Every week I hear from personal trainers looking for career advice. “What is the most important thing for me to do if I want to become the best trainer possible?” they ask.
Without hesitation, I always reply, “Get a mentor.”
Having a coach or a mentor has always led to the biggest breakthroughs in my business.
When picking our mentors, we would be wise to heed the advice of Epictetus who said, “Imagine for yourself a character, a model personality, whose example you determine to follow, in private as well as in public.” This is surely the reason so many of us gravitated to Michael Masterson’s Early to Rise.
In the cases of my early mentors, the relationship was simply through books or newsletters.
This is good news for our younger readers who may be in college or working their first job without a lot of money to join a Mastermind group or to hire a one-on-one mentor. There is still a lot you can learn from a mentor-at-a-distance, as I did through Masterson’s articles in my early years of reading Early to Rise back in 2003.
Another one of my early mentors was a gentleman named Bob Serling. I was able to work directly with new coaches and masters and have direct contact through phone calls, emails, and meetings.
I’ve never met Bob, so I haven’t been able to convey my personal gratitude, but someday I’ll let him know how much help he has given me. Reading his book felt like I was having a mentor guide me through a new industry, not unlike a young carpenter apprentices with a time-tested master of the trade.
You can also choose to observe a mentor at work, and simply learn by example. Perhaps there is an expert in your industry who you’d like to emulate. My best advice would be to sign-up for their newsletters, buy their products, attend their seminars, and read their books. As you do so, don’t just study the material, but also take note as to how it is delivered, how the expert makes his customers feel, and how the follow-up communication is presented.
As another great philosopher, Yogi Berra, once said, “You can observe a lot by just watching.”
Later, as my income increased with the help of my early mentors, I was able to work directly with new coaches and masters and have direct contact through phone calls, emails, and meetings. I was heavily involved with these types of mentoring arrangements in 2007 through 2009, and the investments I made in coaching have opened up a whole new world of opportunity for me.
Today, I’m surrounded by business partners, friends and mentors who I’ve simply met over the years while attending seminars, doing deals, and even by attracting them into my life. That seems to be the evolution of the mentor relationship.
You start with mentorship-at-a-distance, you move to one-on-one formal mentorship, often by investing in it, and then you grow powerful, personal connections with mentors as you get to know more and more people who come to know you through your accomplishments.
Finally, you become a mentor to others. In the past few years I’ve began working with young personal trainers as they start their fitness businesses and I work with fitness experts who desire to sell their information products through websites. One thing I can tell you is that as the teacher, you continue to learn as much as the student.
Of course, I still invest in personal mentors, most recently with Dan Sullivan and his Strategic Coach program. His teachings have had a big impact on me in the last year, and I highly recommend his books and audio programs. He takes one big idea and puts them into short messages you can cover in an hour.
I’m also lucky enough to have Michael Masterson personally reviewing my work everyday and offering invaluable feedback.
While not everyone who reads ETR can have a mentor like Michael Masterson guiding you personally, we can all still find incredible mentors in our industries and in our communities. They are out there, and looking to help.
When looking for your mentor, first identify what you want to achieve in your business and your life.
Look for a respected person in your community or industry who shares the same values as you.
And finally, connect with as many of these potential mentors as you can, get to know them, and don’t be afraid to ask them for assistance.
As someone who is now stepping into the role of mentor to some young friends in the fitness industry, I can assure you, your mentor will be happy to help.
[Ed. Note. Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise and the author of Financial Independence Monthly and Turbulence Training. Of all of his products, Virtual Mastermind is his favorite. Virtual Mastermind provides 97% of the benefits of an in-person Mastermind for a fraction of the cost. Included in this program is the Monthly Video Group Coaching, The ONE page Mastermind Newsletter, an "All Access Pass" to the Virtual Mastermind Community, and Virtual Video Hot Seats. Admission to this exclusive group is only open for a short time, so don't miss your opportunity and join now.]
The One Person You Need in Your Life,