Why You Need A Mentor

The other day, I had the opportunity to sit down with the brother of one of my favorite people on the planet, Melissa Fuller.

I had the pleasure of leading Melissa for several years. In fact, she was one of the best team members I’ve ever worked with, and I credit her for being the one who really brought social media to our company’s forefront. In addition, her mother has attended my EntreLeadership event, and I have even spent some time with her dad discussing his company.

And now … her younger brother. I first met Brock years ago when Melissa was playing the stages downtown at the CMA Fest. He was her drummer at the time. I got to know him better when we were part of Melissa’s first video shoot, Money, Money, Money. Since then, we’ve kind of just seen each other in passing.

But that didn’t stop Brock from asking if he could get my opinion on a business idea. I said yes, and we met for breakfast. Brock has an incredible concept for something we both think can take off. But he wanted some insight on how to turn it into a viable product and get it out to the masses.

An hour later, we were both happy. Brock now has a bunch of ideas for research and implementation, and goals to make this product happen. And I had a great time. (It doesn’t hurt that Brock is a cool guy to hang out with, but that’s beside the point.)  And it happened simply because he asked.

So many times, I see people trying to make their “thing” happen without any help. They want to prove they can succeed on their own and never stop to ask someone with more knowledge for input. They run out the door with the plan, only to be smacked in the face with the realities that come with business.

Mentors are difficult to find … if you’re not looking for one. I think if you ask Brock, our hour together was well worth the cost of him asking. (I could be wrong. He might think it was horrible.) We both gained valuable insights. I just can’t wait for my commission checks to roll in from his business. (OK, maybe just a nice dinner when he succeeds.)

Question: Do you have someone you are running ideas by? Are you that person for someone else? 



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

80 thoughts on “Why You Need A Mentor”

  1. To me a mentor is an invaluable tool because there’s accountability, there’s a perspective other than your own (sometimes we get tunnel vision), and there’s encouragement. Discussing a new venture with someone who has “been there, done that” can help sharpen your vision and give you insight. I’m still new to the Houston area, so networking and finding a local mentor is high on my priority list. I still have mentors in my previous city that I stay in communication with. Kicking myself cuz I should’ve approached Chris (a few feet away!) at 1-Day San Antonio earlier this year, but my nerves got me 🙂

    1. @tkstaxlady Great points! I know tunnel vision is an issue I have, discussing business ideas with other people is so helpful! Sometimes I get awesome ideas from them, sometimes their ideas spark great ideals in my mind. Either way it’s awesome!

    2.  @tkstaxlady I have had dozens of mentors throughout the years – and most of them are “long distance”!  We communicate through phone, e-mail, etc.  Although a “local” mentor or networking partner is good (especially when you are wanting to know more about a new marketplace), I have found the majority of my mentors are NOT local.  I have had a business coach for five years and we only meet personally about once or twice a year – even though we talk every other week.   

      1.  @LouiseThaxton
         Good point, Louise!  I have connected on Twitter with several people that may qualify to mentor me…just haven’t officially asked.  Got to get that done today!  Thanks for the reminder.

        1.  @selfemployedbob  @LouiseThaxton
           So far, I’m really looking at Tai Goodwin as one…been connected with her on Twitter and FB for a while, and she said she’ll be happy to help.  Still trying to make sure like some folks have commented that mentors will be a good match spirtually as well.

  2. I LOVE having mentors!
    I guess that would make sense since I love learning and developing 🙂
    Sometimes it can be hard to find the right type of mentor…
    But I keep telling myself to just keep looking, God will bring people into my life when it’s the right time (I’m glad I’m not the one in control of my life!)
    Way to go, Chris! Thanks for sharing 🙂

      1.  @Skropp  @Laura I think thats the beauty of a meeting like Chris described.  There was no big, long term commitment to a mentor/ mentee relationship.  I think we often think that is what we need to get. It would be great if a relationship of that type developed. But it would only come about naturally in this case.
        Worst case, you’re out a few bucks for a meal. However, I have come to understand that I can learn at least something from just about anybody.

        1. @Domerskee @Laura That’s a great point! It’s totally fine to counsel with someone once or twice when there’s a need without making them your life-long life coach! Thanks for pointing that out

    1.  @Laura Johnson There is such a peace in knowing that God will supply the right person with the right information at the right time. Whenever a frantic need sets in, we are prone to grabbing at any available life raft, even if it is covered in thorns or going in the wrong direction. So trusting God is the best method around!

  3. This awesome community had provided me TONS of burnt rice! I have asked several questions and advice and have been VERY blessed by their generosity and knowledge. I have also been able to give my opinion a time or two (though I’m not sure what its worth, haha).
    This has been invaluable to me as I’m working to start my first business.
    In addition, I have been looking around here locally for someone I can take to lunch once a month or so to bounce ideas off and get advice.

    1.  @Skropp
       I was recently turned on to http://www.meetup.com as a way of meeting people with similar interests in various areas of life, and joined a professional business group that holds “coworking” sessions every Friday with that very thing you mentioned in mind: bouncing ideas off and getting advice.  Looking forward to attending one and seeing what happens…they may have some in your area as well.

    2.  @Skropp Love your burnt rice again man. I have really appreciated connecting with you for help, advice giving and getting and just shooting the Twitter breeze.  

  4. I think it’s a great idea to have someone to go to as a mentor. I have several people that I go to and bounce ideas off of. I’m able to get some brainstorming done and even a more directed focus on the task at hand from getting the insight from others.

  5. Proverbs 15:22 “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.”  One of the biggest mistakes I have ever made in my life was when I decided to go into a business I knew nothing about.  But I thought it was a good idea and I really didn’t want someone talking me out of it.  Truly the scripture came true in my life, “without consultation, plans are frustrated….”.    
    I have since made it a practice to have several mentors for different areas of my life and seek “wise counsel” on a regular basis – not must when facing a decisionl.   Proverbs 1:5 “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel”.
    And of course, I consider the authors I read as mentors also.  Zig Ziglar, John Maxwell, Og Mandino, Dave Ramsey, Brian Tracey, and hundreds more!  

  6. One more thing – attending conferences and events for your industry is a great way to find mentors or help form new mastermind groups.  Just last week at a conference, I connected with someone who wanted to fly to Louisiana later on this year for me to share some of the systems I am using – and she  is going to work with me on writing curriculum’s for continuing education for real estate professionals.  We both are going to benefit!  

  7. This community has become my virtual group of people to run ideas by and learn from. Maybe not the same as a face to face situation, but for right now you guys have been such a blessing. 
    No man or woman should be trying to face life and business alone. Like @LouiseThaxton points out – there’s a lot of Biblical direction to seek council and to walk with wise people. I’m trying to do that by hanging out here. 
    I do want to find a group of people…or just one person even, here where I live that I can bounce ideas of off of, as well as give ideas and support to. I would love to start a book reading group with a few people around me. 
    These are likely scattered ideas, but mentoring and being mentored is so important. I’ve just finished reading a book about it, and well I can totally see how helpful having a mentor and being one can be.
    Thanks for mentoring us with your podcasts, posts, comments, and Tweets Chris. I’m glad to be a part of this community. 

  8. Going at anything alone is a difficult task.  Being someone who is very close to extended family and friends, I’ve had to reinvent my relationships in a foreign country.  I can tell when I’m in need of a listening ear and a supportive shoulder to cry on.  I have found faith sharing groups to be invaluable sources for mentoring and being mentored. We share commong goals and values and encourage each other.   As we start growing roots in our relatively new town, it is a pressing need as a couple and as a family and individually to make those connections again.
     A friend of mine, who I met at  MOPS right after we moved into our new home a year ago (Mothers of Preschoolers) started a home-based business last fall. You can check her out at http://www.virtualcareerconsultant.com.  She wanted to have a career and be available to her family.  She has done great.  We’ve had many late nights chatting over coffee and I’ve been able to share with her my experience with social media and job seeking.  She has used some of the ideas we have discussed and has taken off with a debt-free business and helping people find a job. I’ve enjoyed the process and I know mentoring is a strong component of a successful business.
    Our community here has contributed to my personal and professional growth in many ways.  I’m excited about the things that will happen for us as a result of the relationships we are building.  Thanks Chris!!

  9. Going at anything alone is a difficult task. Being someone who is very close to extended family and friends, I’ve had to reinvent my relationships in a foreign country. I can tell when I’m in need of a listening ear and a supportive shoulder to cry on. I have found faith sharing groups to be invaluable sources for mentoring and being mentored. We share common goals and values and encourage each other. As we start growing roots in our relatively new town, it is a pressing need as a couple and as a family and individually to make those connections again.
    A friend of mine, who I met at MOPS right after we moved into our new home a year ago (Mothers of Preschoolers) started a home-based business last fall. You can check her out at http://www.virtualcareerconsultant.com. She wanted to have a career and be available to her family. She has done great. We’ve had many late nights chatting over coffee and I’ve been able to share with her my experience with social media and job seeking. She has used some of the ideas we have discussed and has taken off with a debt-free business and helping people find a job. I’ve enjoyed the process and I know mentoring is a strong component of a successful business.
    Our community here has contributed to my personal and professional growth in many ways. I’m excited about the things that will happen for us as a result of the relationships we are building. Thanks Chris for being a great leadership mentor!!

    1. @lilykreitinger It’s amazing what having someone running with or ahead of you can do!! I think that’s exactly what mentors and places like this do, run beside you. When you’re tire, they encourage, when they’re worn down you encourage!

  10. It is critical to get the ideas flowing around several sources.  I have a small circle of people I’m confident won’t share my ideas.  They are also successful in business and very dynamic.  It’s great to get feedback and ideas from a dynamic group of people.  I’m glad you could be there for your friend, you’re right how important that is.

  11. Totally agree @Aaron Nelson & @lilykreitinger !  Although, I’ve had a great group of guys that I’ve been meeting with for 3 years (every Friday morning), I recently moved and will have to recreate those connections all over again.  Won’t be easy…but worth every bit of energy required!  Good reminder about MOPS!  I’ll have to say something to my wife!
    Aaron, funny you mention the book club idea. I’m getting ready to launch a book club here at work as a way to influence the culture at my company (and learn of course).  We are going to start with Seth Godin’s “Linchpin”.  It’s tough to get it rolling, but I’m looking forward to it!
    I’ve also been considering hiring a professional coach.  Was just listening to Michael Hyatt’s book “Platform” (audio version) and he was saying how much it helped him grow.  To me it seems to be along the same lines as a mentor…seeking wise council.
    Anyone have advice on the coaching thing?

    1. As a professional marketing coach and someone who loves personal coaching, I say do it!  A great coach is invaluable.  At a minimum, having a coach is a forcing function for doing stuff you most likely wouldn’t tackle for whatever reason. 
      By the way, Linchpin is a great read.  I’m 3/4 of the way through it.  I’ve put it down though because  I tend to read at night and the book stresses me out.  I don’t mean that as a criticism at all. It’s just the way he comes at issues and the way I process what I read. 
      It’s traded it in for Onward, Howard Schultz’s book on revitalizing Starbucks several years ago.  It reads kind of like a suspense novel but in a very good way.  Loved it.  I recommend that one because it helps you get inside the head of a super successful entrepreneur who is activating a calling through business. It’s superb. Last night I started his 1997 book on building a succcessful company. 

      1.  @JoelFortner Godin’s presentation feels so terse and urgent – he stresses me out big time. Thanks for admitting that – I thought my Inner Dork was all alone in my response to Seth.

        1. @cabinart @JoelFortner I like Seth, but I enjoy seeing how Seth challenges other leaders as well. Like Michael Hyatt — Godin’s influence on Hyatt’s approach to blogging and how the publishing world is being transformed is very transparent in Hyatt’s actions. By the same token, Godin also doesn’t seem to have too keen an opinion on Platform, given the recent posts of his (Godin) stating how he’ll never use a guest post or promote other blogs through his blog. So, the “mentor” dynamic is interesting…. tons of business people idolize Godin and follow his reading, yet he always has a way to challenge them even further once they make the jump. [random, late night introverted perspective there]

        2.  @Jon Henry    @JoelFortner It might be his extreme confidence that intimidates me. Or perhaps it is his way of saying, “Right?” when talking, because I am usually a couple of sentences behind and have no idea if he is right or not! I read his blog, even take notes on it, but then I continue on my dorky little way without enacting any of his esoteric suggestions.

        3. @Jon Henry On that thought, seems to be a good thing for the “student” to veer from the exact path of the mentor. Otherwise we would only have clones walking around. And that didn’t work so well on StarWars

    2.  @selfemployedbob  @Aaron Nelson  @lilykreitinger At one time, I had 4 coaches – ALL AT THE SAME TIME!    So obviously, I believe in coaching.  And uh, obviously I need a little help …..ya think?!?
      And if you think about it – all super star athletes have at least one coach!   Business coaches can be “general” or specific as  @JoelFortner  mentions below – he is a professional marketing coach.  I have even hired a coach once that was more specific than this ….”mortgage marketing coach”.  It is imperative to get a personal referral for the coach or the coaching company.  Building Champions is a great company and I have been coached by @Tim Enochs with this company  for over five years.  It was at a Building Champions event that I met Michael Hyatt. They coach many of the Chick-Fil-A executives also.   They coach the “Core Four” – Life Plan, Business Vision, Business Plan, and  Priority Management.  But they won’t coach anyone who is not willing to do a life plan FIRST.  

  12. Mentors are key!  I totally agree it’s easy to fall into the I-can-do-it-myself trap.  This is a recipe for failure or at least underachieving.  One trend that cuts across successful entrepreneurs is they don’t do this.  They all have mentors, people they can chat with, and aren’t afraid to bring in outside advisors and experts, even if it ruffles some feathers on their team.  You should never let ego or fear of looking unintelligent stand in the way of learning to do something and succeeding.

    1.  @JoelFortner Wuurrd! So true! When we we think we know it all, and don’t need someone else to teach us, help us, keep us accountable – the end has come, or it’s near.  We ALWAYS need to need someone. 

      1. Right on.  And it’s good to need to need someone before crises hit. It’s funny how people tend to rely on themselves when times are good and then when times get rough, they reach out more.  Sometimes I think crises could be avoided if we proactively reached out for advice about key issues.

        1.  @JoelFortner *raises hand* I have embraced my stupidity as well. I KNOW I need help, and I’m not afraid to ask for it. One teacher told me: the only dumb question is the you don’t ask. 🙂

        2.  @JoelFortner You must have a great list of those 176, all organized by category – call this guy when confused about design, call this guy for proofreading, call that person for about-to-enhance-my-stupidity moments, et cetera! 😎
          Love the line “embraced my stupidity”. . . I embraced my own dorkiness years ago!

      1.  @lilykreitinger  @JoelFortner Perhaps shift that fear around some: let the fear motivate you some – (not a lot…cus fear isn’t a good friend) but maybe it could help you forward by making you think: what would happen to me if I DON’T reach out for help? If I don’t take the risk of asking someone to mentor me?  

        1.  @Aaron Nelson
           definitely a good way to switch up the “fear factor”!  The more shy or afraid I am, the more I need to run to a mentor…

      2.  @lilykreitinger  @JoelFortner Knowing when you don’t know something is the first step to learning it. I have been guilty of holding onto my ignorance, only to have to learn things the hard way. I see this in so many people around me as well.

  13. I agree, the most difficult is finding a trusted mentor that you can connect with both in business and spiritually, I guess core values.

  14. Why do we need mentors? Some of us are convinced of our own genius that are blind to bad decisions or ideas that won’t fly in the real world. 🙂 (Not anyone here, of course.) Mentors were critical at every step of my business’ evolution – pricing, prospecting, presenting and prayer. (I mentioned this in my guest blog: https://chrislocurto.com/5-key-possessions-for-starting-a-business)

    1. @mkokc I think it’s true that mentors can often be the voice of reason…for me, I think a mentor would give me the push I need to get past my uncertainty or fear

  15. True dat, Chris.  True Dat. (Are the kids saying True Dat anymore?  Oh well.)  We need mentors, and we need to be mentoring.  Starting a business at such a young age, I didn’t have the benefit of learning from more experienced leaders.  I believe that a mentor could have spared me some struggle.  Oh well.  Sometimes lessons learned are learned better than lessons taught, but it would have been good to have realized that need earlier on.  Insights from a mentor seeker:  1.Values alignment.  2.They must have a need to pour into someone that is as great as your need to be poured into.  3.Also, read “A Mentee’s Guide” and a Mentor’s Guide.  Great information on how to have an effective Mentor / Mentee relationship.

  16. In certain times, actually most of the time I am the mentor for leadership. But for business I usually run to the mentor(s) to pick apart an idea or plan. So I have the best of both worlds. People come to me for leadership mentorship (hence why my business is called Ricardo Equips Artistic Leaders or R.E.A.L.) and how to lead by serving. I have mentors in almost every area of my life, especially where I have blind spots or weaknesses. I think everyone needs more of them. In the multitude of counselors their is safety.

      1.  @Skropp  Yea, of course! If you aren’t willing to pour out to others then don’t expect others to pour into you. There’s not humility there. I’m not teachable if I tell others to be teachable to me. I defeat myself that way. I give and will be given back pressed down, shaken together and running over as Jesus said.

  17. There have been multiple people in my life throughout the years that have coached me without having an official mentoring relationship. When I have a particular subject to sort through, I run through my mental list of Wise People and usually think of the right person for the situation.
    My gratitude for all the help causes me to hope I am on someone else’s Wise People list!

    1. @cabinart That is a great habit to have!! I know I need to be better at it! Too offer I rush into things without getting enough advice.

  18. Application Alert!! After reading this yesterday I sent a text to a guy I know. I’ve thought for quite awhile that I’d love to have him as a mentor. So I just asked if I could take him to lunch once or twice a month and get some mentor ship from him. He was more than willing to do so, thanks for the nudge Chris!

      1. @Aaron Nelson I’ve been thinking about asking Jason for quite sometime and just never did. Until Chris kicked me in the tail end with this post 🙂

  19. I have a group of women entrepreneurs that I meet with on a monthly basis.  We call it our Accountability Group Coffee.  We hold each other responsible for the goals we set the previous month and help each other look at our goals from different angles.  Because we range in age from 50+ to 30-is, we are able to mentor each other in our strengths while being mentored in our weaknesses.  It’s great scrutiny and advice, all for the cost of a bottomless cup of coffee!  Not a bad ROI for $2.17!

  20. Yes and Yes to both questions, best thing i ever did. Best thing about the whole relationships is that i’m actually able to apply what i get out of relationship A into reation B. I was luck my company will do this formal mentorship arrangements every so often, a and a lot of them fizzle out, but ours was one where things just clicked. I’m in a new position (75 days), and this is one of the things that’s really helping me get things moving in the right direction. 

  21. We do need more mentors – experienced people who come alongside and take you to the next level. My wife and I and working with two couples throughout this year and we hope that our time together will be fruitful with them.

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