Jim Rohn is famous for having said, ‘you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’. While I love this quote, I have always thought it runs deeper than that.
What about ancestral factors? We know that events from past generations can shape (and haunt) the generation of today – think Indigenous people. What about character traits passed down through a lineage? Eg, coming from a long line of strong women?
I read an interesting article this week that mentioned Rohn’s quote and highlighted research that has been done into social networks. It seems that it does in fact go three or more levels deep, and it’s not just the people themselves we associate with that impact us, but their associations as well.
One of the great things about today’s technology and the internet is that we get an extended pool of people to choose to surround ourselves with. If you have online access, you get to be mentored by, and draw wisdom from people all over the world – alive or dead!
At different points in our lives, most of us will look for a mentor. Sometimes it’s a family member that organically offers wisdom. Other mentors, we will seek out with a goal and the objective of clarification or guidance. Some will come into our circle by chance.
I have always been very independent, but over time I have learned (and continue to learn) the importance of surrounding myself with the right people. There is also something relieving about having more than one ‘sounding board’ you can bounce ideas off.
So, what makes a great mentor?
There are many things to be considered, and it’s a very personal choice based on your needs, but for me, they would have to at least tick the following boxes:
✅ They have failed multiple times in their life
✅ They have had to overcome great challenges and personal hardships
✅ They have gotten back up to build success (individually defined) in their life
✅ They share my values
✅ They believe one area of life does not need to be compromised to gain success in another
✅ They believe in balance – in relationships, business, and health, in mind, body, and spirit
✅ They inspire, empower, encourage, and uplift
✅ They have walked a similar path to the one I am trying to walk
✅ They live their life in integrity ie. their thoughts – words – actions all align
I didn’t realise how high I had set this bar until I took a moment to think about it and put words on paper. Definitely an ‘oh wow!’ moment for me!
And how often does that happen? We don’t realise how important certain things (or people) are until we make time to stop… and reflect.
Considering I would want a mentor that had personally failed at something, it’s easy to see how it is the power of someone getting back up, that inspires us, not the person that never admits to falling down or that lacks vulnerability.
A good mentor will ask you questions and encourage you to find out what’s important to you and what you want in life, eg. strong relationships, good health, successful business etc. They will almost always suggest you ‘read a book’, (audio is great), and then recommend some good ones.
Some people’s light shines so brightly,
we continue to see it long after they have gone
My grandmother was one of these mentors or role models in my life, only I didn’t realise it at the time. She was very proactive in teaching me the important things and reminding me (oh so many times) if I didn’t get the lesson the first time around.
A lot of what she shared, I now know to be valuable life skills. The importance of hard work and focus to achieve success and the value of money, why we should respect it, and its importance.
A lot of what I learned was through experiences with her and these started at such a young age. I guess she was the perfect teacher as I never felt like I was learning anything until after the fact.
I remember when I was young, she would encourage me to pick out the bones if we had fish for dinner. These would be exchanged for coins. Essentially we got paid for how many bones we could show her. I am pretty sure I did this with Ben as well … although the value of the dollar seemed to be a lot higher when Ben picked bones out lol 😊
I know she had my health in mind, but what I took out of that was the importance of finding out what motivates people and having a WIN-WIN result.
With regards to money, I was never told it was the ‘root of all evil’. Quite the opposite. Money is an excellent tool that allows us to experience life and to help others. No, money doesn’t buy you happiness, but neither does poverty. It should be spent wisely with the goal of improving or adding value.
My role model was an avid learner, taking courses well into her 70’s. She was well known for keeping up to date on current affairs and kept a small blade handy to cut out interesting clippings from newspapers or magazines to share with the family.
To this day I still have the following tiny piece of brown newspaper, with her underlining.
The point of sharing this is that you can learn something from everyone you interact with, consciously or unconsciously. The key is to determine whether it’s positive or negative and choose more positive influencers.
The people you follow online, the podcasts you listen to, the people that surround you will share thoughts, ideas, and information.
So, who you are listening to?
Are they adding value to you?
Do they challenge you to become a better you?
Do they make you feel inspired and empowered?
Are they contributing to your dreams?
Are you surrounding yourself with the right people?
Who do you need to hang out with more? or less?
The answers might surprise you …
Dalya xx 💙