At a very young age I decided I wanted to be financially free. It was an ambitious goal for a poor kid from the country. But I knew I had to get out of the cycle of poverty around me… and the way to do that was to save money and to grow it by investing.
After saving a small sum, I knew I was ready to invest. So with the eye of the tiger and fire in my young veins, I started investing in the stock market like there was no tomorrow.
Mind you, there was little preparation on my part. I just dove in to the deep end, convinced that I would see a bulging bank account within weeks. I was ready to be wealthy. Come on baby!
After a short period of investing I looked at my financial statement, and lo and behold….
I had made absolutely no progress.
Except for a few transaction fees that my broker had charged me and a tiny dividend from one of my stocks, my net worth looked exactly the same as before.
What was I doing wrong, I wondered? I’d read a few articles on investing. I’d even watched part of a TV special about investing. What was I missing?
Then it dawned on me: I had no experience with investing. Everything I was doing was just shooting from the hip. No plan. I was running off pure assumption.
This initial experience with investing was very educational for me.
Since I didn’t have any knowledge, I didn’t know which steps I needed to take in order to get to where I needed to go. But I knew that if I didn’t take any steps, I’d never become financially free.
I needed help. I needed someone to teach me. I needed a mentor and I decided to seek one out.
I remembered reading something about Warren Buffett in one of the articles I’d read and it was obvious that he was a very successful investor. And although Warren Buffett would have never mentored me had I had an opportunity to ask him, I made him mentor me. How did I do that? I made him my virtual mentor.
I started reading everything I could about him and his style of investing…to the point of obsession. Yes, every article, every interview and every book. I read them all. Sometimes four or five times. I was determined to be financially free. Fast forward to today and everything I learned during those days of deep study of a master of investing, paid off in a big way for me financially.
One of the best decisions I ever made was to seek experienced help. I saw a dramatic increase in success after I started getting that guidance. You see, successful people do indeed leave clues about how they are successful. Yet, many people don’t know where to find the clues to be massively successful. The key is modeling those who are successful in the specific area of life that you also want to be successful in.
As my wealth grew in those early years, I repeatedly sought out virtual mentorships to accelerate my progress and I’ve boiled the system I used down to a formula that is repeatable. This strategy works extremely well for developing yourself personally and professionally. Here are the four steps to starting a virtual mentorship and growing the most from the relationship.
Step 1. Before you find someone to model, you must determine what it is that you most want in life. You must define what success looks like for you. The more specific you are, the better. It is also important that you write it down. Keep asking yourself, “What do I want?” then write it down. Also, ask yourself, “Why do I want it?” Because success must be on your own terms. If you are reaching for things in life for the wrong reasons, you will feel unfulfilled once you’ve obtained it. It must be your dream, not anyone else’s.
Step 2. Model the best. Seek out the absolute top person in the field that you want to master and make that person your virtual mentor. There’s no sense in settling on someone second best. After all, if you want to go the moon, why would you choose a middle manager at NASA to mentor you? You wouldn’t. Go to the top and model that person.
Step 3. Study everything about them. One of the most powerful ideas I’ve ever heard was when I read these words, “Success leaves clues.” Do you understand what that means? If you can learn the methods that someone else used to succeed, then you can do the same thing! Tony Robbins said in his bestselling book Unlimited Power, “If you want to achieve success, all you need to do is find a way to model those who have already succeeded.”
Step 4. Don’t question them, question yourself. If you read enough material about a successful person, you’ll inevitably come across people who second guess them. These arm chair quarterbacks see the clues left by someone more successful than them but decide to ignore them, thinking they know better. This is a recipe for failure. When being virtually mentored, it’s better to question yourself than the mentor. After all, who has the experience and who doesn’t? Remember, you are there to learn. As you face different obstacles on the road to success, ask yourself this question – what would my mentor do here? Keep doing what they would do until it becomes second nature.
In today’s networked, information-at-your-fingertips world, being mentored virtually is not only possible, it’s necessary. While traditionalists may believe that “real” mentoring is only carried out face-to-face, I can tell you that you that the benefits of virtual mentoring are real and tangible. Success leaves clues.
People who produce outstanding results do specific things to create those results. If you precisely duplicate the actions of others, you are very likely to reproduce the same quality of results that they had.
Whose success clues are you studying? Whose success model are you duplicating? To find the clues of success, start with your own dream and define it in great detail. Then find someone who’s already done it, and learn what you must do by modeling them. Then do it.
Be free. Nothing else is worth it.