1. The best Yoda is one you trust and aspire to be. Emulate them and‘successful, you will become.’
Make sure that your Yodas (or mentors) are in a position that you want to be in one day. Are they successful professionally? More importantly, are they successful personally?
Did they achieve a great work/life balance? Are some of their past accomplishments your future goals? Can you trust them? Do you enjoy their company? Can they offer you constructive criticism so that they can help you to seek continuous improvement?
It is extraordinarily rare for an executive to rise to the top of any organization or for any entrepreneur to be wildly successful without many mentors. Hewlett mentored Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs paid it forward too by mentoring Marc Benioff from Salesforce, which is now the largest employer here in San Francisco.
2. The best Yoda is often your spouse; ‘listen, you must.’
Behind almost every single successful business person is a great spouse. You are a team and you have likely only gotten to where you are in life because of their mentoring. Listen to them and thank them often as they are also one of your Yodas. I often read my emails that I am composing to my wife Christine before sending them. Her feedback always rocks.
Your spouse knows what makes you happy in business. Remind them often what your business passions are. In return, they will remind you what you love in life and reinforce and hence help guide and remind you what you are on this earth to accomplish in business. What is your purpose?
Your spouse is your ultimate confidant and life coach. Only your spouse can tell you if what you are wearing went out of style 80 years ago! Only your spouse can tell you that you sound too arrogant when practicing a corporate presentation.
Only your spouse can remind you why you wanted to work in the industry you currently work in. Only your spouse can help you achieve your long term goals. So thank your spouse often as you will never get a better life coach / Yoda.
3. The best Yodas believe that ‘give and receive, you shall.’
This statement has been true since the beginning of time; those that are generous with their time and mentor others are much more successful than those that are not. Why? First of all, it is the right thing to do as others helped you to get to where you are today, but by mentoring others you also reinforce your core beliefs and remind yourself what the drivers of success are.
I am so honored and so humbled to be on the board of a wonderful charity called the LEMO Foundation, whose mission is to eradicate poverty through scholarships to those that are less fortunate. LEMO’s core mission statement is brilliant: “Don’t expect to accomplish your dreams unless you help others accomplish their dreams.” I love that; so prophetic and so true!
Some call it karma and others call it paying it forward. Everyone should seek mentors and mentor others; you will be much more successful in the long run if you practice what you preach.
People are flattered when you ask them to mentor you. They almost always say yes when you ask them. Ask and you shall receive mentors. They will help you achieve your goals in life.
More importantly, there is nothing more satisfying in life than watching people that you mentor become incredibly successful. This is worth repeating: “Don’t expect to accomplish your dreams unless you help others accomplish their dreams.”