One of the biggest mistakes I made when I started as an entrepreneur is that I tried to do it all alone. No mentors, no friends and no guidance. I would sit in Starbucks, only be productive for an hour or two and sulk for the rest of the hours. The time that could have been invested in other areas of my life. Sometimes, I would even be ‘proud’ of that fact that I spent a whole day ‘hustling’.
You often hear: ‘all you need is to hustle’. That’s rubbish. Hustle isn’t the answer. You and I are all cognitive misers and our behaviour is influenced by our environment more than you think. This isn’t a one-man battle. You can’t win the war alone. You’ll require the accountability and people to fall back on when times get tough.
You and I are human beings. We’re social animals and we’re all evolved to socialize in groups. This why you cliques, groups, networks and closely knitted social circles exist. Especially so in Asian culture. You also eventually need people to bounce ideas from, to get feedback from and to talk about your problems.
Getting good at seeking out mentors or like-minded individuals is extremely important, whether if you’re in University, work or starting out your own business. Friendship and relationships are an area of life that you must constantly cultivate. If you find a bunch of friends who are ready to learn, open to criticism and new ideas, you’re more likely to find guaranteed success along the way.
Surrounding Yourself with the Mentors and the Right People
You’ll need to audit who you spend your time around with. If you’re always spending your time around people who don’t have much of a life going for them, then, needless to say, you’re not going to have much of your own.
If on my site because you want to get better at social skills with women, then it’s important for you to surround yourself with people that have better communication skills than you. If you’re hanging out with someone who is constantly leeching, using slimy pick up artist techniques, you may find yourself doing the same behaviour after awhile. There’s a HUGE difference in being around someone who relies on short-term strategies, and someone that understands the principles of communication. This is demonstrated as the peer group effect.
I realized that I get along with people better who are constantly actively looking for constructive criticism. In any area of your life, if you want to grow, you’ll need to constantly seek feedback to better your progress. If you spend your time around people who don’t actively seek out constructive criticism, you’ll find yourself shying away from that as well.
How to Create Value, Network and Get Mentors
When you’re out seeking out mentors or peers that you desire, you need to understand that relationships take time and effort. When you in University or at work, your social relationships are a product of circumstances. You don’t really consciously ‘work’ on your relationships. You just assume they are just going to be there forever.
However, assuming you want to meet people outside your work or University, relationships are going to require conscious effort. This goes the same with relationships both girls, guys, potential business partners and etc.
- The Important Question: How can YOU Value add To Their Life?
When I was at University, social connections are valued. It wasn’t technical skillsets, knowledge or work ethic. However, in the real world, almost everyone ranging from entrepreneurs to business owners look for people with skill sets or work ethic.
Let’s take school for an example, why should a University let you in if you DO NOT have value or the results they require?
If you aren’t model good looking, happen to have a rich father and got no assets, no skills, no business, no nothing, you’re a pair of legs with close to nothing to offer, your value to the world is glitch zero.
You’re not going to differentiate yourself from the hundreds of others that graduated from in the same University as you did.
The simple method to create be of value to anybody is to always ask yourself: how can I be of value to others?
You need to bring minimally something to the table. This can come in the form of connections, invites to events, or minimally the ability to make others feel good about themselves.
- No Skillsets? Simple, Just Listen
Okay, Marcus, good for you, you started a business, can rant off on how to start investing, travelled half the world… BUT… what about me? What if you are just starting out and don’t have any other skill sets that others might value?
Okay, that’s NOT an excuse either.
It’s really not that hard, networking and finding mentors can be as easy as reaching out through email and getting their advice or a particular subject. You’ll be surprised and how many successful people want you to succeed as well.
The majority of successful people are too busy to get coffee with a stranger that emailed them. However, if you put in effort by putting their needs first, taking their advice, following up on that advice and then telling them what you got out of their advice, then you’re one step to actually getting them out for coffee.
If you get to the point of getting him or her out for coffee, then it’s as SIMPLE as paying attention to him or her. Get advice and ask questions. If your mentor is talking about relationships, it’s obvious that what is on her mind is about relationships and you can say something to empathize with him or her. One of the best ways to connect with someone is to share a similar experience that happened to you. In an authentic manner and NOT a condescending manner.
You’ll be surprised that the MAJORITY of people do NOT pay any attention to these tiny details of asking questions, making someone more successful than you feel good.
It’s not impossible.
You can learn conversational skillsets such as actively listening, how to get people to open up, how to compliment others, empathize with others and make them laugh. These basic conversational skillsets can be your basic value-add to anyone, that can be used across cultures, anywhere, any part of the world.
If you got nothing to your name, the minimal you can do is make someone feel good. It’s rare to find someone who’s willing to listen to their problems without judgement. If you don’t bring anything to the table or constantly being obnoxious, then, needless to say, no one’s going to bother getting coffee with you. Everyone likes to be appreciated and listened to, everyone enjoys laughter, everyone hates condescending people.
- Either that, go build a skillset:
I’m always amazed at how entitled people can be when it comes to acquiring skillsets. If you graduated from a non-technical degree, you probably don’t have a monetizable skillset that employers require. I observed it a lot of my peers. They graduated from a prestigious University, thinking their degree is going to be enough and that justifies why someone should network or connect with them.
Nothing wrong with getting a degree in a prestigious University, however, at the end of the day, companies need to make money.
So what if you graduated with a masters in business? If you can’t generate leads, customers and cash, your degree is worthless.
If you’re wondering, I got my first paying client far before graduating from University. I didn’t go any seeding capital, didn’t rent a fancy office, or had any business partners. I started my businesses as a one-man show, in a 4 room housing estate flat in Singapore.
How did I do it as a 22 year old entrepreneur? I paid thousands of dollars for mentors, training and acquired skillsets. Here are couple of skillsets I invested thousands of dollars into to create value for others and myself:
I can go on.
However, the point is, there are heaps of Youtube videos, free content published on the internet. There’s NO reason that you are not able to cultivate a skillset to be of value for people more successful than you are.
Here’s what I look in a Mentee or in MY Relationships
I’m always constantly looking to better my behaviour by surrounding myself with better people in my own network.
I pay a lot of attention to the language that people use in their conversations. The words they use, what they talk about, and how they present it. Through this, I can roughly figure out a green or red light if I wanted to be around that particular person.
What someone says can reveal a lot about their character, their values, their hopes, fears and goals in their lives.
Look, I’m not saying that everyone is perfect, however, you should always strive to be around someone that has better behaviour than you.
I am a mentor to my clients as a dating coach, some times as an entrepreneur. I am a busy person. I don’t have time for bullshit. If I’m hanging out anyone, I do not just want/need to hear about YOUR problems. I want it to be a two way, enriching conversation.
Here are some things I look out for:
- No matter how good looking, hot, or rich someone is, if there’s no minimal respect and boundaries for one another in a relationship, it’s a huge red flag for me. If someone crosses my boundaries, I’m not going to enjoy being around you at all.
- I naturally don’t get along well with people who can’t empathize in a conversation. If he or she is only able to converse about him or herself and isn’t capable of making it a two-way conversation, it’s an equivalent of social waterboarding for me. I switch off almost immediately.
- The two of the most important traits of a relationship I value is accountability and reliability. The functionality of a relationship is important. Simple actions like texting back on time, being accountable to plans, showing up on time, being reliable when you’ve delegated a task at work, being accountable for your actions, not forgetting about the business deal you made with someone else and etc. These are the tiny actions that go a long way to make sure no one feels double-crossed. They go a long way to make other people around you feel safe and trusted. You got to be around people that make you happy if you want to be able to do well with girls, at work or just about any pursuit in life.
From personal observation, the majority of people take their relationships for granted. They assume that their relationships are always going to be there, that’s because these relationships are built out of social circumstances: University or work. Hence, they never put in an effort to cultivate a ‘value-added’ mindset. It’s about them, them and them.
When you’re meeting someone who is more successful than you in any area of life, don’t be an asshole, be appreciative and listen to him or her when he speaks. Nobody gives a fuck about YOUR problems (less your parents). It’s NOT about YOU.