“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
A wise woman told me several years ago that if I wanted to get ahead I should find someone who had already achieved what I was working towards and learn from their journey. It was good advice that has helped me in achieving many of my personal and career goals and it’s a tip that I’ve shared many times with others. Sometimes the idea of asking for advice or mentorship from someone who is more successful than we are can be intimidating. We’re so conscious of the ways in which we’re lacking that we feel as if we’re imposing on the person we’re seeking advice from. The reality though, is that having the opportunity to offer advice and coaching is often just as rewarding to the person doing the mentoring as it is to the person being mentored. There’s a good chance that the person giving the advice was once helped in a similar way and having the chance to share knowledge and offer insights to someone else is a great way to pay forward the benefits they received. When it comes to your finances; learning from people who have knowledge that you don’t can be a great way to build wealth and boost your level of financial education.
Choose Your Financial Mentor Carefully
Money is a fact of life; we have to handle it on a daily basis whether we enjoy it or not but people are driven by different factors to build wealth. When it comes to choosing a financial mentor make sure you choose someone who enjoys money and is building wealth for reasons that motivate you too. If you see building wealth as a great strategy for being able to impact others, find a mentor who is committed to philanthropy. If you love the lifestyle and the “stuff” that having money allows then choose a mentor who is living the lifestyle that you aspire to. Whether you choose a mentor from your local community or choose to follow in the footsteps of an author or speaker you admire, as long as their vision and their personality resonates with you it will be a great learning experience.
Make Your Financial Goals SMART
As with any goal it’s important to ensure that the financial goals you set for yourself are clearly defined, realistic and achieveable within a given timeframe. Your mentor’s experiences will open your eyes to what it’s possible to achieve as well as identify what your motivator is for achieving that goal. Once you have clearly defined your goals, you can develop a plan to get you from where you are to where you want to go. Your mentor’s success will make your own goals seem even more possible and their experiences will help you to anticipate obstacles and to develop strategies to overcome them, further increasing your chances of success.
Related article: Setting SMART Financial Goals
Expand Your Horizons
One advantage of working with a financial mentor is that they open your eyes to a new reality and make new things seem possible. I heard a speaker say during a seminar that we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with and I think there's a lot of truth in that. Often the people we spend the most time with are people from similar backgrounds, with similar education who are in similar financial situations. It’s comfortable to be around people we feel equal to but if we aspire to be somewhere else then we need to expand our horizons. Spending time with new people in new places can be uncomfortable at first but it’s surprising how quickly we adjust. Pay attention to how your mentor spends their time, the people they associate with, the organizations they’re involved with and the sources they use to boost their financial education. By following in their footsteps, you’re creating habits that will form a solid foundation for your future success.
Don’t be Afraid to Move On
It’s said that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime and when you know which it is, you know what to do. This is just as true for mentorships as it is for any other relationship. Your journey to financial success may involve learning from more than one teacher so being open to the idea that it may be time to find a new mentor makes it easier to move on when the time is right. As the Buddhist proverb says: “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
Whether your financial mentor is a friend, co-worker, financial advisor or another successful individual, there is much value to be found in aligning yourself with someone who has already achieved what you are working towards. Why not take some time this week to look over your financial goals and to think about who you know (or who you could get to know) who might be open to giving you advice or providing an example that would help you in your journey. If you have a mentor story you’d like to share, let me know, I’d love to hear it.