The conventional wisdom is that if you want to get to your goals faster, find a mentor: someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve and can guide you through the process. In fact, Tony Robbins has this famous advice that the key to success is “modelling successful people”.
I believe in mentorship. Heck, I’ve repeatedly volunteered my time as a business mentor to entrepreneurial programs. That said, there are a few challenges I’ve found with mentorship. Depending on their level of success, some mentors are so far ahead in the journey almost so removed from tactical operations that they would struggle to relate to your early dilemmas. As such their advice might not be tailored to your challenges. It’s also rare to find mentors that have a clear step by step mentoring system that they use to guide mentees from start to end. My final concern is that most mentors do not always walk to the talk.
Mentors are after all human and like everyone else have their flaws. We make the mistake of putting them on a pedestal and cannot tell when a mentorship relationship is not bringing you any tangible benefits. It’s crucial to choose your mentors wisely and ensure they are matched to your need. They don’t have to be that far ahead in the journey, as long as they know a bit more than you do.
I would like to explore another alternative. This has been very effective in enlisting accountability and finding people to help me achieve my goals. Surround yourself what I call “progressive peers”. There are people on the same level or slightly ahead of you who are actively striving to better themselves and achieve their goals. They are great learners, open-minded, have great integrity, share their knowledge freely and have a very healthy sense of self and no stupid egos. They are willing to share their mistakes and lessons. They are willing to collaborate or open doors for you. These people can relate to your struggle and provide timely and relevant recommendations based on their experiences.
I’m not proposing that you have one or the other. You can have mentors and progressive peers in your life. It comes down on who’s best to help you depending on your challenge and stage in life.