We have to recognize that, at times, other people will be an impairment to our positive psyche. We yearn so much for their approval and want to be looked at as worthy in their eyes.
Whether they are stories we make up in our heads or actual feedback, we care what others think of us and we let it affect our mood and shape our reactions.
This is where having a core group of trusted peers and mentors becomes monumental. They become our sounding board for ideas, inspiration, and direction. This allows us to block out the other noise and focus on the opinions of those we trust, respect, and care about.
Progress can happen when we trust our judgement with the path we want to venture down but have trusted guides for when we happen to veer off it. When we stay focused on the steps ahead, the noise of the naysayers becomes muted.
The path forward becomes much clearer and quieter.
Advice can be helpful if we understand the background of the person giving it, how much they know about us, and their intent.
Those are some of the lines we should draw on how much impact that advice has on our decisions. We can use the advice to help form our decisions or ask more questions but don’t necessarily have to take it verbatim especially if we aren’t sure of the credibility of the source.
Having agency in seeking out our own answers to unfamiliar questions by doing our own research can give us confidence in the decisions that we make. We don’t always need to take advice from others and, in fact, it can be used to slow down our decision-making process altogether.
Sometimes using our ability to problem solve ends up being the best route we can take when we are making decisions.
We all are looking, at times, for a second opinion to confirm the decision we are making is the correct one. It’s hard to go with intuition exclusively on every decision and we’ve been told our entire lives to look for mentors and individuals that can help guide us to the next phase of our growth.
Mentors are vital. But there is a problem.
“Advice givers” are everywhere.
You must make sure you are seeking out the right ones.
I have started to think about this more recently because I’ve been getting out to the golf course with my son and having the opportunity to become a coach once again. I was a PGA Teaching Professional for many years and worked with golfers of all ages and skill levels. I had a certain style to me that was unique and I related to my students and was able to help them get better, not just physically but mentally. Although I left the golf industry all together several years ago, the coach in me and my knowledge of the game didn’t.
Maybe that is why it pains me when I overhear someone on the range driving giving advice to another person. I can tell very quickly by watching one swing whether they are a good enough player to even understand proper swing mechanics or sequence one needs in the golf swing. Also, the verbiage and amount of information is another tale altogether. Generally, the player they are “instructing” gets frustrated and is most likely going to have that poor thought in their head for a while leading to more harm than good.
This happens a lot in all areas of life, and we’ve all been there. We all want to seek out advice but figuring out on your own is far better than being led down the wrong path when the path is very unclear. When it comes to more difficult decisions you certainly need to have your intuition be a guide, but it’s also vital to have people that you trust and that have been down that road before share their insights to help you navigate a decision more clearly. And that is why mentorship is so important. Having a couple of mentors or coaches to lean on for critical advice can save a ton of time and money and get you in the right headspace.
That is why it’s important to choose advice wisely. But how do you do that?
I’ll share a couple of questions I like to ask myself prior to getting a mentor or seeking advice from someone I know.
Does the person giving the advice have the domain knowledge to be giving this advice?
In the time I have known them, have they been consistent in their approach and actions?
Are they available to be able to mentor me?
Do I trust them without any doubt?
Will they provide me honest constructive feedback or sugar-coat to avoid hurting feelings (look at #2 to help)
Do I walk away from conversations with them feeling confident and energized or confused and unsure?
These are some of the things I like to consider in the process.
As I said, I believe most of the decisions we make on a daily basis need no advice from anyone. We don’t have to post a question on Facebook or text, 10 friends, because the reality is that we are going to be biased and go with the decision in line with our thinking anyways. We’re human, It’s our nature.
But mentors should be pushing us to think differently and expose our “weak-minded” thoughts that plague us in decision making in order to help us grow stronger.
I believe everyone needs at least one mentor in their life at all times, sometimes more than one. I have a couple of people right now that are mentors to me and they been tremendous in their guidance. I’ve gotten lucky I guess but I’ve also used the questions above to vet them well prior to letting them into that deep relationship with me.
If you need any more guidance on this please reach out, but there are probably a few people you can already see as possible mentors in your life. Make sure they pass your sniff test, and after you’ve done a full vetting, remember to not overthink it and go with your gut if you feel they’d be a great person to lean on.
I was sitting on a weekly “Community Coffee” Zoom call that the Next Gen group puts together weekly led by Rachel Gross, the Next Gen Director of Community. It’s an open forum for members to show up and have a collective discussion about almost anything. As we were having a debate around what people are doing to grow themselves, both personally and professionally, it reminded me of just how powerful a community Next Gen is. Here I was, around a mix of people of all different backgrounds, ages, and experiences but with the same common vision in mind – to surround themselves with a support system of like-minded people that are enthusiastic and inspired to change the world for the better.
I’ve been fortunate in many areas of my life for the opportunities that have come my way both as lessons learned from tough times or luck that just happened to work out in my favor.
Fast-Forward 18-months and the connections and life-long friends I have made from that single encounter could not be put accurately into words or probably an equivalent dollar amount.
I was able to attend their Next Gen Summit event in June of 2019, their signature event for their group of entrepreneur members, which totals in the thousands.
I’ve met countless Podcast guests through there, mentors, friends, and even have had the chance to provide guidance to members in need.
One member, in particular, Rich Keller has focused my mind on understanding who I am and the mission I have in life and has helped me discover my One Word, Navigator, which has been a key to defining that purpose.
And Chau Mui, Founder of Ciaooo! Magazine has become a great friend where we can be a sounding board for one another with advice while always having the best intentions for the other in mind.
I have dozens of these examples from being a part of this group.
Throughout our lives, we come into new groups and leave old ones. We spend a little time with some and a whole bunch of time with others. We all have reasons for joining certain groups or being attracted to certain situations.
Mine was a community.
I haven’t had many great support systems in my life. Growing up as a middle child and having low self-esteem, I had a hard time fitting into a lot of groups and didn’t have a ton of friends growing up. As I got older and started to find my voice I found the best group of friends anyone could ever ask for. Guys that are still my friends 20 years later. But, as I started to venture into the entrepreneurial waters and tap into my mission in life, I was looking for a new support system, one that looked a lot different than any group I’d ever been a part of before. The Next Gen group appeared to be that fit I was looking for, even as an older Millenial like myself.
My expectations have been exceeded.
From their member-driven Facebook group, to live interviews with well-known Founders, to being one email or message away from making a warm connection to anyone, these folks have the goods.
Full Disclosure, this post was originally slated to be about great support systems, and maybe there was a flavor of that, but it’s also turned into a Next Gen Pep Rally of sorts, which I’d be leading the marching band in. The momentum behind this group, led by Founders Justin Lafazan and Dylan Gambardella, is unreal and I’m so thrilled to be a part of the next phase of Next Gen as we come out of these unprecedented times and into a “new start” filled with optimism, innovation, and gratitude; all key characteristics of the Next Gen group.
I’d encourage anyone looking for a new support system in their lives, has the drive to do great things, and has the “go-giver” mentality, to look towards Next Gen as a place for you.