Someone once told me that America is a land built upon systems. This was why the nation had been so successful. And as I poke around the world of business (it doesn’t matter which type of business) the statement rings truer and truer every single day.
The past ten days have been fairly hectic for The Wife and I, which is why I haven’t been writing all that much. Two weekends ago, we went to a business conference in Orlando which talked about e-commerce, interpersonal networks, and building home-based businesses. After that, on Monday, we went to a seminar for something called the National Grants Conference. (I’ll be writing more about that and something called Auction Teacher in the next couple of days. Probably.) Tuesday night we had our weekly business workshop. Friday I got sick, but she dragged me into some presentation about rehabbing single- and multi-family homes, then that night we had another business workshop (where I passed out because of the aforementioned sickness.) Saturday and Sunday were spent at the Fort Lauderdale convention center, where a real estate and business “Learning Annex” was taking place (headlined by Donald Trump and Tony Robbins). Yesterday we were supposed to go to another presentation, since we were considering buying a few vending machines, but frankly by that time we were completely pooped, and spent the night instead sleeping and trying to digest everything we’d learned in over the past week and a half.
Seriously, this was crazy.
What I found most interesting about this experience, however, was just how reliant America really is on systems. Everybody we heard had some sort of system: the real estate guys, the vending machine guys, the house flippers, the tax lien certificate buyers, the multi-family owners, Trump, Robbins, Raymond Aaron, Jack Canfield — even George Foreman and Erik Estrada! (Yes, Estrada and Foreman were there, promoting land and marketing systems, respectively.) Makes you wonder, what gets done without a good system backing you?
Answer: nothing. At least nothing big.
What amazed me about my experience is how people who I recognize — who I know have accomplished something with their lives because I see them on television or read their best selling books — all insist that if you want to get somewhere you’ll need not just a system, but mentors, people who’ve been there and done that. (Of course, in the case of many of the real estate guys at the conference, it was their system you needed, and you could get it for only $995!)
I talk to people all the time who talk about mentors and systems all the time. What gets me is how few of these people know what a mentor really is, who appreciate the power of a system, or how you’re supposed to work with either. They use the right words, in the proper order, throwing them around to impress other people, but it’s like the lights are on and nobody’s home. Now, I’m not saying these people are dumb or anything like that. What I’m saying is that they’re inexperienced, and when you’re inexperienced it’s really easy to fall into the trap of getting with the “in” crowd by trying to talk how they talk, without full understand what you’re saying and why.
My question to you is this: who are your mentors? Who in life do you follow for different aspects in your life? Do you have someone who mentors you about your relationships, your business, your finances, your health, or your spiritual well-being? If so, how often do you talk to them? How do they stretch you? Have they stretched you? Have you earned their trust? Can they really be honest with you? Do they have permission to guide you, and will you follow their advice?
By the way, your mentor may be someone who you listen to about finances, business, and family life because they have what you want and are willing to tell you how to get it; or they may be someone you pay (like a coach) to push you in the direction you need to go, outside the boundaries of your comfort zone. This is a person who has a direct path to your brain, whose advice you seek whenever a situation arises within their areas of mentorship over your life, who you trust, and who you’ve built a respecting friendship with. (Here’s a hint, by the way: you never de-edify your mentor. Ever. This means no jokes at their expense, and not being deceitful to them in any way shape or form, including deception by omission.)
What about a system? Do you have a system in place, a plan of action to follow? Is it proven? Have other people walked that path and achieved predictable results? This isn’t just for your business or finances, but also for your health, well-being and self-esteem. Do you actively seek ways of making yourself a better person? Do you have a goal? And does your mentor know about that goal?
The past couple of weeks have been a pretty intense learning time for The Wife and I, and it looks like this phase’s going to stick around for a while. I hope that if you’ve gotten this far into this post you’ve thought about the questions asked in the past two paragraphs. Ask yourself those questions and be honest in your answers: if you lie you’re only deceiving yourself.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go lay down. I’m still fighting whatever hit me Friday.