I was listening to Dan Miller’s 48 days podcast a few weeks ago and something he said really stuck out to me:
“Everyone needs a mentor, an encourager, and a follower.”
It’s an interesting thought. I need someone to mentor me, to encourage me in the hard times, and to follow me as I go.
Unfortunately, it’s unrealistic and dumb to think that’s going to happen. The problem with the mentor-encourager-follower mindset is that it assumes 3 things that are rarely true.
There is Someone to Mentor You
You can’t assume there is someone who has walked the path you’re walking. The world is changing and the way we do things is changing with it. There is a lot of wisdom to be gained from those who have gone before us, but there are also many new things (YouTube, iPads, smart phones) that are totally new.
Like I said, you can learn a lot from those who came before you. They can teach you how to handle deeper ideas that stay true no matter the changes in the world. But no one is doing what you are doing exactly.
So how do you get a mentor if they aren’t out there? You mentor yourself. Read books on subjects relating to where you want to go. Build a mindset that lets you take risks and fail. Download podcasts from others in your field and use their free information to help you along the way.
This not only gives you all the wisdom your searching for, but gives you a personal mentor that can lead you every step of the way.
Someone Likes What You’re Doing
For you to have an encourager, you need someone to like what you’re doing; that’s a lot harder to find than it sounds.
Have you ever been really excited for something and no one else was? That’s pretty much what life is like. You are more excited about what’s going on in your life than anyone else.
Yeah, your friends should be encouraging you (assuming you’re doing something good), but to assume that it’s someone’s job to continually encourage you in your endeavors is unrealistic.
And if you do anything outside of the norm (like getting out of debt) you will find more opposition than encouragement.
How do you get over this? Mostly you don’t.
However, like finding a mentor, you can find a lot of encouragement in the wisdom of books and podcasts. It’s also a good idea to cut out discouraging negative people from your life. (Sometimes this is easier than others)
You’re Worth Mimicking
Having followers assumes you are doing something that’s worth following. That’s not true for everyone.
Think about all the bad choices you have made. Think also about how badly those choices hurt you and those around you. Are you really at a place where you’re ready to lead someone else? Some of you are, but if you are making that choice you need to really think through the consequences for those who follow you. They will suffer when you suffer, hurt when you hurt, and end up in a similar place to you.
Mentoring is good, but only when the mentor has something worthy to teach.
What do you do now?
- You take the time to learn from those who came before you while allowing their lessons to be molded by the world you live in today.
- You accept encouragement from your friends and family but never depend on it, or you will give up when it leaves.
- You only lead people when you have somewhere to take them. Otherwise, you’re just stroking your ego and messing up their lives.
When do you know you’re ready to lead someone? When do you know you’re ready to be led?