In 2013 I grew more than the previous 23 years of my life. It all started with listening, reading and believing.
Back in January of this year I began a new journey. I decided I was going to live my life based on the principles I was reading about in the Bible and other notable text.
This passage from Acts grounded me as I devoured book after book (18 in all) this year.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. – Acts 5:27-28
I learned I must always obey God over everything else I’m learning.
What I Learned About Choosing Mentors
Now I’m not perfect, only Jesus was, but working tirelessly toward living out what I was learning helped me in ways I never thought imaginable.
I chose my literature very carefully by following the recommendations of Michael Hyatt, Michael Stelzner, Marcus Sheridan, Dane Maxwell, Timothy Ferriss, Will Smith and of course JC himself.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. – Proverbs 11:14
I know I need to seek several different mentors, but is having a ton of mentors really beneficial? What should I be looking for? This passage from Matthew helped me narrow my search.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” – Matthew 7:15-20
What did this teach me? I need to trust, watch for signs and question everything. Here is where I made my big mistake… I wasn’t accepting any new mentors.
I wasn’t being realistic. I wasn’t taking steps. I was way too busy counting my chickens before they hatched.
It all taught me a lesson about being humble. Its true that you are who you say you are, and that who you say you are is what you will become. But what happens when you’ve weeded out everyone except for the world’s best and brightest as people you will listen and look up to? You stand still.
The key is to be imaginative, but grounded to reality. You learn quicker from growing with your mentors than you do growing along a path few are traveling. My path was foggy, and I was dodging people and making impatient and extreme moves.
Where do we see this evident in the Bible? Jesus’ final instruction to us before He returned to His place in heaven with the Father.
“Go and do what I did. Go and find some people who are a little farther behind you on the path, and help them take their next steps, just as I did with my disciples!” – Matthew 28:19
What did this teach me? The road with fewer travelers is dark and quiet. Take steps with people rather than ahead of them.
My mindset was where I wanted it to be, but the problem was that it was too many steps ahead of where I actually was. I was living a lifestyle and a reality that wasn’t yet true. I was trying too hard. I wasn’t allowing God’s plan to guide my path for me.
The Most Important Lesson I Learned This Year
Having mentors you interact with on a daily basis is more important than having no mentors at all. Constantly living in the ‘big picture’ can hurt you in the long run.
I concentrated too much on seeking mentorship from persons’ several levels above where I was presently living. I needed to be concentrating on how I can accumulate more mentors I have constant interaction with.
Through all this I learned you have to get your foot in the door. Nothing else matters until you start. Don’t make the mistake of knowing it all, but never having the opportunity to apply it. Your five closest friends shape exactly the person you are. It’s insurmountably important you are conscious about the people, and living environment you choose to surround yourself with.
When you’re looking for mentors, start somewhere realistic. Start with mentors that will get you to your next step. People already living in your reality are the best mentors to seek.
There is a state of realism you have to overcome if you want to be successful. It starts by taking steps, not plane trips.
Talk to me about the mentors in your life. How have your mentors helped you grow this year?