When there are 100 voices trying to influence, persuade or normalize a well-trod path, where is the voice that calls you to walk your own path? Mentors help us swim upstream. The more unique the path we start carving out for ourselves, the harder it can be to find the right voices to spur us on.
Tomorrow I will catch a flight and check into a hotel/resort to spend 2 days with one of my best friends and mentors. We will plan, dream, scheme and spur each other on. We are bit like Pinky and the Brain. This girl is a game changer, ruckus maker, disrupter of the average, visioneering, make-it-happen, conquer the world, passionate about people, force to be reckoned with. After 12 years, I am significantly better because she is in my life.
Oprah credits Maya Angelou as a mentor that provided the guiding direction in her life. Oprah met Maya early in her career and remained close to her until Maya’s death at 86 years old. Oprah referred to Maya as “one of the greatest influences in my life.” “She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life,” Winfrey said. “Mentors are important and I don’t think anybody makes it in the world without some form of mentorship,” she added.
3 Qualities of a Money Mentor
1. Support your destination and vision
Do you want to take a year off, retire early, create flexible work that allows for more travel, or live debt free? What is your destination? You mentor must support that destination. Even if it isn’t the path for them, they should fully believe it’s the right destination for you. They need to see this vision for your life. They should be excited about the idea and possibility. If it’s not a well-worn path, they still need to believe that you can do it. They see the benefit, the potential, and the possibility.
The less walked a path, the harder it is to find the right mentor. But the right mentor has total buy in. As you paint out the details of your destination, your mentor can clearly see it in their mind’s eye.
2. Understand the path
Do they understand how you can get from point A to point B? Do you agree with their assessment? Maybe the path could work, but it’s not one you want to take. If you have a desire to live debt free, but their best plan is to keep leveraging and extending your credit. That won’t be a great fit for you. They need to understand your vision. They need to have an understanding of the path that will lead you were you want to go. You don’t have to agree on 100%, but their approach to money fundamentals should be common ground.
There is a path between poverty and lower middle class. There is a path between high consumer debt and positive net worth. There is a path between average middle class life and financial freedom. Does this money mentor understand the path? Can they provide clear, actionable advice on how you can get there?
3. Challenge and Encourage
I love what Oprah said about Maya; “It is not what she has done or written or spoken, it’s how she lived her life. She moved through the world with unshakable calm, confidence and a fierce grace.”
You need someone who will challenge you. And encourage. Both are so critical. Sometimes our ideas and methods need to be challenged. We need to be pushed. It’s the reason teams have coaches. Although an athlete has an incredible drive and skill, they still need to be challenged. In their conditioning, form and methods. The right coach can bring out the very best in the athlete.
But we also need encouragement. When we are tired. When we doubt. When we lose our own vision. When we think this next step is the right one, but we are just a little scared. We need to be cheered on.
I’ve lost my vision before. I’ve been tired. I’ve felt crushed by the pain of life. My friend/mentor stood in the gap. She was able to speak words of life and encouragement into my situation. When I felt stuck, and wanted to give up. The right mentor will see the best in you, even when you can’t see it.
Find your tribe
In Their Up is My Down, I wrote about the importance of a tribe of people cheering you on. Instead of swimming upstream, the momentum of the right group that has a shared vision, can change the tide.
A mentor is like a friend giving you directions to the restaurant over a cell phone. They know right where you are, and where you are trying to get. “3 blocks up then take a left.” They can speak into your specific situation.
A mentor is the friend at the bottom of the rock climbing wall. Slightly removed from the wall, they have a bigger perspective and can see the hand hold 3 feet up and to the left. You aren’t sure you can stretch, but from where they are standing, they know you can make it. Challenge and Encourage.
Finding a mentor who supports your direction, understands the path and will consistently cheer you on and challenge you is a tall order. Start with the low hanging fruit. Blogs, books or podcasts that can spur you on. Then look for friends, family or acquaintances who have these three qualities. Look for people who naturally and consistently have mentored others. Some people are too consumed by their own life to make mental space for others lives. That is never a great fit.
When you find the right mentor, it’s like magic.
I’m so excited for this weekend retreat. These times are often the catalyst, like fuel being poured on a fire. They sharpen my vision which provides the long burning motivation to make things happen.
This late Spring/early Summer, I will be putting together a video series that will explain a few of the pieces of my money mentoring program so that you can DIY it with a friend, spouse, or anyone who is excited to take on that role. If you want more information as the videos are released, be sure to sign up for my emails.
If you love the idea but have struggled to find that right fit, I have spots available in my mentoring program. Just fill out the form on the mentoring page and I would love to chat with you to see if we could be a good fit. Mentoring others to help create more financial freedom is just about my favorite thing to do!
Do you have a mentor/been a mentor?
What ways has it helped or not worked out?
Any other qualities you would recommend?