I believe that when you’re trying to reach a goal, listening to the right mentors can make a huge difference. When I was in the military, I constantly listened to the stories of people who had more experience than me. Even when those stories didn’t seem relevant to anything I was going through at the time, I’d often find that I’d be able to apply pieces of what I’d learned later on. After all, there’s no substitute for experience, but listening to the people who already have it is a pretty good alternative.
One of my mentors, Orrin Woodward, used to tell me that it’s important for people to read, listen, and associate. We need to learn from our mentors, take it all in, and apply it to their lives. Because when we do this, we’re building an inventory of knowledge, which gives us something to draw on when things get tough. And Orrin didn’t just suggest I start reading–he set an example. Every time I see him, he makes new recommendations. And I’ve done everything I can to read the books he suggests. Sometimes I even read them more than once, knowing that I’ll learn more the second time around.
Reading books by leaders in your field is also important to your success. And when I say “reading”, I don’t necessarily mean that you have to pick up a book. You can also listen to audiobooks. In fact, that’s my preferred method of reading; whether I’m in my truck or my office, I’m constantly listening to something. Even when I’m working on something else, the CDs are still on in the background, and my mind is still absorbing plenty of new information. More than once, I’ve heard one of those great ideas come out of my mouth and I’ve found myself wondering, “where did that come from?”
Taking in this kind of advice can set you apart from the crowd when it comes to building your business. For example, a few years ago, I was mentoring a friend who had been experiencing some amazing success. I told him he should start reading. He resisted, forgetting that business is competitive.
Unfortunately, his competition was reading. And my friend started losing business to that other company. Why? Because reading not only gave the other business leader an edge, it also gave him access to the experience of other successful business owners. That mistake ended up setting my friend back by three or four years.
Remember a couple of posts ago, when I mentioned that if you start making the right choices on a regular basis, it’ll be easier to do it when things get hard? Reading and spending time with the right mentors is just a couple of those “right things” that will help you on your way.