The Power Of A Good Mentor & Recruiting A Personal Board

I love driving my car. I’ve had it around 18 months after a 13 year hiatus, and it’s opened up my world. I love the freedom it provides. There’s nothing like good music on the stereo, the sun shining, and the feeling of joy it provides. But what I don’t love are the long car journeys. Planned holiday style road trips are fun, but when you’re driving solo and all you’ve got is the voice of google maps for company (which incidentally was speaking to me today in an unrecognisable European language), it’s just not as fun. I find the process of staring ahead, trying not to miss the exits (which I often do), tedious.

I probably have a 2 hour-drive ‘comfort limit’, I can chuck on my Spotify Discovery playlist, send a few Whatsapp voice notes, and before I know it, i’ve reached destination X. Preferably a few minutes before the original time Google Maps had predicted, which makes me feel a teensy bit smug.

It’s great though, when a perceived drag of a situation knocks out some well managed, good use of time. A few months ago, my parents moved from being a 2-3 hour drive away, to being a 5-7 hour drive depending on traffic. It would be fair to say I’ve been dreading the drives, and if you get caught in rush hour you’re going to need a lot more than a Spotify playlist and a possible Swedish or Norwegian interpreter for company.

Travelling recently, I was treated to some serious inspiration. I’ve seen that one of my favourite productivity and performance guru’s Tim Ferriss has been promoting his new book, Tribes of Mentors: Short Advice from the Best In The World. I imagine it is a book that has worked it’s way into many hands as a Christmas gift. The amount of times I drone on about Tim Ferriss i’m surprised it didn’t work it’s way into mine…

Anyway, just over a year ago, a friend I bonded with over our shared fandom of Tim, was a big fan of his podcast. I love his books and videos, and I kept meaning to listen but you know how it goes. We only have so much capacity to action the recommendations from others right? But it FINALLY popped into my mind at exactly the right time that I needed this, so I searched for his podcast and gave it a go.

In almost 24 hours I have listened to nearly 5 hours of really good interviews, insights and inspiration from The Tim Ferriss Show interviewing a variety of engaging leaders and mentors, who he himself has been inspired by over the years.

And one of them is the reason why I’m writing this post today.

If you don’t know him, M. Sanjayan (@msanjayan) is a global conservation scientist specialising in how nature preserves and enhances human life. He is the CEO for Conservation International and is a global leader for environment issues. He has fronted documentaries for PBS, BBC, Discovery, and Showtime and is a great voice of authority for the art of storytelling, communications and ‘getting shit done’ (his words).

M.Sanjayan talks about something that i’d not come across before which I think is slightly short of genius, and it resonated with me a lot.

I’m often relaying back the Jim Rohn quote: You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with…” which I first heard back in 2013 when I discovered Scott Dinsmore’s amazing Ted Talk on how to find and do work you love. Tim Ferriss himself often references this quote too, and so it was apt to hear M.Sanjayan talk to Tim about how he puts this concept into action, raising his performance through surrounding himself by good people – often people who are better or more successful than he is.

Have you ever thought about how you could do that though? Short of networking, spending less time with certain people and investing more time into those who inspire you; M.Sanjayan blew the lid on his secret for success.

He hires a personal ‘Board’ – like a board of non-exec directors for your company, but a board for your personal life and personal achievements. A board of mentors, if you will. M.Sanjayan says he approached 5 senior leaders, people who he aspired to be more like, or whom he thought he could never compete with. Leaders from a variety of industries and areas of business. He expected a few to turn him down, but all 5 said yes. Some even asked him to return the favour.

He meets with his personal board 2-3 times a year – buying then breakfast when he’s in their city; and for an hour gets their advice on major things like how best to answer job interview questions or how to deal his way gracefully out a crisis.

In addition, Tim added something along the lines about spending more time with someone who is in your field but is way more successful than you… someone who is in a different field at the same level as you (who knows about different things to do) and someone from your old field, who was way better than you.

I suppose there is some logic to that.

So if you’re spending the holidays thinking about how you can make 2018 a bigger and better year for you personally, professionally, and beyond; then have a listen to the following inspiring podcasts (perhaps to kill time on a long drive home from new years or whilst you’re making breakfast on Jan 1st!).

And if you’re keen to offer your services as a personal board member (or you’d like to hire your first personal board!) you can head over to the new Purpose Driven Network Facebook Group that I created, and say Hi! (it’s a small community at the moment as it’s just started, but we’d love to have you join us…)

Happy New Year.

Enjoy x

Managing Procrastination, Predicting the Future & Finding Happiness with Tim Urban from Wait, but Why

Overcoming Doubt, Battling the Busy Trap & Enhancing Life with M.Sanjayan

In Pursuit of Your Why (Tony Robbins w/James Alutucher on Purpose, Hunger and how to create a compelling future)

Are You A Wantrepreneur? Noah Kagan explains the 3 ways you can become a real entrepreneur (instead of just thinking about it)

The Stoic, The Alpha, The Know It All (Lewis Howes on the 9 Masks Men wear that sabotage long term happiness – which is also relevant to women)

If you’re interested in offering your time to social entrepreneurs who are working hard to make the world and their communities a better place through business, then check out _SocialStarters. From April 2018 we’ll be looking for a new cohort of mentors – business professionals to take on the role of consultant and work on unique volunteer business assignments.