A Mentor Is Your Trump Card – 8 Key Points to Consider When Choosing One

I want to ask you a question.


What is the most powerful feeling in the world?


Is it when you win in a competitive sport?


Is it when a beautiful woman likes you?


Is it when you get a promotion?


Is it when everyone around you admires you?


No. It’s none of that. All these are just byproducts of that feeling.


The most powerful feeling in the world is being in control.


Being in control of yourself, your surroundings, your actions, your beliefs, your skills and your mindset.


And that was my main problem almost my whole life.


I wasn’t in control of any of those things. I was just following what other people were doing. I was afraid. I wasn’t audacious. I didn’t have any passions. I was floating not flowing.


And most importantly, I was told that I wasn’t enough and that there were things I couldn’t do.


Until one day I said enough.


I decided to work hard, to discipline myself, to experiment and to constantly expose myself to challenging situations. This is how I managed to transcend the limits of my abilities and finally be in absolute control of my life.


I want to be honest with you though.


I didn’t really achieve all that alone.


My achievements were also the result of intense mentoring I received from other people.


Mores specifically two people.


I had a “game” mentor and also an entrepreneurship mentor.


Both of them were experienced, charismatic and benevolent and they both helped me to be in absolute control of those areas.


The first one pushed the limits of my comfort zone and kind of exposed me to situations I considered impossible to handle. He was the one that revealed to me the importance of honesty and the power of being direct with women.


I remember, we were going to Tate Modern, which is one of the most crowded museums in London, and he was forcing me to go up to girls, introduce myself and tell them that I find them attractive. The fear beyond measure I experienced after my first approaches, quickly transformed into unbreakable confidence that was impossible to muster on my own.


Needless to say that after feeling comfortable doing that in places like museums, my game evolved dramatically while I was in bars and nightclubs.


The second mentor taught me the importance of common sense when doing business, the power of providing value on a constant basis and how to stop thinking as the founder and start thinking as the client.


Entrepreneurs fall into this trap every single time.


We have this amazing idea and instead of actually testing it and trying to find the right target market, we build the product according to what we think is right and we showcase it to random people. The result? Nobody is really interested in it.

energy drink

Energy drink from Thailand I found in an Asian Supermarket. Entrepreneurial wonder!


When you have an idea about building an organic energy drink for instance, you don’t design it like Red Bull and most importantly, you don’t ask your mom and dad to evaluate it. You need to make it look healthy and vibrant and you target people who really look after their health and would like to try a healthy alternative to the commercial energy drinks that exist out there.


This article isn’t about entrepreneurship though.


This article is about understanding the power of a mentor in the personal development process.


What I want you to understand is that there is no better way to reach a level of competence in an area you are struggling with, than having someone who has been there, show you the way.


A mentor can speed up the learning curve in anything you want to learn, explain things in a way that is easily comprehensible and help you get unstuck from any major sticking point that you might have.


He can motivate you, inspire you, kick your ass, wake you up, push your limits and ignite the fire that’s slowly burning inside you.


That’s chiefly the main reason I am fond of mentoring to a degree of evangelism.


The thing, however, is that it’s not that easy to find a good mentor. Every random dude out there with no particular achievements to showcase might self-brand himself as a mentor.


Finding a mentor is easy. Finding a good mentor requires a strategy.


That’s why I decided to invest my time in highlighting the 8 most important points on how to choose the right mentor.


Check them out:


1. Incentives


This is probably the most important one and that’s why I am mentioning it first.


What is the mentor’s incentive for deciding to turn to mentorship?


Is it money?


Is it fame?


Is it the fact that he has a lot of free time?


What is it?


When it comes to proper personal development mentors, their incentive should be the fact that they enjoy providing value.


Interacting with people who admire them and helping them blossom and reach their goals should be a very enjoyable process for them and something that makes them feel alive.


Think of Tony Robbins for instance. He is the quintessential personal development mentor.


He has knowledge in any personal development related topic, from business to goal-setting and being in control.


What makes him such a great mentor, however, is his genuine interest in those areas and the fact that he loves taking people who are zeros and transforming them into heroes.


This is what successful mentoring is all about and there is nothing more important for a mentor than being sure about his incentives.


If you admire a blogger for instance and you consider him a great potential case for mentoring, ask yourself:


Why did this guy write this?


Is he trying to connect with me? Is he trying to help me resonate with his problems? Is he trying to wake me up? Is he trying to provide value? Is he trying to explain complex topics in simple words? Is he trying to explain everything I knew but I couldn’t articulate?


Those are things that successful mentors should focus on. And those are people you should follow.


2. Ideologies


A mentor usually has a very concrete worldview and ideology.


That, however, doesn’t necessarily suggest that you agree with all of that.


If the mentor is suggested by a friend, do your due diligence and find out about the mentor’s personal values and beliefs.


If those values and beliefs don’t really align with your own, mentoring won’t be successful because you will most probably experience resistance.


It has happened to me many times. I am reading an article or watching a video of a person I follow and he suddenly says something that I don’t agree with completely. Or he spends a lot of time analyzing topics I consider a waste of time.


A characteristic example is with bloggers and YouTubers that I truly admire who spend countless hours discussing topics like feminism and social justice warriors. I do find those topics interesting but investing 90% of your time in fighting and complaining about those people isn’t really that beneficial for the growth process.


This person suddenly creates a barrier between us and I question his potential for being a great mentor.


3. Specifics


A mentor needs to be clear about the kind of roadmap that he will create for you.


Personal development is a huge field and the mentor needs to be able after a 20-30 minute meeting to precisely identify the way you two should work.


A good mentor has spent hours examining behaviors and sticking points that prevent people from actualizing their potential.


A bad mentor can only make guesses.


After the initial evaluation has taken place, the mentor needs to be able to clearly define the specifics that you need to work on.


If he can’t define the specifics, both of you are wasting your time.


4. It should be expensive


Good mentors charge a shit load of money so you better be ready to invest.


For your record, Tony Robbins charges more than $1 million for a year-long personal coaching.


There are three reasons for that:


  1. Mentoring is a very energy draining and time-consuming process. A good mentor prepares for every session in advance and is constantly present in your journey. He does his research, he analyzes every discussion in detail and he carefully makes conclusions and suggestions for your next steps. That takes time and time is money.
  2. Mentoring is one of the investments with the highest ROI there is. Roughly speaking mentoring usually helps you reduce the time to 1/10 of the time you would normally spend researching all these areas alone. This is something extremely valuable.
  3. A high price means a higher level of commitment from your side. Investing $300 for 6 weeks of mentoring is nothing compared to $1300. The price difference is huge and you automatically value it more, thus forcing yourself to commit to it.

5. Commitment


Advancing form my last point on commitment, seriously don’t even consider mentoring if you are not ready to commit 100% of yourself to it for the duration of the process.


That doesn’t mean that you need to quit your job or change your regular schedule. What it means is that you need to be ready to actively apply the advice provided by the mentor on a daily basis.


Most mentors suggest a 6-week period in order to see results because it usually takes 6-weeks to form a new habit or to adapt to a new mindset.


For the entirety of these 6-weeks eliminate all excuses and diligently apply your mentor’s suggestions in your life.


A mentor is not a wizard. If he is a good mentor he can find great ways to keep you committed and engaged in the process. The majority of the results, however, depend solely on how seriously you take this process.


6. The ideal mentor should be close to your life paradigm


Finding the ideal mentor for the things that you want to achieve is a task that should be done strategically.


You shouldn’t just go out there and pick someone because he is famous and has a great following.


When it comes to blogging I have many people who I consider mentors but for instance, a guy like Michael Hyatt isn’t one of them.


For those not familiar, Michael Hyatt, is one of the most prolific bloggers in the online marketing and blogging strategies domain.


The guy is cool and his advice is solid but his delivery is far from what I can resonate with. He is a older and his lifestyle doesn’t really align with my personal narrative. Additionally, he has 100X the following that I have. What type of advice can he give me? Maybe in some years of now it can be useful, but now I need to follow someone who has around 2-5x the following that I have.


That’s a very critical point to have in mind. A mentor should be in a life scenario where you want to be in some years from now. Also, he should have faced the same difficulties and adversity that you are going through at the moment so he can relate to your story.


With regards to age, that is debatable. If you are in your 20s, I would suggest choosing a guy in his late 20s or early 30s to mentor you. The same if you are in your 30s or 40s and you want to reboot. There are older guys out there who can be great mentors, but you might experience a lack of affinity because of the age gap.


Also, ideal mentors can be people you read or follow and you consider their advice invaluable.


7. Honesty


You need to be honest about why you need mentorship.


What do I mean by that?


There are usually two ways the mentor impacts a person’s life:


  1. Providing knowledge.
  2. Motivation.

Both areas are relevant. Both are important.


However, in order to get the most out of your mentorship, you need to be honest with what you need from your mentor so he can help you accordingly.


If you are smart but lazy, he obviously needs to work on your motivation.


If you are not lazy but find it difficult to grasp new concepts, he can help you tremendously in clarifying them and help you apply them in your life.


An example of the latter is socially awkward people who are not lazy.


There are two problems with socially awkward people.


  1. They are socially awkward.
  2. They don’t know they are socially awkward.

So let’s say you are socially awkward but extremely motivated. You go out a lot and you try to apply things you read but nothing works.


That’s where the mentor steps in. He understands your sticking points, he helps you work on overcoming socially awkward behaviors and you eventually become socially competent.


Flawless victory.


8. Expectations


As I said before, a mentor is not a wizard.


The mentoring process can vary depending on the persona and the mentoring style.


The point is that you need to be realistic with the expectations that you have from your mentor.


Let’s say that you are just starting a business. You can’t expect that after mentorship you will be able to make millions.


What you can expect though is that after mentoring you will have a more concrete understanding of the parameters that affect your success and focus on things that actually convert.


Mentoring is not for people who are looking for a magic pill.


Mentoring is for people who are willing to put in the hard work and transform their abilities from mediocre to exceptional.


Closing remarks


I hope that the above-mentioned points shed some light on everything you need to know about mentoring.


If you don’t agree with them or if you want to add something please do so in the comment section below.


Also, if you had a great or bad experience with a mentor, I would like to read that too.



*The featured image is from the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.


Adrian Iliopoulos

I am the founder and main contributor at "The Quintessential Mind" - A unique personal blog that offers a holistic approach to self-development. I am striving to create high-quality content by investing in a reality-based form of self-help, informed by a deep understanding of psychology, philosophy and my own personal experiences and social adventures.
Adrian Iliopoulos