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If Everyone Were a Mentor

Floyd Wickman and Ed PrimeauMy first mentor, Floyd Wickman, taught me a lot about business and selling. He also taught me a lot about relationships and the power of using the right words to persuade. One of the most important challenges on our journey of success is to find and built a relationship with a mentor.

When you first examine a mentor/protégé relationship, it may look abusive on the surface. In other words, the mentor may seem to be using the protégé to accomplish self-serving tasks. It’s like the “paint the fence” scene in “Karate Kid.”

Mentors may have the protégé do activity that on the surface seems demeaning or belittling to the protégé or like the protégé’s being taken advantage of. In some situations I suspect that is true. However, once the protégé accomplishes the activity, the mentor will spend time explaining the lesson to make sure the protégé understands.

Other mentors in my life like Mark Victor Hansen taught me how to understand marketing. Mark always encouraged me and told me I had a great mind for marketing. When those words came from such a respected icon, I believed them, and today I lead some highly successful marketing campaigns.

Because Floyd’s mentor was Zig Zigler, I had the pleasure to meet Zig and work with him on many occasions. The relationship was not as deep as my relationship with Floyd, but I still learned a lot from Zig in a short amount of time. One of the things I learned from Zig was to build a wall of fame. Put pictures of people who had profound influence on your life on a wall in your office so they look at you every day and remind you of their lessons.

One of my mentors that I never met is Napoleon Hill. The lessons I have learned with him are too numerous to list here. Mr. Hill’s mentor was Andrew Carnegie, who assigned Mr. Hill a task that today would seem extremely unreasonable. That task was to interview 500 of the world’s most famous and successful men and write about what they had in common to make them successful. The result of his years of research and interviewing is the book Think and Grow Rich. If you never read it, I strongly suggest you purchase a copy to add to your success library.

I don’t know for sure, but suspect Mr. Hill had many protégés.

Another of my mentors is Jack Canfield. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jack for his demo video that my company Primeau Productions was producing. Jack taught me about how to tame my ego and look at relationships—past and present—as learning experiences and learn from them instead of letting negative relationships bring me down.

I have worked with Jane Fonda, Marlo Thomas and Bob Seger. Even though these were not formal mentor protégé relationships, I still learned from them when spending time with them. This knowledge pulled me up to the next level of my success.

Today my new mentor is Mark C. Thompson. We have yet to solidify a mentor protégé relationship, but I see it coming. I have learned a lot from Mark. Mark’s mentor is Sir Richard Branson. I have learned a lot about business from Mark and I suspect he has learned a lot by hanging out with Sir Richard. Mark has worked very hard to prove himself a value to Sir Richard just as I have worked very hard to prove myself of value to Mark C. Thompson.

It’s easy for people to think negatively of mentor protégé relationships because on the surface some activity looks negative. However, I understand the mentoring process and believe as my first mentor Floyd Wickman said “if everyone had a mentor and everyone were a mentor we could solve a lot of problems in this world.”

I will continue to earn Mark’s respect and work toward earning a protégé relationship with Mark. Can you imagine the knowledge I will glean from knowing and spending time with Mark? It’s probably very similar to the knowledge Mark has learned about delegating and building business from Sir Richard.

If you are reading this blog post and do not have a mentor, I strongly suggest you seek one out. It’s the puzzle piece that helps life and success make sense.

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