Categories
Networking

3 Important Qualities of a Great Mentor (Do You Have These?)

lightbulbMy eyes were dragging like dull daggers along the wall as I pulled myself from the comfort of my bed to begin my morning routine.

Within thirty minutes I had eaten my high protein breakfast, slammed a cup of coffee, showered and sharpened my image for the day.

I loaded up Chrome and started watching videos on my favorite YouTube channel “BigThink.” Robert Kaplan of Harvard was speaking about coaching, mentoring, and how the senior business executives’ weakness is that they coach others; yet do not have a coach of their own.

He suggested that every person should have a coach big or small.

I thought to myself that everyone should have a mentor in the same way. If I look back at my own personal growth, the times my growth has accelerated the most, were when I had some type of mentor.

However, not every mentor is the same. Some mentors had a minimal impact on me and some could be considered the Michael Angelo of my life, shaping me into the Statue of David I am today (just a little less naked).

You NEED to be able to tell GREAT MENTORS from poor ones. Here are three of the BEST qualities I have observed in my great mentors:

A Great Mentor Thinks Differently Than You

I am not made like any of those I have seen. I venture to believe that I am not made like any of those who are in existence. If I am not better, at least I am different. -Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The world is huge with over 7 billion people on the planet, most of who have no idea you even exist other than your abstract contribution to your countries population.

Every single person on the planet is unique, but there are objective observations used to categorize people.

For instance there are four different types of communicators (kinesthetic, auditory, visual, and digital) and three types of thought processes (physical, emotional, and mental). Everyone is strongest in one type of communication (I’m dominant in kinesthetic) and dominant in one sequential thought process (naturally I am emotional than physical than mental). Everyone varies how he or she distributes his or her strengths, and no one is 100% one type or sequence.

What kind of communicator are you? What is your sequential thought process?

There is never a “right” way to do something only an arguably appropriate means to a task. Everyone has a different way of approaching problems or communicating them.

The trick to discovering a great mentor is finding one that fits you; someone who has a different thought process but has similar values. The different thought process allows you to contrast your own decision-making or problem-solving ability, while the common ground of values acts as a bridge to connect their perspective to yours.

In simple terms, when you talk to your mentor you should feel that they “get it.”

This will allow you to feel comfortable talking to them and understand their perspective even when you disagree with what they are saying.

A great mentor thinks differently than you so you may leverage their experiences and strengths to improve the things you could not do on your own, independently.

A Great Mentor Never Gives You The Answer

Live to learn and you will really learn to live.
– John C. Maxwell

Two years ago I found myself on a spiritual mission. I was looking for reasons to justify my beliefs in spirituality and in metaphysics, and mainly focused on Eastern Philosophies of oneness and enlightenment. Statements like “we are all connected” or “everything happens for a reason” or “happiness exists only in the present moment” all made so much sense.

I tried repeatedly to fit the literal meaning of these spiritual principles into my life. They were all close but none seemed to fit into my life without disturbing the balance of everything else. It was like trying to put on a pair of shoes you want to buy that doesn’t quite fit, and then trying to run in them.

Consulting my mentors at the time, I came with a bucket load of questions. Over and over I tried to pull the answers out of them but never received a straight answer. I felt like they were avoiding the questions.

Finally after much internal debate I understood the lesson I needed to learn: It was me that had to decide what beliefs serve me and what beliefs don’t – nobody else can decide for me. There is a point when your parents stop helping you find a pair of shoes that fit. You reach a point of maturity that allows you to find and buy your own shoes, independent of your parents. If you buy a pair that hurts, you learn and next time you fit them properly.

If my mentors had just told me the answers, they would be giving me their subjective opinion and I would never develop an opinion of my own. Developing my own opinion has contributed immensely to my confidence.

I truly feel I have a wealth of wisdom and knowledge to offer other people. The things I am strongest in aren’t the morals I’ve been told, but rather the lessons I have learned through my own experiences.

A great mentor never gives you the answer because you get so much more confidence and knowledge by learning it for yourself, BUT, a mentor is invaluable in guiding you towards that answer. A great mentor will cut years off your learning curve.

A Great Mentor Should Challenge Your Beliefs

What we believe is heavily influenced by what we think others believe.
– Thomas Gilovich

A confrontation between two people signifies two separate belief systems not meshing appropriately. Each person feels they have the right perspective and wishes to argue their validity through either a verbal or physical means.

The problem with most people is that they are afraid of being wrong or have an irrational fear of physical confrontation. The real reason is they cannot accept the idea that someone else may have a better perspective or a better understanding then they themselves. People therefore behave in a way that usually avoids conflict and confrontation not because of effectiveness with others but the FEAR of another’s opinion.

Always remember: Champions embrace conflict.

My great mentors have never shied away from challenging my opinion or beliefs. They don’t let me get away with inconsistencies in my arguments or incongruence in my behavior. It takes a more experienced person who is solid in their belief system to not back down when there is a discrepancy between your argument and theirs.

Your beliefs are always in an ever-changing state. You never stop growing as a person just the same as you never stop employing and releasing beliefs. If your mentor does not challenge your beliefs than you will never be able to employee new ones that may serve you better than your current.

Because of the high degree of vulnerability around beliefs your mentor has to have the BALLS to look you in the eyes and ask you WHY you believe what you believe. The only way you can argue your beliefs is by thinking for yourself. People who cannot articulate the reasoning behind their beliefs tend to be more prone to insecurities and ineffectiveness with other people in their life.

By challenging your beliefs your mentor forces you to develop means to communicate what you believe and why. A great mentor will always question your beliefs because like a muscle, your confidence, communication, and effectiveness with others can be exercised and improved.

Conclusion

Your mentor will always be someone who you can connect with. They “get it.”

Great mentors understand how their belief system grew from the lessons they learned from the things they experienced. By NOT giving you the answer, they offer you the same opportunity. The lessons you learn from those experiences should be challenged objectively, to display how appropriate your beliefs are.

That’s why mentors that “get it” AND think differently are such a powerful influence in your life.

  • Look for someone that you connect with that has achieved a higher level of success in an important area of your life.
  • Look for someone who “get’s it,” understands your values, and can relate.
  • Look for someone that is not scared to ask the big questions that need discussing; someone with balls.
  • Look for someone who has or is being successfully mentored. This means that they will know the value of mentorship.

True education does not consist merely in the acquiring of a few facts of science, history literature, or art, but in the development of character. – David O. McKay

Where do you go from here?

Do you currently have a mentor? If you do, what are the biggest things you’ve learned from them so far? Tell me in the comment section below!

If you don’t, consider applying to our mentorship program. Mentors cut YEARS off your learning curve, help you expand your perspective and take away the frustration of having to learn on your own.

Having a mentor is a NO-BRAINER. The best way to get someone to mentor you is to ask. Although applications to our program are closing soon, if you’re really serious about taking your life to the next level, let us know!

social skills coaching

Categories
Lifestyle Mental Performance Networking

What Matters Most.

It’s almost Christmas and I have to admit, I’ve been too busy to actually notice. I’ve been busy at work, home and everywhere in between. It feels a little weird and I can’t seem to get into the season’s spirit. Instead of being joyful, the season feels more stressful. I remember when I finally got around Christmas shopping with my brother. The mall is a disaster this time of year. The roads are crammed and feel like it’s rush hour; finding parking is almost impossible and when you get to the mall, you’re not even sure exactly what you’re looking for. Instead of feeling jolly and festive, it feels more of a chore. I feel like I got caught up with preparing for the season that I actually forgot to enjoy it myself.

christmas stress

I grew up in a small farm where we didn’t have much. We didn’t have fancy christmas trees decorated with bright lights. The closest thing we had to a mall was the wet market downtown. We didn’t have the latest and most advanced gadgets but I remember celebrating the holidays back there; everybody was warm and a lot more enjoyable to be around. Because we didn’t have the luxury of many external things, we relied more on what actually mattered. I remember the best holidays that I’ve had were abundant with laughters and memories with my family and closest friends. The joy that I felt was more sincere and fulfilling. The value exchange was more internal and long lasting compared to any material things.

Be self aware and put things into perspective. This season is a time to get together and enjoy the company of people that mean a lot to you. Christmas doesn’t have to be worldly-minded and commercialized. Be imaginative. Think about alternatives and a different approach for celebrating the holidays. At the end of the day, it’s not about how much money you can spend on expensive things; it’s about how personal and creative you can be. Be assertive at knowing other’s perception of value then find out what the most meaningful gift would be. Most of us have too many “things” in our lives anyway. Having more is not necessarily a bad thing but how do you make the season a lot more memorable? The best gifts I’ve received are usually things not bought from a store. I personally would rather get something they made with a heart felt hand written letter. Your words, thoughts and effort could mean so much more than anything they offer in the mall.

Despite the business of the season, slow down and take a deep breath. Remember what this time of the year really means. Don’t lose sight of what actually matters. You can always earn the money back but time wasted is gone for good. Put more effort into creating memories and building relationships, not in just buying the newest gadgets. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters more than what money could buy.

Categories
Lifestyle Networking

To Approach, or Not To Approach?

school hallwayIt’s the middle of the day. The hallways in your school are scattered with people here and there, all inside their heads thinking about their own little worlds. Knowing about Social Dynamics makes you a bit more aware than the average University Student. You wonder what it would be like to spark up a conversation with any one of these people.

But your fear binds you to your own mind. You’re stuck thinking about the potential outcomes of your conversation starters. You imagine the worst possible outcomes; public humiliation, rejection, even the coldest of shoulders.

Then she walks by you. Your mind races, your heart pounds, the nervous emotion trickles through your veins.

“Hey Man, Real Quick..”

Lately I’ve been thinking about the importance of the present moment. I find that I exist inside of my head throughout the day; walking through my day in a consistent daze. This daze keeps me away from experiencing the joys of life. The present moment is to be embraced and cherished, not pondered aimlessly upon. Thinking about past issues or future obstacles takes away from the beauty of the present moment.

the present momentIf you think about it, in reality, the present moment is the only moment to ever exist. The future is a mental projection of what the present moments to come will look like, and the past is a memory of previous present moments.

In this physical reality, the present moment is the only moment that ever exists.

The present moment is full of opportunity. Too many opportunities, sometimes, for a student of Social Dynamics. My biggest issue is that there are times when I don’t know if I should be just enjoying my day leisurely, or approaching people and starting conversations like a madman.

I came up with a system for myself, and I believe that it will be of help to anyone studying Social Dynamics, or interested in trying the skill set. It’s good to have the conversation skills to talk to anybody; after all, we live in a world of 7 billion people. That means there are 7 billion options. How do you know which options are the right options for you?

Define Your Priorities

Social Dynamics means more than just approaching people. Social Dynamics means that you have a healthy handle on your relationships. In this article I’m going to talk about the relationship with yourself, and the relationship with others.

Defining your priorities when it comes to the kinds of people you want to be meeting is extremely important. Perhaps you’re a DJ, and you want more people to come to your shows. 18 – 30 is your target market, anybody in that demographic is a candidate for conversation. Let’s say you’re interesting in expanding your dating options, and you’re a 25 year old male. Attractive women between 20 – 30 are the kind people that you want to be meeting.meeting new people

Once you’ve decided what kinds of people it is that you want to be meeting, bring your priorities back to your relationship with others. Ask yourself: Will approaching this person affect my relationship with others in any way, shape or form? If you have a girlfriend and you’re approaching girls, your priorities aren’t in order and you’re hurting other relationships. Bad Social Dynamics. Good Social Dynamics is being considerate to your current relationships, taking into account their emotional well being before expanding your network.

How Much Do You Value Yourself?

You need to decide the types of people that you want to be talking to, make sure that by approaching them you’re not hurting any of your current relationships, than make the next step. The next step is focusing on the relationship with yourself. One of the most important elements of the relationship with yourself is integrity; and following through with what your mind knows to be right.

Once you understand what kinds of people you want to be talking to, and you know that you won’t harm anyone by approaching; you must put yourself on the line and open up with your intent. The best part about Social Dynamics is that you’re not always going to make that mind blowing connection, or have every single person have a conversation with you. Social Dynamics is powerful because you have the power to leave every person that you interact with, with a positive emotion.

positive emotions

Once you approach someone, they must decide whether or not talking to you hurts their relationship with others, or the relationship with themselves. Perhaps they’re late for a meeting, or they have a relationship with someone else in their life that would be a conflict of interest with a relationship with you. If not, badabing badaboom! You’ve successfully created a real connection, because you put yourself on the line and gave yourself the opportunity to succeed.

The Importance of Process

I’ve outlined a three step process for myself to understand who I should be building a connection with. I know that I want to be meeting people to talk about Social Dynamics, I want to be meeting down to earth artists, and I want to network with writers.

I tend to have a mission when I’m out; I’m walking fast to get to a meeting, to the gym, to a friends house. I have to ask myself if by building a connection with this stranger, if I’ll be taking away from my other friend’s time.

Once I know this is the type of person that I want to be talking to, and that I have the spare time to do so, I have to approach. The most important relationship that you develop in this life is the relationship with yourself; meaning that you maintain your personal integrity. It’s good to know what to do, but the difference between success and failure is doing what you know is right; even when it’s uncomfortable.

1. Figure out what types of people you want to be meeting.
2. When you see one of these kinds of people, ask yourself if you’ll be hurting a current relationship by building this new connection.
3. Once you know that this is the kind of person, and that you’ve got the time and room for a new connection, start the conversation.

Categories
Networking

Guest Post: 6 Proven Fundamentals of Networking

This Guest Post is written by Jordan from Prodigy Photography. Through his involvement in Social Dynamics, Jordan learned how to network like a champion, which has allowed him to start a business taking photos at all the big name events in the Calgary area. He also does photography for peoples personal use.

When I first started going out 2 years ago I was fresh, like a grade 9 graduate on his first day of high school fresh. Everything was new and exciting. I was just getting into the community and was beginning to push every belief and value I held for myself. I tested the strains of what it meant to live life in a social aspect.
For the first few months I went to the club and paid for everything: cover, drinks, coat check… etc. Without knowing anyone to assist you or make things more enjoyable in the club things can be expensive or create more issues for you then you would expect. My hope with this article is to share with you the key fundamentals I learned along the way, on how you can create options with a strong network base.

The first big lesson I learned is to take the initiative to get to know someone. This means becoming friends with anyone and everyone. You don’t do this because you want something from them, rather you would just like to meet someone new. This applies to everyone; the bartender, the busser, bouncers at the bar or whomever you would like to become friends with. Think about the manager of a night club for a second: He is spending 6 hours a day minimum at the club when it’s open, he is taking care of 400-900 people at any given time while managing the staff and taking care of anyone else in the club that may be special (big name people). So why would they talk to you? You have to make the initial effort to introduce yourself and get to know them around their schedule. Just walking up to a person and saying hello is not an effort, which leads me to my next lesson: Persistence and Patience.

Being persistent and patient to getting to know someone is crucial (ESPECIALLY when it comes to networking with bar staff), if you only allow one interaction to get to know someone he or she will very likely forget who you are. You have to be willing to take the time and effort to create and maintain a connection; otherwise you will have a person who remembered your name at one point, but not someone who continues to remember you night after night.

When talking to someone use his or her name! I cannot stress this enough. Don’t use “hey man, dude, bro, buddy”. These are all superficial and are not genuine! People will see through it. When I am talking to whoever it may be, I address them by their first name or the name that they wish to be called by. It is a sign of respect that all employers look highly upon. By saying someone’s name it shows that you care enough about them to remember their name and you pay attention to the details. Everyone’s favorite topic is themselves, and this is sub-communicated through saying their name. When someone says your name, you feel more important. It’s a source of validation. So use this concept and apply it to your networking. When you say their name, they feel more important; you are the source of this “validation”, so they want to be around you more. Easy peezy.

You also need to understand where power lies and respect what it offers. The head bouncer is the start of every nightclub and could easily be the end if you do not give respect where it is due, and it also means that they can stop the line and let you though without paying cover. The first thing to look for is anyone with an earpiece in at the club (Bouncers, Managers and even head bartenders sometimes have these in to communicate effectively). These are the people you want to get to know over anyone else in the club. These people are the ones who can make or break you in the industry! Now keep in mind: bussers, bartenders and tub girls are still very high value and worth getting to know. They can take your coat, give you drinks, and over all just be sick friends and an in to a club through a guest list.

A relationship between 2 people is a continuous exchange of value, without consciously thinking about value we act on this every day. Whether we talk on the phone or grab a coffee, there is always an exchange of value that occurs. If a buddy is always asking for money or trying to get something from you every time you see each other you will quickly disconnect ties with him or her. When you feel “used” there is no reason to keep wasting your time. Just like your friends this still applies to the club. If you cannot offer value they will not keep hooking you up with VIP access, drinks, etc. Offering these people value can be the starting of a friendship, and hooking up your friends is very easy to do.

One thing that really helped me with networking is offering a coffee to the bouncers or staff at the club. This is $2.00 value you provide that is not seen merely as $2.00 but the fact that you thought about them when you were going to get coffee. Now don’t call and ask if they want a coffee; that beats the purpose of offering value (it needs to be unconditional). Have no other reason that you are doing it other than being a nice person. People will notice this! A coffee can get you no line no cover without even asking for it. This is the exchange of value that I explained earlier.

Now here is a funny little tidbit: by creating a guest list with a bartender it gives them value. This is because clubs have a point system where the bartenders (and tub girls) need to meet a quota for bringing people into the club. By being the nice person you have been raised to be, you can offer value by just getting a guest list through a bartender’s name. This exchange of value is crucial to maintaining a relationship between the two of you.

Opportunities will only rise if you give yourself the chance to receive them. There will be numerous times just like in all areas of life that you will have opportunities thrown in your face. If you do not take the opportunity to get that once in a lifetime chance it will pass you by. Most of these chances you have to create for yourself. This chance may rise when you least expect it, so you have to be willing to take any opportunity even if it is not the best time for you.

Let me give you an example: When I first started going out to Roadhouse I was paying cover ($6.00) a night, four nights a week. This expense occurred for the first 2 months of going out. The reason why I was paying cover is because I was not paying any attention to the people that ran the place. I started talking to the head bouncer and had a few shots with him on my own expense, from those shots alone he offered to give me no line no cover whenever I needed it. From the one interaction of buying a bouncer I just saved about $100 per month because of the value I provided by just being a nice person. From there I would always shake his hand, along with every other bouncer at Roadhouse. As I kept going to the club I started talking the bartenders and getting to know them better, just through talking with them I started having my coat checked for free and could get free pop. This was a point where things started going really well (no line, no cover, my coat is being checked for free and I’m no longer drinking water at the club – Total cost = $0.00). Now I have a strong network at Roadhouse, where I am constantly bringing people into the club so the value that I am giving back to them is equal value.

Fast-forward one year…

I performed this exact method with another club: 355 Mansion. And now I can show up there anytime as well.

One night I was talking with the manager and he mentioned that he was looking to bring more people to the club, and could hook guys up with guest bartending spots if they could bring people. I knew my friend Brian wanted to get into nightclub bartending. I talked with the manager to get the introduction for Brian; 2 weeks later he had his chance to be a guest bartender at Mansion. That one chance was the opportunity that allowed him to work at a nightclub fulltime. (Where he is now a manager at the club. Because I was the original source of this contact, the manager will never forget the enormous value I brought him, through Brian.)

About a week later I decided to purchase a camera. I wanted to get into photography as a hobby, to take my lifestyle to the next level. I hear from Brian that the manager is looking for a photographer at the club and suggests me. That same relationship I worked for Brian is now helping me get a job as a photographer in the club. Brian and I are best friends; we don’t expect value from each other it just happens because we want to rather than having to.

I head out on a Tuesday night for Mansion’s ladies night and start shooting for the first time at a club. The DJ at Mansion grabs my information – he is looking for a photographer.

That same week I head to Roadhouse on Thursday night for their ladies night. While there I let the manager know that I am now into photography, and that I am shooting for 355 Mansion. I am now the main photographer for Roadhouse!

Saturday comes along; I am snowboarding with my dad at Lake Louise. It is plus 15 outside and I’m going down the hill at 65-70km/h with nothing but the sun in the sky. I get a phone call mid-run from the DJ asking if I can come down to 355 Mansion to do a photo shoot that night. They are willing to pay. Realizing that this can become a big opportunity I tell him I’ll be down there. He was so impressed with the photos that he wanted to continue working with me.

I am now working with a Club and Promotions company in Calgary.

Next Friday rolls around and I’m going to the Old Spaghetti Factory to shoot my friends comedy show. I get a call just as I get there from the DJ again; he is calling to ask if I can come and shoot the Tiesto Concert for him; the guy they had lost his ID. I tell him without even thinking I will be there in 20 minutes. I meet him in 10 at the concert office box and pick up the media pass for Tiesto. As I’m shooting I meet other photographers and end up meeting the photographer for Klub OMFG. This is one of the most connected photographers in Canada working with numerous brands such as Jagermeister, Union to name a few. After talking with him after the event I am now working with him as an assistant photographer. This hobby that was supposed to be just that, a hobby, has turned into shooting for the largest names in the world: Union, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren , Markus Schulz, Wippenberg, and all the big name clubs in Calgary (The Roadhouse, 355 Mansion, BMO Centre, Republik).

I would not be where I am today without the network base I have created with the knowledge I have. All of this has become possible because I took the initiative to start getting to know everybody at the club, instead of only viewing people as whether or not I wanted something from them. I met everybody possible, knowing that each person you meet has a unique opportunity they can present you. I made sure I brought value to each and every person first, and didn’t expect anything in return. I took the INITIATIVE to create these options for myself, and continued to be patient and persistent, so every person I met would remember me and we could begin to form a friendship. The craziest part of this all is that the majority of these opportunities I am now being presented with were formed from the initial network connections I made a few years ago, when I started to learn about networking.

If you want to start learning how to network, I would recommend start with getting guest lists at the club. Start with tub girls, and move your way up to bartenders, then bouncers and ultimately managers. MEET EVERYBODY. Think about how you can take these connections you are making and take them to the next level. See if you can meet with a bouncer for a drink outside the club. See if there is something you can do for them. Implement the concepts I talked about in this article and you will begin to reap the benefits of having a strong network base.

Good luck and if you have any questions, feel free to hit me up!

Jordan.

Photo taken by:
www.facebook.com/iamthephoto
www.facebook.com/Inkpromotions

Jordan runs a photography company called “Prodigy Photography”. He is available for all types of photography work. Contact him and mention you read this article, and you will receive 25% off any photography project! (Cam: Looking for some cool profile pictures? Hit Jordan up, he will make you look dope and it will be CHEAP.)