When I first decided to change my business model and move in a different direction, I really had no clue about what I was doing. I went to a networking lunch and had the pleasure of meeting someone who inexplicably asked me to give her a call so we could talk. I don’t know if it was because I looked lost and confused or if she saw something in me, whatever the reason I took her up on her offer. We talked for about 15 minutes and in those fifteen minutes I honestly had a completely different outlook on life.
She subsequently gave me tickets to a different networking event that she could not attend, but said it was good for her. We also attended a three day conference together and I practically stalked her the entire time I was there. I didn’t really know her, but for whatever reason, she opened up to me and it gave me a completely different perspective of what was possible. That 15 minutes of “let me help you out” discussion was profound and I honestly cannot imagine where I would be a year later if I had not had that talk.
Don’t be afraid of sharing your wisdom with others.
Conversely, I attended a workshop where I heard the speaker say “I don’t let people pick my brain anymore.” I thought it was a strange thing to say. Her point was that she felt people were taking advantage of her knowledge and know how. This speaker was not the first person that I heard say this, but I was taken aback by her statement because she was someone who was teaching people how to live better. Does one lunch or phone call really take that much of your wisdom that you cannot give it away?
At what point to you become so engrossed with yourself that you forget you were once the lost puppy trying to find your way? You never know how you can change someone’s life by offering a piece of yourself. Yes, some people will take advantage of you (we will get to that in a moment) but most will not. If anything you will build a loyal tribe of followers. They will even do business with you eventually.
The secret to success is not a secret.
Yes, I know you have a secret sauce to your business, its special and unique if people found out it would ruin you. Well, here is the thing, Coca-Cola and KFC are not successful simply because of their secret ingredients. It is the brands that you know and love and despite the fact there are many competitors trying to do what those businesses do, they are still successful. Why, because of brand loyalty. In this day of counterfeit and generic advantages, we seem to forget that people really do follow the name!
So what does your name say about you? That you are so afraid of what others’ may do that you cannot open yourself up to share? Is the length and breadth of your wisdom so small that if you let any nugget out you will have nothing left for people to purchase? I have been told many stories of people having their business models and identity stolen. In fact, one friend said that her entire website was stolen, because someone loved her ideas so much. But for the one person who stole from her, there are countless people who give to her. That is because of her brand. People know what they are getting when they deal with this woman, and they know that no one does it better.
Leave a legacy.
These days mentor is a synonym for coach. But I think these things are different. A coach is paid to help bring the best out of you and gets you to perform better than you thought you could. A mentor is someone who you aspire to be or operates at a level which you dream to achieve, that opens up doors and opportunities for you. They are not paid to do this, but do it because they genuinely want to help you.
While people will remember their coach (after all you paid enough money), your mentor will remain with you forever. That is because they did something they did not have to do for you. That legacy of mentoring is something that is irreplaceable. It is life changing and catapults you to a different place. If my 15 minute mentor asks me for anything, if I could do it, I would. That is because she gave her time without hesitation at a time that I needed it most.
Shahara Wright is an experienced and highly sought after business law attorney and business strategist. She is the author of From Entrepreneur to CEO and host of the CEO Collaboration Circle. Shahara founded The CEO Effect, LLC to work with small business owners who want to implement strategy to build capacity.