Get a Coach / Mentor / Personal Yoda
In a previous blog post we told you that you have all the answers; that all you need to do is ask yourself the right questions. As Yoda would put it, “Right answers you have; right questions you have not.”
It doesn’t matter how good you are, without a coach or mentor you can only go so far in this world. Everyone needs motivation and a little constructive criticism – some honest feedback from a few thousand feet up.
In business, it’s especially important to have someone you trust you can go to for advice. It can be hard to see what’s really happening, even if it’s happening right in front of you.
Especially when you’re busy; you have customers, staff, a space (or spaces) to maintain, bills to pay, orders to take, an inventory to keep your eye on and a hundred other little details to take care of every single day. It’s easy to miss all the little things that could add up to big problems if they’re not caught early enough. It’s easy to get off track and lose sight of your goals.
When things are good it’s even harder to be objective –- why fix it if it ain’t broke, right? But things can always be better. And if things take a turn for the worse, how can you even begin to fix the problem if you have no idea where things went wrong?
The answer is coaching and finding yourself a mentor — someone who can look at your business objectively and point out the things you’ve missed, remind you of the things you’ve forgotten, help you stay on track and focused on long-term goals instead of just getting through the next day.
Just remember this simple formula:
So where do you find a coach/mentor?
A good place to start is to find someone who has what you want and who is already a success -– preferably in a similar industry, but it’s not completely essential; at the core, all business have some fundamentals in common.
But don’t just look at financial success and net worth. Ask yourself, do they have the kind lifestyle that you want, or are they working 16 hours a day, seven days a week? Do they have a family life that matches up to what you want from your own?
Another good rule of thumb is to find someone who at least 15 years older, with both wisdom and experience. You know that they didn’t just strike it lucky, or were maybe in the right place at the right time –- with 15 years or more, they’ve been through changes in technology, ups and downs in the economy, good times and bad. They can help you do the same, ride the waves, while providing you with some long-term perspective. As Yoda would say, “Too close to the project, you are.” Step back, you must.
Another great medium for coaching is an advisory board or advisory peer group. Below are a few resources for finding a forum or group to join: