You Haven’t Found Your Protégé Yet?

““Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.”” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I understand how hard it is to find the right person. Someone as good as or better than you. Someone who can replace you someday. (See Message #107.)

But if you don’’t find him, you will never be able to move to the next stage. You will be forever stuck battling the problems you battle now. You will struggle endlessly to make things better, easier, and more productive, but success will come slowly.

If you don’’t find and begin training your protégé now, you won’’t be able to take it easier in five or 10 years. You won’t be able to take the time you want to brush up on your Spanish, learn how to dance, or do that extra traveling you’’ve been dreaming about.

Let’s review. There are three critical choices in life: what to do, where to do it, and with whom to do it. (I think the first time we talked about this was in Message #134.) The third major decision you must make (with whom) refers not only to your personal partner but also to your key business partners. And among your business partners, there is nobody more important to achieving your dreams than your protégé.

Remember, you must find someone great – someone smart – who can learn what you know and discover secrets on his own. Your protégé should be a doer too– someone who can outwork two normal people, who will be able to do what you do and one day go beyond that. And, finally, the person you are looking for should be likeable and trustworthy.

That’’s a tall order, but don’’t settle for anything else.

So let’’s get going. Starting today. Take out a sheet of paper and write up a description of the specific qualities and characteristics you are looking for. Be as detailed as you can. Work until you are confident you have what you need.

Then do something – one thing – to get the ball rolling again. Make a phone call. Say something to a colleague. Place an ad. Talk to a recruiter.

Do this even if you can’’t afford to hire someone right away. If you can find the right person and tell him what your goal is, you will create a lifelong friend. (Who wouldn’’t like to be told that he is wonderful?) As soon as your business gets going, you’’ll know who to call.

If you have a viable business but are not sure you’’re ready to hire the perfect protégé you have found, especially if you are not sure exactly what he can do for you, go ahead and hire him anyway. In less time than you can believe, he’’ll be busily working 60 hours a week –and you’’ll be glad you went ahead and hired him.

So, no excuses. Write that list. Make that phone call.

P.S. If you are fortunate enough to have your protégé already working for you, write/phone/e-mail him telling him how much he means to you and asking him what you can do to make his working life better.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]