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3 Reasons Why You Need a Mentor

3 Reasons Why You Need a Mentor
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Why is it that our parents typically invest in our sporting, musical and educational careers, but then not so much in helping us in life, careers or business?

Remember those piano or guitar lessons you loved or hated? Were you forced to go to tennis lessons?

Maybe your parents wanted you to be the next Tiger Woods, Roger Federer or Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, or maybe they simply just wanted you to learn how to swim. Whatever their intention, it was most likely a good intention unless your father was Damir Dokic, or Andre Agassi’s father. They wanted you to be better at something. This coaching process seems to stop and very few continue on throughout life with a coach or mentor of some sort.

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I wish I had more cricket coaching when I was younger! “If only” is a popular phrase!

I remember spending hours in the nets practising the wrong things and not improving my skill, until I engaged a professional batting coach too late in my career. As a result, I don’t believe I reached my cricketing potential and I have to live with that!

Here are three reasons why you need a mentor right now.

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    1. Achieve your potential

    We can only self-teach so much! A solid mentor or teacher can provide us with information we need to send us on the right track faster.

    In order to grow and achieve our potential, we need help from experts we trust, admire and respect. It might be a mentor, a coach, paid or unpaid, or someone we look up to who has the experience and passion to help us improve. We can’t learn everything ourselves via trial and error; life’s too short.

    At age 25 in 2004, I engaged my first business mentor for $300/hour as I saw the value in learning and fast tracking my learning from someone in my industry. I’ve always invested in my education, because I highly value each titbit of information I gain, which I believe is the best long-term investment you can make.

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    2. Gain the tools before you need them!

    I’ve seen a psychotherapist for 10 years to help me be better at life and handle a raft of issues, even when times are good! It’s better to have the tools ready for when times are bad. I have the tools to handle most situations and if I get stuck, I know who to call on.

    Most people invest in their physical wellbeing (i.e. at the gym), but not necessarily their emotional and psychological wellbeing, for which I am a big advocate. Both are equally important.

    3. Don’t stand still or risk moving backwards!

    Knowledge lasts a lifetime and gives you the tools today to be better from now onwards. People who don’t learn tend to stand still and only have knowledge and experience from their past. Information from the past also poses the risk of becoming out-dated so arguably these people are in fact moving backwards!

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    If you want the answer to how to reach your potential, then get a coach or a mentor and always have one. I’d expect to have made many more runs had I learned how to bat properly from a younger age.

    Featured photo credit: photo credit:

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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