11 Keys to Great Success in Life and Business: Key 5: Find Great Mentors
The most amazing thing I have found about massively successful people is that they both credit other people who mentored them for helping them achieve success and, as a result, are very willing to mentor others. Over my 35-plus years building Proforma, I have had the great fortune to be mentored by some incredibly successful people, including a few billionaires.
Sometimes the mentoring was an ongoing relationship, like what I enjoyed with Fred DeLuca, the founder of Subway. I met Fred by participating in a trade association, and I greatly valued the guidance, friendship and support he offered me. Unfortunately, Fred passed away this week, but I will always remember the great influence he had on my life and the impact he had on making Proforma what it is today.
Other times, the mentoring was just a conversation or two. I had one meeting with Alan Schonberg (also now deceased), the founder of Management Recruiters, who gave me one powerful piece of advice that I am confident has been worth more than $25 million—easily.
I met Alan because I just reached out and asked for a meeting. Other mentors have included my forum group of 10 great, fellow CEO members of the Young Presidents Organization (back when I qualified for things for “young” people), fellow board members when I served on the International Franchise Association Board of Directors and some industry legends I have met through industry trade associations. Finally, one person that “mentored” me never spoke with me one-on-one. I had the pleasure to hear Jim Russell, founder of RBF, speak at a trade association meeting in the early years of Proforma. That helped me accelerate our growth and today accounts for more than $50 million of our $500 million in annual sales.
Here’s some advice for finding mentors:
- Identify people whose success you would like to emulate. Reach out and tell them you admire them, and ask for a few minutes of their time.
- Join and participate in your applicable trade associations.
- Attend seminars conducted by massively successful people. For some, it’s their way of giving back.
- Listen for the kernels of ideas that could propel you in ways you never imagined.
On your own and all alone can be a recipe for disaster. Find great mentors. And as you achieve success, mentor others.
Previously, in our “11 Keys to Success” series we discussed: