Mentors, Coaches, Trusted Advisors
Being self-aware is having a conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires. While many of us fancy ourselves self-aware, the truth is that most of us are not. And no matter how many exercises, therapist appointments, and meditation sessions we partake in, we probably will never be as self-aware as we would like. This is because we are inexorably blinded by our ego and internal monologue.
We see only what we want to see.
The surest way to consistently and effectively neuter the destructive power of your ego is to have a mentor, coach, or community of trusted advisors who can provide you honest, non-biased feedback and guidance. These people are the real mirrors of your behavior, the ones giving you the truth that a standard mirror cannot. For example, how many times have you looked in the mirror and thought, I don’t look good, I look fat, my hair is not right. Newsflash—this has nothing to do with reality. It has everything to do with your internal monologue. When and if you quiz a good friend, life partner, or parent about your observation, inevitably they respond, “What are you talking about, you look great” or “Change your pants, red is not your color.” Something along those lines. The same applies to finding the right job or managing a conflict with your coworker or spouse. The point is a trusted advisor provides invaluable dialogue and grounded feedback that helps calm your inner monologue, enhances your understanding of the truth of who you are or how you are acting, and gives you the tools to manifest your best self.
To honestly see ourselves we must be able to look through the eyes of advisors and trust what they see.
While many of us have experienced the benefits of a positive individual in our lives, more often than not it is by accident. You ended up in a high school class with a teacher who cared a little more. Or you had an aunt who really took the time to nurture your love of music. Or you had a great boss who helped you grow as a manager. Without a doubt these types of relationships help you flourish, but I believe we need to flip the engagement of mentors from passive to active. The counsel, feedback, and support of the “right” person is so crucial to your success that leaving it to chance is unwise.
Your full potential will not be realized without the assistance of a series of mentors, coaches, and trusted advisors. You must actively pursue and nurture these relationships.
While approaching potential mentors may sound nerve-wracking, I promise you’ll be gratified by how people respond to your requests. First off, most people are flattered when someone asks for their counsel because inherently it means they have achieved a level of status. Secondly, whether they realize it or not, you are giving them the greatest gift imaginable. There is no better path to fulfillment than being able to help another. So if they respond positively, the mentor will probably end up getting more out of the relationship than the mentee, and if they respond negatively, they are probably not at the level of consciousness you want in a mentor. There is no harm in asking and I guarantee more often than not you will be happy with the response.
The realization of your best self and your best work will involve dozens of people. Of those individuals that nurture your talents, provide opportunities, or just give you sage advice, there will be a handful that unselfishly invest their time and energy in you. Find these people and hold on to them with all your might. They will be invaluable to your process—and more importantly, to your life. The right mentor will help you do what you can, be who you are, and open you to the endless possibilities that lie within. And if you’re lucky, one day you can do the same for another.