How To Create Your Own Team of Inspirational Mentors
What would Bill Gates do?
Many of the top minds in the world that we go to for advice on all things that are of importance to us have attributed learning from a mentor as an important part of their own path to success.
Teachers, parents, friends, bosses and coworkers can all play the role of mentor to the young, aspiring soul. As we have seen throughout history in the biographies of great people, the archetypal sage, like Gandalf, need not apply for a mentor-mentee relationship to exist.
In today's world of instant connection to everyone and everything, it's never been easier to create your own mentors. However, until we are plugged into AR and can join Albert Einstein in the lab to learn from him, or until we are able to download the contents of entire books into our memory, there is still some work we have to do of our own.
Choose your own mentors
Oftentimes we feel that something external is holding us back from reaching our goals. It is easiest to fall back on attributing blame to a lack of support in your surroundings.
Don't allow yourself that mentality anymore. We have an abundance of opportunity literally at our fingertips and now we can even choose our own mentors like hitting a button on a vending machine of inspiration. Everyone has an online presence and if the person you look up to isn’t, that is another clue you should be taking to heart and following. If someone you look up to and want to emulate isn't wasting hours on social media, why are you?
Finding your sage
Pick out your idol(s) that you have always wanted to learn from. You don't have to get bogged down by one solitary mindset anymore with the abundance of information you can find on the internet, but following one to two personalities more closely than all others is how to form a more authentic connection to your virtual mentor.
Cultivate and grow
To make this virtual mentorship more realistic, find out what you can about this person's life that is available in books, videos, or podcasts. This step in gathering information doesn't give you permission to be creepy and stalk them.
Don't dwell on the minutia but take the time to learn about his or her life story and take note of the core principles and key events that have formed this person and their success.
What failures and struggles have they gone through? Nobody is perfect and that’s another encouraging reason why you should follow seemingly unstoppable people as your own mentors.
Create your code
Most people that have written books or appeared in podcasts have a very clear set of core principles and code that guides them through life. With some individuals you might hope to call ‘mentor’ you'll get even luckier because they have talked openly about them and maybe even published a set of principles somewhere.
George Washington and Benjamin Franklin are two great examples of historical figures who wrote a code of principles to live their lives by.
More recently, Ray Dalio wrote a book entitled Principles, which distils a lifetime of the principles that have led him to success.
Take what you can learn from your virtual mentor and create a list of principles that they live by and that you can then apply to your own life.
You might not agree with everything that your mentor did or believed in and that is fine. Only apply what resonates with you on an ethical or moral level.
If, however, your issue is with something a little more practical, you need to suck it up and stick to the principles that your mentor believes in or find another mentor who better matches your personality.
For example, if you're creating a virtual fitness mentor because you want to get in shape and they believe you need to be in the gym seven days a week, but you can't handle that or have other obligations that mean you can only make it four days a week, do a hard assessment of the situation and figure out what is most important to you.
Ask yourself if you'd be better off following a different mentor, or if this is your dream mentorship, maybe you have to make some hard choices, step up to the plate, and follow through with their principles.
Who should you follow?
Not sure where to start? Every person will come up with a different list, but here's a starting point for some of the people I would put at the top of my virtual mentor list:
For incredible writing and success as a fitness entrepreneur and published writer - John Romaniello - Roman Fitness Systems
Roman is the man. Period. The Chief Bro King is the best writer in the fitness industry, his book Engineering the Alpha is awesome, and he remains true to himself at all times. Terry Crews attributes Roman's book, Engineering the Alpha, to revolutionizing his health and life. Roman even wrote his list of principles down in this article here. How’s that for convenient.
For aspiring gym owners and product inventors - Mark Bell is the mentor to follow.
Due to his massive efforts in giving back to the fitness community as much as possible, there are countless videos and podcasts to get Mark's code from and a book that he’s been working on coming out on the horizon.
For hustling in apparel retail and living your dream life - Rob and Dana Linn Bailey and Matt Vincent.
Flag Nor Fail has made it to the top already and can do whatever they want and still dominate the lifestyle apparel realm. HVIII Brand Goods is still growing but Matt has been doing it up right on his journey to greater success and living a fulfilling life while running his own business.
To embody the sage advice of the Stoics in modern-day - Ryan Holiday
Ryan is an amazing writer and has found his success and balance in living a simple life while also having an incredible mind for marketing. The Obstacle is the Way is an excellent book on getting through the hurdles we all face and shows how other historical figures have faced the same problems and overcome them.
If you just need to get after it - Jocko Willink
Discipline equals freedom. This retired Navy SEAL commander attacks each and every day by waking up and working out at 4:30. No days off. If you've got an excuse for something, Jocko has a simple yet effective rebuttal. Extreme Ownership is one of my favourite business books and if you want more of Jocko's principles laid out for you, Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual is the book for you. The audio version is also available through audio streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify if you need a voice reminding you to just do it.
Keep your list manageable
As mentioned already, try to limit yourself to one or two individuals that you would consider as your virtual mentors. You can still have a longer list of people you gain inspiration and motivation from, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty and you are facing opposing views on something, side with your mentor and see how it works.
You might fail, but that’s ok. We learn more from our failures and our successes.
If things don’t go your way, be ready and willing to correct course. Don’t keep steering your ship straight into the rocks.
Maybe you’ve gotten the most you can out of your virtual mentor and it’s time to move on.
Always be flexible enough to bench your virtual mentors and substitute someone else in if you’ve learned all you can or it simply isn’t working for you. That’s the beauty of the interconnectedness we face today.
If you still don’t know where to go to find your own mentors, the perfect book for you is Tribe of Mentors.
This book may be just what you need if you're not quite sure where to start or you just want to absorb the knowledge of many more people you would dream of calling mentor and then pick your favourite to follow more closely. More than 130 of the top performers from a wide range of categories contributed to this book so you can glean the knowledge of many more mentors than you ever thought possible and almost certainly find someone's principles and personality that resonate with you.