In different ways and at different times, coaches, mentors and idols all serve a purpose in a man’s life. My wrestling coach, Roger Durant, was an amazing man, who fulfilled all three roles when I was in high school. As a coach he taught me how to wrestle, how to lose weight, how to workout, and how to be a team player in an individual sport. He was definitely a mentor to me as I navigated the turbulent years of high school. I idolized this man who had style, grace, dignity, and a quiet confidence that commanded respect. Plus, he drove a Porsche, which to a 16-year old man was the height of success.
Throughout a man’s life he needs coaches, mentors and idols.
There’s just too much to do in this world, and the quicker you can learn to master things, the more you can experience. Coaches are crucial because they can see your blind spots, and help you move around them.
I’ve continued to have coaches in my life; sometimes they are formalized compensated arrangements, and sometimes they are just friends of mine who have greater experience than I have. Oftentimes when it’s a friend, the relationship goes back and forth. Last month I was working with my friend Kelly on a book. I was sharing with her how she can take various articles she’s written over the past five years for magazines, and combine them into an e-book she could then market for additional income.
A couple of days later we were chatting about the work I was doing, where I was cross-promoting my podcast marketing columns for Podertainment.com onto my Speaking and Mentoring website. She, of course, reminded me that I could and should compile them into an e-book and market them. I’m embarrassed to say that the idea had not occurred to me until she mentioned it, but that’s the nature of blind-spots. Information that we can see clearly in others, we cannot see in ourselves until someone points it out.
I had brunch with my friend, Dan this weekend. He’s a fellow business coach and he was bemoaning his difficulty writing a book. He was overthinking it, and overwhelmed. We chatted for 30 minutes and I wrote out a quick outline for him of what I heard him share. He took one look at it, and saw that this was the perfect outline for his book.
It didn’t take much more than having a sounding board and a pot of coffee to create his breakthrough on a project that he’s been stalled on for years.
The value of coaches, and mentors and idols is that they help us on our path to success. Because I was removed from what my friend was saying, I was able to synthesize it and form it into an outline precisely because I don’t know the material as well as he does. He saw too many connections and couldn’t get a handle on the material, just like me with my podcasting marketing columns.
As men, it’s often tempting to think we can go it alone, that we’ve got this; but there’s a flaw in that thinking. We can only see things from our own perspective, and we can’t see our own blind spots—that’s why we need to work with a coach, a mentor, or even just a friend to bounce ideas off. Going it alone, we run the risk of not seeing opportunities that are so obvious to someone else.
A slight, one degree shift of perspective is all it took to push my friend into writing her book, to help me see where I can repackage work I’ve already done, and to break Dan free from his overwhelm and ultimately, into overdrive on his book.
What’s the one degree of shift you need? And where can you find it?
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