Finding Mentors: Do you want to feel better or get better?

Type 1: The cheerleader / comforter

When you talk about life being hard, this person tells you how successful you already are. Some days when you are really down on yourself you might need this person, but don’t get it twisted when you look back they never bring you new ways of thinking, their intent is to help you feel better. The things you’ll hear from a cheerleader will make you feel good but might also make you overconfident.

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Type 2: The listener

Like the cheerleader, they want you to feel better and while they might not go with “you are crushing it” they listen a lot, they nod heads and maybe offer some advice but the advice is going to be couched in a soft delivery vs a “get your head out of your ass” approach. Keep in mind this person will make you feel great after a session. They might spend real time listening to you, but they likely haven’t contemplated that maybe you suck, and that is why you are in the position you are.

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Type 3: The relationship tester

People who have advice hate giving it and spending time with people who don’t take it, so this advisor will give you a bit of their time as a test. They don’t take your calls same day, ever. It’s likely a week or more. This person is likely a deep thinker and when you bring them issues they will spend time thinking about helping you get out of that rut, that is a GREAT thing. They will give advice from a distance, but aren’t likely to dig in too deep (at least not at first).

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Type 4: The trainer

A trainer shows up every day you show up, they are there with you during every rep, but they never lift your weights for you. They will spot you at best. They are here to kick your ass a bit, they can be a cheerleader some days and they can be a drill sergeant others. A great trainer will find a time when you are slacking and say “look if you don’t want to put in the work, don’t waste my time.” And they mean it.

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  • “No one in your company understands where you are taking it, want me to go ask the first 15 people I see in your office today?”
  • “Send me your financial statements monthly so I can stay in rhythm with your business which means when you call me for help I’ll be in flow”
  • “I’ll manage your offsites this year (he did for 7 years) and be provocative with you/your leaders…”
  • “leader ABC over division 123 is sharp, are you incentivizing them appropriately, lets go over that next week ok?”
  • “When are you visiting that M&A Firm? Me: in 6 days, Him: OK I’ll take a red eye to be there by your side during those talks. Heck lets meet for breakfast across from their offices and gameplan before, I’ll just stay at the airport hotel, shower, gameplan and get back on the 1st flight out.”
  • “If you talk to me about something on glassdoor one more time! That site is an anonymous platform, it’s the bathroom wall at the truck stop and you can’t shake what anonymous people are writing about you, come on.”
  • “I see how you are talking about XYZ online, I don’t think that is productive to your goals.”

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Wil Reynolds

Wil Reynolds

Serial Underdog @seerinteractive doing SEO, Marketing, & Stuff, I am whatever you say I am.