Mentorship is about guidance.
Most entrepreneurial resources always have these guides and how-to articles on finding the right mentor for you so that you can reach your life and business goals sooner.
Studies have proven the multiple benefits of mentorship on how your brain works when trying to stay disciplined, how you take more risks and stay motivated, what your energy levels and focus are, and so much more.
And if you think about it, you can make a profile of such a person.
A mentor needs to be more expert than you on the aspect of life you’re trying to improve. He needs to be your trusted advisor, someone you look up to, but who also challenges you.
Here’s a sweet definition of mentorship:
‘Mentoring is a long term relationship where the focus is on supporting the growth and development of the mentee. The mentor is a source of wisdom, teaching and support, but not someone who observes and advises on specific actions or behavioral changes in daily work.’
Let’s be realistic, that mentor you can get wouldn’t be someone like Richard Branson, who’ll tell you how to build a successful brand, be a serial entrepreneur or make billions. Or Tim Ferris for that matter, who knows how to hack his body and mind in more ways than we ever thought possible.
That’s simply because people like that don’t have the time to deal with teaching individuals, but they are still sharing their journey to a point where we can replicate their actions from the past, skip their mistakes, and learn from their advice.
If it’s something short-term, task-driven and without forming an actual relationship but mostly being told what you struggle with and what to do, then that would be coaching. And there are quite many differences between a coach and a mentor.
The usual trajectory for finding mentors though, goes like this:
- Actively seek one by getting out there, connecting with people, showing you’re a good mentee;
- Excelling at your job and looking for more responsibilities (thus attracting those who want to give these to someone);
- Joining mastermind groups;
- Following someone you admire online, trying to provide value and form relationships over time, before you contact them personally;
- Asking and getting rejected many times;
- Going to every networking event in your area and being social and prepared;
- Finding and visiting entrepreneur hubs in your city (places where smart, strategic and purpose-driven successful or aspiring businessmen gather to meet, learn, do work, start projects, socialize, etc.);
- Constantly seeking guidance from anyone you meet, with the hope to form a lasting relationship and turn someone more experienced than you into a mentor.
Okay, so far so good.
That kind of communication and such business goals might be your thing. If they are, I’m excited for you.
There are literally millions of hustlers and already established entrepreneurs out there ready to give you advice and direction.
But I believe there’s another way mentorship can happen these days.
I know that, because that’s how it was in my life, and the overall effect of learning from other people’s experience, being inspired by them and taking action because of their advice, is the same.
The idea is simple. I’ve been following a number of people online over the last few years.
In the beginning, I read their stories, checked out their businesses, took notes during their podcasts, felt their personality through what they posted on social media, and admired them in a friendly way, without really believing I can live the lifestyle.
But, oh the lifestyle.
It was all about that, and still is. The business happened in order to provide freedom, or to complement the life they were already loving.
Not all of the people below can be called lifestyle designers, but they all have the elements I was seeking to have in my life, I just didn’t know it yet cause my environment was completely different.
Now, whatever new thing I do, goals I set, realization I come to, or vision I have for the future, is somehow related to something I’ve read in one of their posts over the years. That makes me smile. It shows me that even though these people are mostly Americans in their 30s, at a different stage in their life, and often making millions, it’s a mindset so many other individuals all over the world share.
When I first got to Thailand, which was my first time outside of Europe, my biggest travel moment, my ultimate getaway from my comfort zone, and so many other things, it felt not just right, but exactly like what I’ve imagined it. Because almost all the people I’ve been following and learning from online, ended up at that place when they earned their freedom for the very first time, even thought they didn’t have the money or authority yet.
All that, but experienced on another level, of course, as it was through my eyes this time.
So, the list of mentors I’ll now share, which I encourage you to steal (although their way of thinking doesn’t necessarily needs to resonate with you, of course), isn’t what you might be expecting.
I’m familiar with a ton of success stories on the Internet, all of which of cool, down to earth people who started from nothing. But I share these on the podcast every other episode, and I constantly mention them in my writing and link to their resources.
The people I’ll now point you to are something else.
I won’t be going into details about the life of each, but will mention some important facts. I believe you can choose the right role model for you.
The factor you should use when deciding how to find the type of mentor I’m talking about, is deciding what person is currently living a life you’ll want to replicate some elements of and also have a few years from now.
That’s the best criteria I think.
Let’s get to the point.
Names are in no particular order of importance.
The 5 Guys Whose Work and Life Helped Me Get to Where I Am Today
That’s Dan (and Ian) from TropicalMBA – a popular blog, podcast and community for location independent entrepreneurs.
He’s more business-oriented, but also left his corporate job long time ago, traveled a bit, then moved to Thailand to start even more businesses.
He’s a player when it comes to entrepreneurship, and has interesting chats or even shares his own musings on the podcast on anything from what city to relocate to, the harsh truths of working for yourself, how others won’t really understand what you’re doing, making good money and managing it even better, taking things further with a business, but also knowing when to quit and move onto something else, and so on.
You should check out this page with the top posts and episodes.
But here are some that can give you an idea of his way of thinking and personality:
- The 5 Types of Lifestyle Designers
- You Read the 4 Hour Work Week. You Failed. Here’s What You Can Do About It.
- A Note to My 18 Year Old Self – “College is a Waste of Time”
- You Are Where You Come From
- “100 True Customers” – A 1000 True Fans
When I say the guys (it’s guys only actually, that must say a lot about me!), in this list are basically mentoring me and I feel like I know them, it also means that on autopilot once or twice a week I head to their blogs to see if there’s a new post.
There always is (depending on their posting schedule, of course) and in each they mention what’s currently going on in their life.
So after reading a piece, I continue my day, and week, feeling good knowing what others are working on, and what I’m working on. Different, but motivational.
I’ve linked to posts by Tynan quite a lot. He’s a pretty unusual guy, and definitely one down to earth.
He’s doing what everyone will agree is called unconventional living.
Having lived in an RV, ditched his belongings and mostly lived off of a backpack, traveled more than what’s considered normal, bought an island with friends and is often spending time on it building stuff, has 3 places he can call home, and he might actually own property in each one day (Las Vegas, Tokyo and Budapest), and is tracking and internalizing any event in his life so that he can know what’s going on at any moment and make changes to let it head in the direction he wants to.
In this post I share his lessons when it comes to money. Pretty solid advice. He lives frugally, but enjoys every little thing he does, and loves everything about his daily life. We have a lot to learn from that attitude.
Here are some cool posts you can also check out on his blog:
- The 2017 Gear Post
- How to Be Frugal and Live a Good Life
- Analyzing Risk
- Getting Huge Chunks of Work Done
- Okay with Process, Okay with Outcome
When you listen to somebody’s podcast for years, know what they were working on back in the days and then see progress over the years, know exactly how much money they make (as they share their income reports), what their family and team are like and the relationship this person has with them, what their aspirations and doubts are, and more, you feel like you know then.
Especially the podcast thing. Hearing their voice, and them talking about serious stuff, makes all the difference.
You either know Pat Flynn from his blog SmartPassiveIncome, have seen me link to his work, or just heard about the name while reading another person’s blog. If you don’t, now’s the time to check him out.
He’s one of the friendliest personalities online, and has formed a special connection with his audience. You build trust by being authentic. But what’s even more important to him, is to serve first.
In fact, he now often wears a T-shirt with this as it has become the motto of his brand. He believes providing more value than expected has helped him reach the life and business he has today.
We can learn a lot from him not just on how to make money online and build and keep an audience, but on family values, consistency, and appreciation.
Here are some examples:
- Looking Ahead and Goals for 2017
- Meet The Flynn Family
- 5 SPI Readers Who Recently “Made The Leap” and How They Did It
- Thanks to You, a Lifelong Dream Came True
- 10 Reasons Podcasting is The #1 Content Platform
Now my relationship with this mentor is strictly business, so to say.
I had to include him as I do type the first letter of his main blog and immediately get to the new posts page, and check out the new piece.
I do this Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or follow up a day or two after each. These are the days when he publishes a super long-form, data-driven and practical article over at QuickSprout.com
I recently shared a lot about him in an episode of the LRS Podcast.
He is a marketing guru, and knows what he’s doing. You might not know him if that’s not your field, but chances are, when you want to learn something about content marketing, branding, advertising, SEO or else (some of the most crucial topics when it comes to online business), the first pages in the search results will be stuff written by him, his team, or a site he works with.
He’s the guy I trust, and when there’s a checklist on improving your rankings, for instance, with 20 items on it, I carefully go through each, take notes, go to the links he provides to free and paid tools and basically do what he says.
He’s my teacher and adviser, and reading his articles is enough to have that kind of mentorship. At least for me.
Here’s some practical advice:
- Why SEO Is Actually All About Content Marketing
- How I Generated $332,640 in 3 Months From Instagram
- 15 Habits of Website Visitors That Will Completely Change the Way You Write Website Content
Okay, you probably expected this, and even to see it on top of the list. But things have changed and by ‘mentor’ I mean something else other than just feeling a rush of adrenaline after reading a scandalous article of a man.
Before I’ve referred to Mark Manson as the guy whose articles I’m printing out and re-reading. That was true.
I’m reading his book now – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck– and always go back to his site to see what’s new.
I’ve gone through most of his past articles. Each has made me feel good and more motivated about something in life. And that’s what powerful content does to the mind.
So, yes, Mark has helped me in multiple ways. I feel like I know him (by reading somebody’s work you eventually get a sense of how their brain works). But he’s my guy for mentorship on topics such as relationship advice, self-esteem, meaning of life, and more.
I loved reading what he had to say about lifestyle design, business, travel, writing, hustling, etc. But that wasn’t the type of advice I was looking for.
Anyways, the directions my mind has taken right after reading a long post of his are incredible, and I will be forever grateful.
Stuff like expectations, doubts, wanting to have it all, living in an illusion – all these are barriers to seeing what life is all about. Mark is pretty good at putting everything on the table and saying all he has to say. I like the language he uses. But it’s not for everyone.
Now that he’s in a serious relationship, married actually, his relationship advice is completely different from when he was a pick-up artist back in the days.
I love that transformation. It helps me improve my thinking and approach in that exact area of life.
It’s also interesting to notice how his writing process and creative thinking have changed after publishing the best work in his life, or at least the book that got most attention of all (the one I mentioned above).
Here’s some controversial wisdom:
- The Feedback Loop from Hell
- 6 Toxic Relationship Habits Most People Think Are Normal
- 3 Important Life Skills Nobody Ever Taught You
- 9 Steps to Hating Yourself a Little Less
- Life is a Video Game: Here Are The Cheat Codes
Okay, so these are the mentors you can steal if you don’t have support or inspiration to do what you think you should be doing with the rest of your life.
Or if you need a push.
It’s all about self-discipline in the end of the day, of course.
You make yourself read these guys, internalize what you read, and then take action upon it.
Do it long enough though, and you’ll see yourself having their good habits and living a similar lifestyle some time from now :)
Share some other cool people you’ve been following. Would love to check their blogs out.