My Dad – who like all Dad’s did his best to teach me life lessons in the precious few years he had my attention – once told me “No man is an island unto himself”. I didn’t have a clue what he meant.
But later in life I remembered his words when I was struggling through a financial issue without seeking advice or support. What he meant was – nobody operates in life by themselves as though they were an island. That’s comforting – but who do you need to surround yourself with became the instant question.
Here’s what I have concluded after over 25 years in business and 56 years on the planet: we need three types of people in our lives. Encouragers. Advisors. And Coaches or Mentors.
Encouragers are those people that no matter how low you are or how brilliant you are – no matter whether you believe in yourself or not at a given moment, and no matter whether you are just at an idea stage or nearing the goal line –
an Encourager is giving you positive feedback, telling you they believe in you and giving you, well, encouragement!
They are a cheerleader of sorts. They may not really understand all the rules of the game you are in or ever really care about whether you are winning or losing – they just believe in you and they believe you can be great. Your best friend or spouse is usually in this category. Keep in mind though that you can’t have enough Encouragers.
Advisors are a bit different of course. No pompoms, no “push ’em back, push ’em back, waaaayy back”. But Advisors totally understand the game. They willingly, unemotionally and specifically lay out the facts and information that you need to make good decisions. They may even tell you what decisions are most prudent. Your accountant or banker or therapist might be in this category.
You need only a few but they need to be experts and the best you can find.
Finally there are Coaches and Mentors. Of course I say this with bias – but you REALLY need a Coach or at least a Mentor to ever really accomplish your potential in business or life. These are people that are with you shoulder-to-shoulder through the process of whatever it is you are trying to achieve. They have experience and wisdom in the domain you are seeking their support and dispense that wisdom in the real-time context of what you are going through. A good Coach deals with “now and forward” – not history and will believe you through obstacles and challenges because he or she knows what the finish line looks like.
A great Coach has been there – or seen many people that have been there – and injects confidence, tenacity and focus into your pursuits.
So who are your Encouragers, Advisors and Coaches? Do they know the role you depend upon them for? If not, you should tell them. And if you are missing one of these key personas in your life right now – do something about it today.
By the way – I’m available.