How to Get a Great Mentor


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You're listening to School Leadership Reimagined, episode number 190.

Welcome to the School Leadership Reimagined podcast...

where we rethink what's possible to transform your school. If you're tired of settling for small wins and incremental improvement, then stay tuned to discover powerful and practical strategies for getting every teacher in your school moving towards excellence. Now, here's your host, Robyn Jackson.

Hey, builders, welcome to another episode of the school leadership reimagined podcast. I'm your host, Robyn Jackson. And today we're going to talk about how to get a mentor. Couple of weeks ago, I did a podcast around the lessons that I learned in 2022. And one of the big lessons was the value of having a mentor. You know, I said on that podcast, that when you have a mentor, you can get 10 years of experience and 10 minutes. And that one lesson really resonated with you all. I mean, I saw a lot of a lot of responses on social media. And so I thought it would be helpful to do an entire episode just focused on how to get a mentor. And I have been working with mentors for over 20 years now.

I've made a lot of mistakes along the way. 

But I've also learned a lot about how to cultivate a really good mentor mentee relationship. And I've had some incredible mentors. So I thought it'd be helpful to share that experience with you today to talk about what to look for in a mentor how to get someone you really admire to mentor you tell a few stories along the way. And hopefully, by the end of this episode, you will know enough to be able to get a mentor that can really accelerate your practice. And so I want to share that with you today.

But before I do, I just want to kind of um so basking in the glow on Monday, I made a huge announcement. And, you know, I've been sitting on this news for like two months, is taken us about two months to develop this. And so I'm so happy that I can now talk about it. Because this is really incredible. One of the things we're really committed to here at mine steps is that we're really committed to, to making sure that we are supporting educators as much as possible. And so you know that for the past few years, we've had builders lab and you know, I've talked about it here in the podcast, several of you have come to builders lab, but builders lab, it's a commitment, it's three days, and even whether we do it live or virtually, you have to take three days off of work, if we don't live, you have to travel to DC and and get a hotel and do all of that if we do it virtually, you have to find someplace for three days, lock the door, so that you can focus on builders labs. So it's a huge time commitment. There's also a financial commitment involved. And so for a lot of people, the time commitment, the financial commitment has been more than they were able to do with the time. And so I've heard from people over the years, I want to come to builders lab, but I'm not able to because I can't get off for three days right now, or I can't get my school to pay for it. And we have been really trying to figure out how do we make sure that you were that we're getting this material out. And so one of the things that we've committed to do during 2023 is to do more engagement with folks for free. So we've always offered a lot of our stuff for free. You know, people always say you give away so much. And if you go to go to our website, not anymore. But when you used to go to our website, there was just this this this ocean of free material that we offered, when you signed up for builder ship University free, which is no longer available, you would just get this this this Deleuze have all of these free materials, the problem that we found is that the free materials without the guidance weren't serving you very well. I mean, it's it's great to have the free materials but having someone show you how to use them, how to apply them to your schools is where the magic happens. And so we have stopped doing that we're not giving away a whole bunch of materials for free. Instead, we want to give away the training, the support and the guidance. And so we are going to do something really special starting on January 22 2023. 

We're going to be doing the staff alignment accelerator. 

Now let me break that down. Staff alignment is really about getting all of your teachers on the same page. You know how this works, right you you have something you want to do on your school you want to move your school forward, and some teachers on board but There are a lot of teachers who are not quite ready to come on board, maybe they're burned out, or they're overwhelmed, or they're doing their own thing, or they don't trust you, some teachers are going to openly resist whatever it is that you're trying to do for various reasons. Other people will be a little bit more passively aggressive, where they will, you know, maybe not in the faculty meeting, but then when it comes time to actually implement, they're not doing the work. And this is not shade on teachers, right, there's some, there's a really interesting dynamic going on, for why all of your teachers are not on the same page. And during this training, we're going to break down and help you understand the underlying dynamic, you know, we want to say teachers are lazy, or we want to say that they're resistant, that's not true. There's something else going on. And once you understand it, it gives you the key to unlock their resistance, it gives you the key to overcome their overwhelm, so that you can move your entire staff forward and move your school forward.

So here's what we're gonna do over the course of six days, every day at 7pm. Eastern Time, starting on January 22, I'm going to do an hour training. Now this is not fluffy training, right, we're not doing fluff in 2023. Instead, I'm going to be doing intense training, this is the level of training that you would get at builders lab. And in fact, we have taken day two of builders lab and pulled some of the best training from day to a builder's lab and broken it down into these one hour training segments. And just to give you a sense of how good this training is going to be, each day has its own workbook, and it's an interactive workbook. So as we're going through the training, you're going to get a workbook and you're going to be able to I'm going to be working on the workbook on the screen, you're going to be doing the work in the you know, on your computer. And when you're done with that 90 That I'm sorry, that 60 minutes of training, you will have a system and a process that you can immediately implement in your school. That's how practical this is. So it's not just kind of me marching you through PowerPoint slides, there will be no PowerPoint slides, it's me teaching you how to do this work and use the builder ship principles and apply it to your school so that you can get your staff on the same page. So this that's why it's taken us two months to get this work, I had to sit down and take some of the material and make it as practical and implementable as possible. We had to create workbooks, you know, six workbooks for the six days of training.

So here's the way it works. Starting on January 22 7pm, you're gonna get day one of the training and so on. If you go to builder, ship,, builder, ship, you can see all six days, you want to be there for all six days, because every day builds on each other. So you'll get 60 minutes with training. And then right after the training, you'll be invited to stay on for 30 minutes of implementation and coaching. So after you get the training, we'll go through the workbook, you'll learn this, you'll be completing the exercises in the workbook. And they're not just exercises because what you do in the workbook you can use in your school, right so that we want to make sure that when you when you get the training, we're not wasting your time, anything you do can be immediately applied to your school. But then we're going to stick around for another 30 minutes. And you'll be able to ask questions that about that are about your school, like, how would this work if I'm a private elementary school that only does grade three, for students who love cats, we'll help you do that. So you'll be able to take the training that you got that day and make it work for your school, you'll get coaching, I'll be there coaching you, you'll be able to ask questions about the training to make sure that you have it to make sure that you're able to implement it. Now this level of training is something that we have never done for free before this is this is what we do all the time and build a ship University and it builders lab. We've never done this level of training for free before and you get the opportunity to do that. So we're gonna do it Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and then over the weekend, we'll give you a chance to catch up. And then the following Sunday, January 29. At 7pm. We're going to do a final training that brings everything that you've learned over the course of those five days together, and a masterclass so that you can pull it all together and make the system work in your school. By the time you're done. You will have everything you need to be able to get your staff on board and aligned around something that you want to accomplish this year. So we're not talking about random staff alignment, everybody's singing Kumbaya. No, you're gonna think about something that you want to accomplish this year. That so that you can finish the year strong and we're going to show you how do you get your staff aligned and motivated, focused working towards that thing this year so that you can finish the year strong. Again, this is absolutely free, there is no catch. We're just trying to find ways to serve you better. So all you need to do is you need to go to build leadership And that's how you can sign up.

And the reason you need to sign up is because you need the Zoom links. And we're doing this training on Zoom, so that we can be interactive so that I can see your faces. And you can see me and you can ask questions. And this is a highly interactive training, like I said, no PowerPoint slides. This is not about, you know, after a long day of work sitting down and just kind of staring at the screen. No, this is after a long day's work, coming to this training, and solving real problems that you're facing right now, with your staff. So that you have the tools, you need to immediately address those issues, and get your staff on board and be able to support them in a way that empowers them to take ownership over their own work, that that encourages and motivates them to really embrace the work that they're doing that overcomes a lot of their overwhelm, so that they are able to focus on serving your students. And so that's what we want to do, again, builder ship And you need to sign up, we start on January 22. And you want to go ahead and sign up now. Because prior to the training, we have some ramp up things that we're going to be doing, we're going to be creating a private community just for the training so that everybody can come together, you can get more support, you can meet each other, you can help each other be accountable for the training. This is a six day event. And during these six days, we're going to go in and tense right? So a lot of people say, Well, you know, I've got all this stuff to do. Yeah, you do. You're very busy. But what happens if you invested an hour a day, or 90 minutes a day, over the course of six days? And a lot of the things that you're struggling with right now went away? Because you now have the tools to solve it? Would it make sense to invest six days in something that's absolutely free? I mean, it's it's free, what do you what do you got to lose? So you come to the training, you get the support for free, not only you're getting training, but you're getting coaching and support and tools and systems that you can use immediately. It's all free. And then at the end of that six days, you went back and applied it to your school, and you saw this dramatic difference. And the way that you and your staff work together towards your goals.

What What wouldn't it be worth it to spend 90 minutes a day for six days, so that you don't have a headaches for the rest of the year? I think it is. And so that's what we've been cooking up for you. I cannot wait, I'm going to be doing the training myself. So it's not going to be other random people, I'm going to be coaching you myself. So if you've ever wanted to work with me directly, this is your opportunity. So again, build USHIP to join the training, it starts January 22. So if you're listening to this after January, I'm sorry you missed it, but don't worry, we're going to try to create a few other options based on how this goes like if nobody signs up. We're not gonna do this again, because it's not serving you. But if this is a huge success, then we may find other opportunities throughout the year to do this when we can. All right. That's my big announcement, I'm so happy to finally be able to talk to you about this because I'm telling you this, like I said, I've spent the last two months really working on this, the worksheets, our fire, I mean, like, the workbooks that you're going to be getting and the tools that you're getting. Plus, I'm teaching a few things that I've never taught publicly before. So I'm really excited because of some of the new ideas. You know, as I was working on this, we have some new things that were out created a couple of new tools that I'm going to be sharing with you. So I'm really so excited to be able to work with you on a more personal level and to share this with you. Okay, I'm gonna shut up about that, because we need to talk about how you can get a mentor. 

And you've heard me in the past talk about the value of having a mentor. 

Because when you have a mentor somebody who has has had the experience and the expertise that you're seeking, then instead of figuring it out by yourself, you have somebody who can guide you along the way. And I can't tell you how valuable that is. I was trying to sit there and kind of calculate how many mentors I've had over the year. And I think I've had seven No, maybe between seven and 10 mentors in the last 15 or 20 years. And when I tell you that these mentors have been game changing in the work that I'm doing in the thinking and the development of this whole idea around build Worship, I would not be where I am today. Without these mentors, I'm a huge believer in it. Because I'm a huge benefactor of having some incredible mentors, you'll hear me talk all the time, while I had a mentor telling me this, and a mentor told me that I believe in having mentors, and they've made a huge difference in my life. So I want to start off by talking about what a mentor is, and what a mentor isn't. And I really want to talk about what a mentor isn't, because people use mentors all the time, right? You know, like, I remember being a brand new teacher and getting a mentor teacher and the mentor teacher didn't really do much for me, they show me where the cop, the copy machine was they, they warned me to stay away from that teacher, and you know, that teacher is going to steal your overhead. So you know, mark your overhead and things like that, but they didn't really move my practice forward. And so there's a lot there, a lot of people out there calling themselves mentors, who really aren't mentor.

So I want to tell you what a mentor is not. 

The first thing is a mentor is not a coach, right? So a lot of times, people think, Oh, well, mentors, kind of like a coach, right? No, they're very, very different. You see, a coach is someone who uses a technique, a coaching strategy, you know, Crucial Conversations, or courageous conversations, or cognitive coaching, or some strategy to help you achieve a specific goal. So a coach may not have actually been there themselves, but they're because they're training isn't in the thing you want to accomplish, necessarily, their training is in coaching itself. And so when you get a coach, they are going to use a specific technique to help you achieve a specific goal. A mentor is different. A mentor is someone who has achieved or understands the thing that you're trying to achieve or understand and figure out, they've already figured it out, they have a track record, they have already done the thing that you're trying to do. So they're not using a strategy or a technique, they're using their own experience to support you. And they're not supporting you necessarily for a specific goal. When you have a mentor, it's more of a relationship. And so when you work with a mentor, that relationship lasts long, you know, for a long time, it's not just I'm going to coach you this year. And then once you achieve the goal, you know, good luck, and thanks for working with me. When you have a mentor, you have a relationship that continues and that relationship goes beyond the specific thing you're trying to learn. You know, when you're working with a mentor, you might start working with a mentor for one thing, but as you develop the relationship, their experience, their expertise, can can filter into all different parts of your life that you didn't even realize you needed support with. So a mentor is not just helping you on this one thing, a mentor is really about creating a relationship with someone who has experience and expertise that, that that that gives you guidance, in general about a lot of different things. And I think that's a big difference. A lot of times people think oh, like a mentor is a coach, and I've worked with coaches before and they haven't worked out. Yeah, well, the reason they haven't worked out is because a coach is really applying a technique to help you reach a specific goal, whereas a mentor is more of a relationship. Okay? A mentor is also not a course, a lot of times people will say, Oh, I'm going to take this course from this guru, and they're going to be my mentor, a course is a curriculum, there are specific steps you're doing. And if you do those steps, you know, the idea is that you will achieve the goal. But the course creator may not have a direct relationship with you. They may not understand your circumstances, they may not be there to show you how to take the curriculum and apply it to your specific situation. You say a mentor could teach you a course but if the mentor, but a mentor goes beyond just teaching you material, they're helping you apply it to your specific situation. So again, it's more personal, it's more intimate, it's more supportive, okay? 

A mentorship is not a mastermind. 

So, a lot of times people say, Oh man, I'm a part of a mastermind and I have a mentor right. I've been a part of masterminds before. And a lot of times, the mastermind is led by a guru, somebody you know, an expert, somebody who has achieved what you're trying to achieve. But when you go to a mastermind, the mastermind is set up so that you learn from each other. So even if it's led by Guru, the Guru is there to kind of facilitate the conversations, but I did have a mastermind is you're getting together with like minded people, and you're sharing ideas and giving each other feedback and support and you're learning from each other. Now when that works, you know iron sharpens iron and you're around people who are you know, on the same path as you're on and you can support each other It creates this really good sense of community. When a mastermind doesn't work, it's like the blind leading the blind, right? So you're there, you're trying to figure it out, you think because you join this gurus mastermind, that the Guru is going to be there to support but the Guru is really trying to facilitate conversations. And everybody just wants the guru to share it shed light on them. And so a lot of times people look for mentorships by joining masterminds. masterminds are great for collegiality, they're terrible, if you want specific guidance about your situation from somebody who's been there, okay? So that's what a mentorship is not.

Let's talk about what a mentorship is, okay? So a mentorship is a relationship that you have with someone who has the experience and the expertise you're looking for, right. And when you work with a mentor, the thing is, you're going to you're that person is investing in you right there. It's not a technique or strategy. A lot of times, mentors are not trained on coaching techniques or facilitation strategies. They just are being generous with their time and their support, and they're pouring into you. And that's one of the reasons why I love a mentorship. Because when you are in a in a mentor mentee relationship, then they're there you have your each investing in each other and it lasts for long term, you know, course has a in data mastermind as an end data coaching relationship often has an end date. But when you have a mentor, you develop a relationship that last, possibly for the rest of your life. You know, you can call up a mentor, you can talk to them, they can, they can give you the confidence and the reassurance and the guidance that you need, and they really invest in you. 

Okay, so I'll talk to you about kind of my experience. 

And when I first started thinking about leaving the school system to really take some of the ideas that I was that I developed as a teacher and as an administrator and start trying to figure out how to put them together. I didn't know what I was doing. You've heard that story before, you know, you've heard I quit my job. And I didn't really have anything, you know, kind of lined up, I didn't know how to start a consulting business, nothing. My first mentor was, there were two people. One was a businessman in residence in our school district, our school district was innovative. Our superintendent had a businessman and resident, someone who could bring business ideas into the school system to help us figure out how to be more efficient. And I met him at a conference and we kept in touch. And when I was thinking about leaving my job and thinking about starting a business, I reached out because he was a businessman. And I thought as a business person. And as somebody who understood education, he might give me some guidance about how to start that business. And you've heard me tell the story. You know, I used to buy he I invited him to breakfast, I offered to buy him breakfast. That's really important. Because when you're trying to establish a relationship with a mentor, the mentor is busy, the mentor is out doing the things you want to do or and so you can't just go to someone and say, Hey, listen, I know you don't know me very well. But what do you give me an hour of your time and invest in me without my having made any investment to you? That's kind of that's, that's weird, right? So a lot of times people will reach out to me and they'll say, Hey, I'd love it if you'd be my mentor. But they're not. I mean, we're, I'm busy. I'm running this, I'm doing the podcast. I don't know you why I don't. There's no incentive for me to invest in a stranger, when there are other people I do know and care about who I'm already investing in? Why would I take time away from them to invest in someone I don't know. So you gotta keep that in mind. So we had, you know, a passing relationship. We knew each other. We kept in touch. We met at that conference. I followed up, we kept in touch. And so I asked, I asked him to breakfast. It's what's up? Well, May I buy you breakfast? And so I took off. I took I said you can pick anywhere you want to go. And he picked it up, thank goodness, because I'd have a lot of money back then. And he we went to IHOP. I bought him breakfast. I asked questions. I thanked him for it. I followed up with a thank you note. And he because then because I'd invested in him. He said, anytime you want to do this, I'm happy to support you. He called and checked up on me a couple of days a couple of weeks later to see how I was doing. I told him that, you know, I've gotten this far, but I needed help with this. He said let's have another breakfast, and then we made breakfast a regular thing. And once a month, I would buy him breakfast. He would give me advice. So that is what's our mentor mentee relationship and that went on for For years, and a lot of times the advice he gave me because his experience was so different than mine didn't even relate to what I was trying to do. And because we had a relationship, I could say that, but here's what it did, it expanded my thinking, it helped me see possibilities beyond my very narrow view of the world at the time. And it helped me stretch, it helps me kind of kind of think differently, think, in a way that I hadn't been accustomed to thinking. And that exposure, even if every piece of advice didn't work, that exposure was valuable, he challenged me, he pushed me. And I was able to really begin to think differently. And that was the value of that relationship. The relationship came from, strangely enough apparent.

So I had at the school, you know, been working with a group of parents and developed some relationships with one with several parents. And one of the parents was a venture capitalist, I had never met a venture capitalist before. And again, I started talking to her, and then I invited it, you know, I said, Listen, I'd love to learn more about what you do, may I take you to dinner, so that I can learn more about what you do? Or lunch or buy, you know, something? And so I did. And then I started supporting her, she had questions about how to support kids. And I used to be very careful with, you know, these relationships with parents, a lot of that I didn't really pursue until after I left the school district, but I stayed in touch with her, I would take her to lunch, she poured into me, and it really, it really helped me get on my way. Okay. So that's the kind of that's kind of the baseline mentorship relationship. There are some limitations to that, right? Because even though I was buying them lunch, or taking them to dinner, they were busy people. And so sometimes they wouldn't be able to have lunch with me all the time. And so I'd have to wait. Or I'd ask what you know, I could pick up the phone and call them but I didn't want to wear out my welcome. So, you know, I'd be very strategic about when I called, they did as much for me as they could, but they're very busy people. And I tried to never you serve their time or take advantage of their time, I was trying to be very respectful of their time, and grateful for their time. And then here's the other thing. I tried to do what they told me to do, right, because a lot of times people will will do this, I know that I've done it, you know, because I've benefited from mentors. I'm pretty generous with my time. But I've learned to be a lot more careful about that. Because a lot of times people say, can I take you to lunch? I want to pick your brain, which is such a weird metaphor, right? Like, why would I? Why would I ever submit to getting my brain picked? But that's another story. So I would, I would give my time I tell people to do something and then call me when they did it. They never called again, because they never did the thing that I told them to do. 

Why am I going to invest time giving advice if you're not going to take it? 

Right? So the other thing that I did, I didn't just buy them lunch or breakfast, I also made sure that when they told me to do something, I did it. And I followed up. And that made them want to invest more because I was actually doing what they told me to do. Okay? So first level of mentorship. Just finding someone who knows something you don't know or has experienced something you've yet to experience or it's done something that you want to do, and offer to take them to lunch or dinner, listen, ask a questions, be respectful of their time, do what they tell them, they tell you to do. And that's a great way to get started, right? But sometimes you need a little bit more. So the next level of mentorship I did and actually one of my mentors told me to do this is she said you need to invest in mentors, you need to actually pay money. Now I thought, why would I pay money more than I'm buying you lunch, I'm getting great advice from me. He says, There's a limit to what I can do. You know, I want to support you what I can, but there's some things you want to do. And the best way to learn this and to to accelerate your your learning is to find somebody and pay them to show you how to do it. So the next level of mentor was a paid mentor. So the first couple of paid mentors I got were kind of a mistake, right? So I found people who are doing what I wanted to do. And I enrolled in their programs, right thinking that I was gonna get mentorship. So I bought their courses. And then I took the courses. And then I realized that a lot of times, once you buy their course you don't even see the guru again, right? You just take the course and it's up to you to complete the course and learn it. And while I learned some things, it had a hard time kind of taking that material and making it apply to me and they'd have these q&a sessions and he showed for the q&a sessions and there'd be like 500 other people on the call. And so even if you got your question asked, they give you kind of a quick answer, but they couldn't give you an in depth answer. And so I made the mistake of fusing courses for mentorship, training for mentorship, they're very different. And it's value and training and their value and courses. But it's not mentorship, right? So I made that mistake. Don't make that mistake if you want a mentor because you want the relationship, it's hard to find in a course now I do know people who have taken courses and they become the star student, so that the course creator begins to invest in them more because they're a star student. And so you can get mentorship going that route. I never did it because I wanted, I didn't want to have to do all of that in order to get the relationship, right. So I wanted the relationship quickly.

So the next thing I did was I joined a mastermind, and I've never paid that much money for anything in my life, it was a huge investment 1000s of dollars. And I was nervous about making that investment. Because I had had such a bad experience, you know, trying to get mentorship from courses, and I thought, Okay, well, I'll just maybe need to spend more money. And I invested in a mastermind now, but I wasn't a master. The first mastermind I was in I was in for three years, I was making a five figure investment in that mastermind every single year, plus traveling to the mastermind retreats, plus getting on the mastermind calls every single week. It's a huge investment of time and money. And I got a lot of benefit from it. I mean, I was in the room with people that I wouldn't have been in the room with otherwise, I learned so much. I made lifelong friendships, business contacts, relationships, it was run by a guru who I learned a lot from, it was a good experience. It wasn't a mentorship. And so after being in the mastermind for three years, and still wanting that, that that support that helped that relationship from somebody who had been where I wanted to be someone who could show me how to apply it to my business, I realized I wasn't getting it being in a mastermind is great. I learned from the people around me. But they weren't mentoring me, right. So I was giving a lot to in the mastermind, they were learning from me as well, I was sharing as well. And so it was a great experience wasn't a mentorship. 

So the next thing I did is I said I need a mentor. 

And I didn't know it at the time, I didn't know to call it a mentor, but I just I want somebody who's going to work directly with me. And so I hired a coach, consultant. Worst money ever spent, you got to be careful about the people you invite to pour into your life, you got to make sure it's a good fit, you got to make sure that these people are invested in you rather than their own program. And that's the thing about having a coach, a coach has a strategy, a technique. And when you when you invest in a coach, you're investing in their strategy and their technique, and you have to submit to their strategy and their technique. It's it, and then you have to figure it out, right. And if you don't do it, the coach can can if you get the wrong coach, they can make you feel shamed, because you're not applying what they're learning. They can tell you, you know, it's subtle. Sometimes it's like, well, listen, this is the strategy. I know it works. I've been coaching you, if you can't make it work that's on you, you know, they do stuff like that. Anyway, worst money ever spent. I spent a year and a half with this coach, and I tried to do what she was telling me to do. But she would, you know, she'd always kind of subtly put me down, I lost confidence in what I was doing. Because I had to do it exactly the way that she was telling me to do it, or it just wasn't going to work, never tried to adjust. I spent a lot of money I'm talking about again, five figures of money just pouring down the drain for somebody who was making me feel worse about myself instead of better for somebody who was not helping me grow. And instead was trying to make me conform to what they want it. So you got to be really careful about who you let in your life. But I learned a valuable lesson for that. And that is that when you're looking for a mentor, not everybody's going to be a good fit for you.

You need somebody who wants to have a relationship with you, who wants to get to know who you are, who wants to help you figure out how to make it work for you. You want to feel better when you get off the call with that person than you did when you get on not worse. You want to feel you want to have more clarity when you finish talking to them, not less. You want to make sure that the person that you invite into your your world your professional life is somebody who is invested in you more than they're invested in their system. Right. So don't do that worst money ever spent and the day that I fired her. Oh was the day that I ended our relationship. I can't call it firing her. But the day that I terminated our relationship, I felt immediate relief, my team felt immediate relief, because they were seeing what was happening to me too. And that was not getting better was getting worse. And it's harder for me to make decisions. I started doubting myself. It was, so I felt such relief. And here's the really important thing. 

This is the difference between a coach and a mentor. 

The day that I terminate the relationship was the day the relationship was over, right? The day that I said, Okay, I don't, this isn't working for me. It was over. She was done, she was ready to move on to the next client. What do you have a mentor, the mentor recognizes, hey, listen, it's not that I've given you as much as I can, I'm still here if you need me. But you're ready, you're ready to go. The mentor doesn't kill the relationship just because the relationship is shifting, and you may not need them as much anymore. The mentors still invested in you, the mentor still following up with you, the mentor, you can go back to a mentor anytime you want. With the coach. Not so right. And a lot of at least that's been my experience. Okay. So that was that was the mistake I made from that relationship. And I said, Okay, I need to be a lot more selective, right? Because here's the mistake that I made. When I think back on it, I was feeling insecure about something I didn't know, I was facing some challenges. I didn't know how to solve them. Someone came along and said, hey, I can solve the challenges for you. And I was like, Great, thank you. Here's my money helped me solve the challenge. But I didn't look at where that person was or what that person was teaching and examine for myself, would this be a solution to the problem. And that was a mistake I made. And it wasn't until I wasted an entire year, because I invested in someone who was interested in pushing their agenda, rather than helping me solve my agenda. And that was a mistake that I hope I never make again. So from there, I said, Forget it. No more coaches for a while I can't, you know, I'm wasting money. I'm just going to figure it out myself. But I hit another snag, I needed some more support. I was figuring it out myself. And it was taking so long for me to figure it out myself. And that's why you get a mentor, because they've already figured it out. And they can show you how to figure it out in a short period of time, or you could take 10 years and figure it out yourself just like they did. Why would I do that. And so eventually, there was a challenge that I was facing. And I met someone on line, someone who was writing and I really loved her writing and, and what she was saying resonated with me. And I reached out and she had a program that was kind of a mentorship. And I reached out. And I said I have become interested in your program. I'm having the same challenge. I love how you're solving it. I'd love to learn from you. It's just a great, let's get on a call. Then I got you know, I set up a call. And then something happened. I forgot it didn't get on my calendar missed the call. So embarrassed. I wrote this long note and said, I'm really sorry, I can't believe I did that. I'm so sorry. I missed the call. I've scheduled another call. I missed it again. Now. I was mortified. And here's why I was mortified. Because that has happened to me where people have reached out and said, hey, could we hop on a call? I don't hop on calls anymore for this reason, because a lot of times people don't take it seriously. There's no skin in the game for them. And so they come in, they waste your time, right? So. And I knew that I knew what that was like, I was mortified. I was just like, You know what, listen, I'm so mortified. I'm so ashamed. She was cool. She said, Listen, it's obviously not the right time for you. Whenever it is the right time to reach out again, I'm here. That's the difference between a coach and a mentor. 

And that told me something about working with this person. 

And six months later, I did reach out again. And I started working with her last year, and game changer. She was amazing. She poured into me she worked with her for an entire year. And once I finished you know after she'd finished mentoring me and the thing I was learning how to do and we were doing it successfully. She released me gracefully. And then she told me Listen, if you ever need anything else, I'm always here. And if it's okay with you, I'd love to follow up with you every once in a while check in because I'm excited about where you're going. That's a mentor. That's someone I will work with and have a relationship with for the rest of my life. And that relationship morphs and changes but the relationship is there. Another person I was I was struggling with something and that we were hitting kind of a low point. And I was listening to a podcast and I heard someone talking about the thing I was struggling with. And they gave some advice on the podcast, and I applied it. And then it worked. And so I hunted them down on and I found them on LinkedIn. And I sent them a message on LinkedIn. And I said, Listen, I heard you on this podcast on this date. You said X, Y, and Z. I did XY and Z. And I got these results. And I just wanted to thank you. He said, he wrote back immediately, he said, That's incredible. I'd love to learn more about what you do. Would you like to hop on a call? Yeah. And so we made arrangements for a call, we had a half an hour call. Again, I was very respectful of his time, appreciative, I asked questions. He gave me such value. I mean, I took pages of notes during the call. I was like, this has been incredible. I'm so grateful. And then he said, Hey, listen, I'm doing a program. Next week. Normally, it cost $10,000. To for anybody to join. But I'd like for you to come as my guest. If you can get to where I am in in two weeks, then you can come as my guest. Now, I was busy. I was slammed I had tons of stuff to do. I said yes, immediately, because I was getting so much value. I canceled everything. I bought a ticket at the last minute spent way more for the ticket than I wanted to. It was someplace that was not easy for me to get to in another country. I flew there. And once I called her to say I've got my ticket confirmed. I'm going to be there on this date. He said, Great. I'll tell you what, because you're coming. And because you're going through such expense to get here. Why don't we have coffee when you arrive? And then I can tell you a little bit about the event. And you know, give me some more support? Yeah, so I got there. We met for coffee. We talked, then I went to the event. And this is really important. I was a star student sat in the front row, I took notes, I raised my hand and ask questions. I wanted him to know that his gift of letting me be at that event was not going to be wasted. Now, let's contrast that with an experience I had I had someone and I, you know, wanted some support. I said, you know, absolutely. She tried a couple of things that I'd shared at a training. I was like, this is someone I can pour into. So I invited her as my guest to an event I think was a builder's lab. Everyday she came late. She sat there on her computer during the day doing other stuff. The last day, I think she came like after lunch. That's somebody I'm going to continue to pour into no I felt so I felt like I just wasted time and money on somebody pouring into somebody who wasn't who wasn't valuing what I was, was giving them that's really important. If you're working with a mentor, if they give you some advice, or they give you support, or they give you time you've got the value that they get is seeing you take what they're doing, and what they're telling you to do and apply it. So if somebody gives you a free, you know, slot at a conference, sit in the front row, take notes, raise your hand, be the star student, if somebody gives you time for a coffee, take the advice that they've given, apply it follow up, that is what will make people want to invest in you don't waste people's time. So that's what I did. He saw that and he says, You know what? I believe in what you're doing. I believe in how you are supporting educators you need to meet are the president of our company. Can you stick around for a little bit and I'll call him and I'm gonna have him drive up. He was in another city. I'm gonna have him drive up to me two hour drive. Are you kidding me? Yes. So I stick around. The president of the company comes He's late. I just wait. I'm not even mad because I can't believe that they're doing this. He comes and sits down. He says, Okay, sit down with me. Since I'm starving, let's get something to eat. We go to dinner. We talked for two hours. And then for the next three years, this person became my mentor. This person invested in me, this person invested in my team, and it was a game changer for me. I learned so much. In fact, I've learned so much personally that I use this now and I teach it to educators with his permission. The things that he's taught me, I now have taken it made it work for educators, and it's been game changing for the educators that I serve. It all started because I listened to something a podcast applied what the person taught me on the podcast and reached out and showed them that and then got on a call showed interest and was eager to do what they did. We have a relationship with this person is poured into me and invested in me and I've invested Didn't them. And so that one too, okay, now this person is a program, we invested in the program, we participate in the program, I can pick up the phone and call this person when I'm stuck that get me unstuck. When the pandemic happened a couple of years ago, we were trying to figure things out, he was getting on calls with us and helping us figure it out. We didn't have to do it by ourselves. 

And that's the thing about having a mentor. 

And then this year, I've had two really incredible mentors. I'm working with mentor now. And he has been incredible. And again, he said, Listen, you know, we can do lunch. But I also have this program and you know, you, you'd have to fly to where I am. And it's this investment. And it's one day, but you can do it. I look, yes, fine. I didn't have the money. We went looked under couch cushions, we found the money, we sent him the money we got on a plane, we spent a day in his office working with him. And that day has saved us a year's worth of work. I am not exaggerating with that. Sitting down and learning his systems and his processes saved us a year of having to figure that out ourselves. And again, it's a relationship. He's texting me and checking on us and seeing how we're doing, I'm asking questions, he's sending us more stuff. When you have the right mentor, and you invest in the mentor first, that a mentor begins to invest into you. And when the mentor begins to invest in you, that mentor saves you years of trial and error, they've already paid that that tax, they've already done the work, they've already gone through the trial and error, they save you that so that you don't have to figure it out yourself. So hopefully, my experience today is helped you think about why you might need a mentor. You want to find someone who has the experience, or the expertise and an area that you're doing someone who's figured out a problem you are trying to figure out, find that person, and then invest if they have a program, invest in their program, if it and then get to know them.

Now, again, if it's a course or something like that, no, that that's not mentorship, right? But if they are, if they have a program, or like they're saying like they say here, you you know, for this price, you can get a day of my time, and I'll give you everything you need spend it. If they say hey, I have a mentorship program, you invest this amount, I do these things for you spend the money, do that work, and then do the work, right? No, you spending the money and then not doing the work and invest in a mentor. Because when you do, I can just tell you from experience, there's so many things that I was struggling with and trying to figure it out on my own. And as educators, that's what we do, right? We're DIY people, because we often have to be, but when I sit down with a mentor who's already figured it out, and they say, oh, all you have to do is this, this and this. And here's the system I use, I'm like, What, are you kidding me? They spent the time doing that. And they already figured it out. They know how to do it, why wouldn't you take their advice and apply it? And then I apply what they told me to do. And it works. And then I'm like, Are you kidding me? I could have spent 510 years figuring this out on my own, you've already figured it out. You've given me the system. Thank you. So I now believe in mentorship above everything else. And that's one of the reasons why build a ship university. When we built it, we built it as a mentorship. And we did that because, you know, in the past, we've created courses or do workshops. And the thing that's always been frustrating to me is that people get the information and then they have to go off and apply themselves and I want to be there to support them. I almost to this sometimes, I don't know, I think you this is a strength. But some people say well, you know, you can't scale if you do this. I'm not interested in scaling in the same way anymore. What I love about builders ship university now is that as a mentorship, I am getting to know people individually, getting to know their situation and their school, we have office hours, people come on and tell their situation and their story. And I'm getting to know them as individuals and taking the builder Ship Model and showing it how to work for them as individuals. It's been so rewarding. And then here's the reward for me when people actually apply it and it works. 

I am personally proud. I'm personally excited. 

This is how I want to end my career, right? I have benefited so much from mentors over the year, that now I want to be mentors for others and I don't want to mentor everybody, right? If you're not going to do the work if you're not going to put it you know, put in the work that you need to do to Make the systems that I know work, work, but the we're not a good fit. If you're not as passionate about your school as I am about you, like I can't want you to succeed more than you want to succeed, like, you've got to want to succeed too. It's not a good fit. But if you are, if you're passionate about what you're doing, if you believe that every child can be successful in your school, if you are willing to take the systems and the tools and apply it to your school, and when they don't work quite the way you want them to work, you're you come back and and and you raise the issues and we figure it out to get that I love. If you're interested in a relationship, not transactional, give me what I need. And I'm moving on, but you want a relationship that is like, perfect, right? You're the perfect fit for builders should be University.

Now, if you don't want those things, but you still want a mentor, but the builders should be university might not be a good fit for you. And that's okay, too. The thing is, get a mentor. And if you don't have the finances, yet to be able to invest in a program, like build a ship University, then start by taking advantage of a lot of the free things we have, because we're designing even our free things to be many mentorships so that you get a taste of what that is you get that start that Jumpstart. And then also find other people find people in your school system outside of your school system, who know what you don't know yet who have done what you haven't done yet, and that you want to do, and start investing in the relationship and cultivating those mentorships I'm telling you, it is a game changer. You can either, you know, fool around and figure it out for yourself. Or you can invest in a mentorship relationship, so that you can accelerate your performance and then get better faster so that you can serve more people faster. That's really how you 10x Your ability to serve like a builder. I'll talk to you next time.

Hey, if you're ready to get started being a builder right away, then I want to invite you to join us at builder ship University. It's our exclusive online community for builders just like you where you'll be able to get the exact training that you need to turn your school into a success story right now with the people and resources you already have. Inside. You'll find our best online courses, live trainings with me tons of resources, templates and exemplars and monthly live office hours with me where you can ask me anything and get my help on whatever challenge you're facing right now. If you're tired of hitting obstacle after obstacle and you're sick of tiny little incremental gains each year, if you're ready to make a dramatic difference in your school right now, then you need to Join builders ship University. Just go to build a ship and get started writing your school success story today

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