’d love to hear from you, tell us, how’d you find your mentor?
--Dave at Greetly