Whether you’re just starting out in business, trying to grow in your career, entering motherhood, or on a personal development journey, you likely need a mentor. Someone to guide you through the hard parts, remind you of how far you’ve come, and give you resources that help you grow.
But there are also a lot of people to learn from out there, and that can cause some friction.
Instead of helping you, trying to learn from too many different sources will only lead to overwhelm. Plus, if you’re not being picky about whose advice you take, that advice could do more harm than good.
So let’s talk about how choosing mentors wisely can help us find growth without overwhelm or analysis paralysis.
Stopping analysis paralysis
How do we stop analysis paralysis and keep overwhelm from forcing us to fall short on taking action? By choosing mentors wisely.
Let’s start with defining what exactly a mentor is. According to the dictionary, a mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser.
I don’t know about you, but that definition feels extremely broad to me, especially in a day and age where anyone and everyone can make themselves “an authority” on a specific subject.
This can actually be really harmful because not everyone is qualified to give you advice. And how many times have you heard advice that felt like an attack on your lifestyle or how you operate best? That’s not what a mentor is, in my book. No matter if someone calls themselves one.
Instead, you want to look for someone who YOU know, like, and trust in your specific industry or who specializes in whatever you want support with. Whether that’s motherhood, entrepreneurship, cleaning… you name it.
Think of mentors like this…
I actually like to think of mentors in two different ways.
First, there’s a mentor in the traditional sense. Someone you know personally, who works in your industry and is several steps or levels above you, and is in a position or has a working style that you hope to emulate. You want to learn from this mentor, and they can help show you the ropes as you’re growing in your career.
But then, there’s what I like to think of as the “pretend mentor.”
The pretend mentor is not someone you know in real life, or maybe you’ve met them, but they’re definitely not a traditional mentor that you meet one-on-one regularly. Instead, a pretend mentor is someone you learn from. Maybe from their podcast, or their YouTube channel. Maybe from their Instagram posts. You might have even purchased one of their courses, and learned from them that way, too.
Either way, a pretend mentor is someone you look to and learn from, even if they aren’t specifically advising you in real life.
For me, some of my pretend mentors are:
- Laura Vanderkam, a time management writer
- Amy Porterfield, an online marketing expert
- Michael Hyatt, a leadership coach
- Dr. Becky Kennedy, a parenting expert
I’ve never met any of these people, but I consider them my pretend mentors, because I love learning from them. They’re my go-to’s for these different topics.
Now the great thing about pretend mentors is that you can have an unlimited number of people you learn from! It can be amazing to take in so many different perspectives, especially when you’re new to a certain topic, or industry.
But that’s a double-edged sword. Sometimes when you dive into something new, whether it’s learning about home renovations, parenting, or growing in your career or business, it can be tempting to take in ALL of the different perspectives from tons of different experts.
But then, your head starts spinning because there are SO many different ideas and possibilities, and you can become totally overwhelmed with all of the information at your fingertips. And then, the analysis paralysis sets in.
Which move should you make? Which path should you take? Should you do it this way, or this way? Should I do what this person says? Or this person? Or let me go see what so and so says about this before i do anything.
You can easily get stuck in a loop of listening and learning, but not doing.
So how do you cut through the noise when choosing mentors, whether they’re real-life or pretend?
Here are 4 things to consider when you pick your mentors.
Whether you’re working directly with a one or simply learning from them through courses and programs (or podcasts!), when choosing mentors, you NEED to have compatible personalities.
If the way they speak on their social media accounts bothers you, then it won’t actually help you to learn from them. Instead of thinking about the material they’re teaching you, your mind will be on how bothered you are by their tone and word choice.
Personally, I’ve found this with a lot of people before. Sometimes I just didn’t click with the way in which they delivered their message. I’d find myself pushing through, trying to stick it out for the benefit of “learning from a guru,” but in the end, I didn’t learn anything at all.
My time would have been much better spent learning from someone whose personality I enjoyed OUTSIDE of the mentorship environment, on a human-to-human level.
At the same time, you might have to take a while to get to know a new mentor, especially if you’re working with them 1 on 1. Don’t discount someone too quickly, but always remain mindful of your overall compatibility.
Stretching the comfort zone
You want to choose a mentor who is going to push your boundaries just enough, without overdoing it.
Someone who will get you to try new things and ways of working. Maybe it’s a new meal planning system for the family, or hiring a different employee for work you thought you could “just do yourself.”
Whatever it is, your mentor should know when to push you in a new direction, but also when to pull back. Sometimes, our comfort zone is the place we stay when we’re resisting leveling up, and a good mentor will see and acknowledge that.
Expertise over experience
A person can definitely have both expertise and years of experience, but when it comes down to choosing a mentor, it’s important to put expertise before experience.
What do I mean by that? Well, here’s an example: You’re choosing between two mentors. One might have 2 years’ worth of experience, but in that time, they’ve grown 6 businesses into the 7 figure range. The other mentor might have a decade of experience, but they’ve only grown 1 business to that level.
Who would you choose? The less experienced mentor who clearly understands the framework of growing a sustainable and successful business… or the mentor with a decade of experience and fewer results?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the second mentor’s methodology for their own business, but when it comes to learning from someone, you don’t want to pick the person that *might* be successful. This applies to mentors for anything — from motherhood (do you want a mom with just 1 kid, or someone who was a childhood development expert before becoming a parent of 4??) to personal development.
You want to learn from the one with a clear and proven strategy to success.
When choosing mentors, this one is a big one. Do you trust this person?
Trust is going to look different to everyone. What makes me trust a person is likely not going to be the same for you. We’ve all led unique lives, and had different experiences when it comes to trust in both the personal and professional world. At the end of the day, it all comes down to one thing…
Would you trust this person to take total control of your business, motherhood, the household, your time, etc.? If you were to hand over the reigns to them today, do you feel like they’d be able to lead you to success?
Need a time management mentor?
I hope this helped you see that you don’t have to take advice from just anyone. You can choose the people you learn from and who have access to your growth. At the end of the day, I suggest choosing no more than 2-3 mentors to learn from, whether it’s 1:1 or not, and hone in on their teachings.
Learn from them, implement, and experiment with their methodologies. You’ll see so much more growth when you double-down in ONE direction, rather than letting yourself get pulled in a dozen different ones.
Remember: mentors are meant to help you succeed, not keep you from your goals!
If you ARE looking for a mentor to help you manage your time, organize your life, and help you feel more capable… I’d love to invite you to the It’s About Time Academy.
Through my years of experience as a time management coach and my own expertise as a business owner, mom, and corporate employee, I’ve figured out how to create a vision for the future, use values to guide decisions, set goals that get us closer to our dreams.
I’d love to show you how to create sustainable habits and routines, manage your energy, focus your attention, and prioritize fun, relationships, and relaxing. I’ve figured out how to step into every week feeling calm, prepared, and ready for anything that life throws at me. I want the same for you, too. If that resonates with you and you want a community and coach who will help you find that, come check out the Academy here!
In this solo episode, I talk about:
- What analysis paralysis is and how to avoid it
- The risks of having too many mentors
- The 4 keys to choosing the perfect mentor
- How many mentors you REALLY need
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
- 7 Reasons To Work With A Time Management Coach
- It Takes A Village: How To Build A Powerful Personal Support System With Intention
- Productivity, Priorities And Personal Goals: How To Go Beyond Your To-Do List And Get More Of The Right Things Done With Katie Wussow
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