What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Mentoring’?
How different is it from self-mentoring?
First, mentoring it is an action. Second, if you follow the dictionary, it will tell you that mentoring is a professional relationship where an experienced person guides or helps someone without such experience to gain knowledge in a certain area. Does that make sense so far?
You may have been mentored by a good number of people this far. Think of every skill you have today and the number of people who have helped you develop them to the level you are in. Sometimes the mentors don’t come to you physically; they write books or make documentaries that you read or watch.
How about self-mentoring? What does it mean and what does it entail?
I am a business mentor. My clients or mentees as you may want to call them are people entering the world of running businesses. I help them put together their businesses by first preparing their mind on handling various parts of their businesses. Through my experience in running businesses and studying other people’s businesses, I am able to assist various people to run their businesses better and keep them profitable.
For your information, I am not without fault. I have crashed several businesses; my first and third businesses crashed in exactly one year. My first one left me totally sunk in debts. That part of my history helps me watch out for common mistakes that drown startups and even small businesses.
During a business club meeting that I attend every Monday at 9 am, my friends (also running businesses) and I had a 2-hour coaching by one of the members who is a renowned coach named Martin, on the topic, ‘Self Mentoring’.
Martin called upon each one of us to ‘take time to date ourselves- individually’. This might sound a bit awkward, but it is worth doing.
What happens when you go on a date?
You evaluate the other person. You analyze their good and bad characteristics. You also take time to discover what they like and don’t like, their strengths and weaknesses. It is from dating that you get to know the person better, right?
Have you dated yourself lately? I wonder how you found yourself.
It puzzled us for a while but when he went on to break down the whole ‘self-dating ‘process, I must say, I felt relieved and so did the rest of the club members.
Martin took us through the four steps involved in self-dating on your way to self-mentoring. I would like to share them with you right here. Go ahead and prepare your wallet, you will need to buy yourself a huge mug of coffee and a chocolate cake. Let me see how well you love yourself. (Wink- kidding)
The 4 Elements of Self-Dating Your Way To Self-Mentoring
There are 4 elements that you need to evaluate so as to effectively self-mentor. These are:
Physical Element –
Here you need to evaluate where and how you were brought up. The environment in which you were brought up determines a huge number of your physical beliefs. By environment, I mean your family, neighborhood and even the people you have gathered around yourself as you grow.
How does your environment influence your decision on the food you eat? How about the way you handle finances? Did you know that even your zeal for physical exercises or the lack of it is influenced by your environment?
Think about it, if you were born in a family where physical exercises were treasured, you are likely to feel guilty if you didn’t exercise for a while.
Watch out for people who grew up as vegetarians, if they marry people who are not vegetarians, the chances of them eating meat is extremely narrow. To date, I have friends who can’t stomach meat even after converting to Christianity from Hinduism!
If you take time to answer the above questions, you will realize that the things you do are linked to some beliefs you have borrowed or bought into from your environment. That is a shocker, isn’t it?
Social Element –
This focuses on your temperament; how you handle interactions with the people around you. Martin referred us to carry out a personality test to examine this area of our lives. There are quite a number of such tests already online. You could do the Jung and Briggs Myers’ personality test or the 16 personalities test from Neris Analytics.
This will help you understand your social associations and why you connect with people in a certain way.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wondering why certain people hang around you. Think about it, why are they even your friends?
How does each relationship you have build you? Do they make you a better or bitter person?
Remember, you give what you already have within you. What exactly do you serve your clients, friends and family?
During the meeting, Martin called us to question our relationships. He particularly asked, “If you got into some humiliating kind of trouble in the middle of the night and decided to call your friends to assist you, what response would they give?”
How sure are you that they are your true friends?
(There goes an OUCH!)
Mental Element –
During self-mentoring, the mental element points to the way you reason.
What influences your reasoning?
In over 90% of lives’ circumstances, we react to according to learnt scripts. These are the things you learned while growing up. It is such things that you need to evaluate while self-mentoring. Some of these scripts are terrible and prevent your progress. Even if you were to be mentored by someone else, you would need to alter them so as to see positive results.
The good news is that you have some good scripts too. These, you should keep and even make them better.
This got me thinking, the main reason as to why I mentor people so passionately and I desire to see them succeed, is likely to have been influenced by my mother. My mother is a retired primary school teacher.
When I was little, she spent a lot of her after-school hours coaching people. When she wasn’t doing it at church, she was talking to the ladies in the village on how to invest in shares, conduct barter trade, grow the right kind of food crops and eat a balanced diet. Being the last born, I followed her everywhere she went, and somehow that rubbed perfectly well on me. Here I am today carrying that baton!
This script tells me to reach out and help other people. It tells me to share my business knowledge. In fact, this script tends to helps me to connect with people. Whenever I meet young people, I can’t help but notice their talents and things they are passionate about. In almost every such case, I encourage them to turn their passions into businesses. Weird, isn’t it?
What are some of those scripts that you learnt as you were growing? Are they holding hostage your success? The ransom is rewriting the learnt script with positivity. This you can do by reading books that address that limiting factor. Unteach yourself the habits that limit you. Reading one helpful book per month will help you build new habits that will quicken your success rate.
You should also learn new skills; not just any skills, but skills that challenge and build you. I desire to learn how to dance to Indian songs. I find them invigorating and I believe they would help me keep in shape.
Kris, a member of the business club suggested that we read a book called Mechanics of Mind control. How about you also watch it on YouTube too? It has even a part 2 to it!
Spiritual Element –
The last part of self-dating your way to self-mentoring is examining your desire to leave a legacy wherever you go. Most of us have the desire to touch people’s lives; call it leaving a good taste in the mouths of the people we meet.
Did you know that the two highest human needs are to grow and to contribute? The need to contribute involves making others’ lives better.
While self-mentoring, you need to consider helping people achieve things that they need to achieve. In fact, this has everything to do with mentoring people around you. You are an expert at something and there is someone around you who wants to learn it. Would you be kind enough to teach them how to do it?
This for me has led to training people how to do online jobs. Having succeeded in getting jobs as a freelance writer, my aim is to help people earn a living through online freelancing. Most of the unemployed people I interact with have skills they can use to provide services online and get paid for it. It only takes connecting them to possible employers.
Martin’s emphasized on reacting positively to circumstances that entice you to react in an indifferent manner.
Think of when someone steps on your foot and then makes a face at you to imply that they are not sorry. The immediate reaction would be to shout at them, “Where the heck are your freaking eyes?”
How about responding with a smile and saying, “Don’t worry about it”? That leaves them thinking hard about their nasty actions.
For every good action, you do while you still live, you not only change someone’s life but also make your own heart glad. Don’t you want to live that happy life?
Using Self-mentoring To Rediscover Yourself
When you begin the self-mentoring process you will realize that there are a number of things you may have forgotten about yourself. The process will help you rediscover yourself. To make this possible in our business club, we decided to do some cool homework. Besides, what would be the use of such a great coaching if we didn’t have something to work on?
Let me share it with you right here.
You need to create a weekly plan on how to address the 4 elements of your life. For 6 days you will carry out an exercise on self-dating and evaluate yourself on the 7th day. Remember to carry out this exercise for a whole month and then continue with part 2 to 6 for as long as you live. Awesome, isn’t it?
Here is how to go about it.
Carry out the personality test; try it out from two different tests so as to get better results.
Select a book you are going to read throughout this month and begin reading it.
Enlarge your territory:
Choose the skill you are going to learn and start immediately.
Value your health:
Pick one physical exercise to carry out throughout this month; jogging, skipping, aerobics.
Write down a list of people whose lives you want to influence positively and do it.
Identify bad scripts in your life and rewrite them for good.
This is not going to be so easy. Remember, you have a strong ability to resist change hence you will find it easier to resist than the change. Visualize the richer version of you; the one that has taken steps to succeed and lived life to the full potential and then pursues the necessary changes. Besides, what is the use of growing old angry about things you didn’t pursue? The richer version of you is only 6 steps away. Begin self-mentoring today and grow!