Mentors Matter

Have you ever taken time to reflect upon your life and career in order to determine why you are where you are now in your life? Clearly, one’s circumstances in life are in most part due to the decisions and actions that are made throughout our lifetimes. The quality of those decisions and actions can make or break you.

In reflecting back on my own life, one thing continues to stand out that has helped me enjoy the successes and accomplishments I have had in my real estate career thus far. Without a doubt, having mentors throughout my life has provided me with insight and opportunity that I might not otherwise have had.

Choosing a mentor was not a conscious decision where one day I decided to select an individual to emulate in my life. Rather, my natural instinct has always been to gravitate to the most successful men or women in the room and begin to observe their characteristics and habits.

What are the benefits of having a mentor?

First, a mentor helps you to avoid common mistakes that most people make by pointing out by example the mistakes that they have made in their careers.

Second, as you observe their actions and characteristics, you subconsciously take on that individual’s persona. You begin to make the same type of decisions for yourself that have already previously resulted in success in your mentor’s life.

Next, a mentor will put you in the express lane to success. As a rule, people like to talk about themselves, and most people especially like to talk about their successes and accomplishments. When my mentor is talking to me, I become a sponge and absorb every idea and concept that I can.

We are all different, and one person’s idea of success clearly may be much different than another person’s. Therefore, it is important to choose a mentor who shares a similar tolerance for risk, one who shares the same ethics and moral character as you, and one you respect and admire.

Having had the extreme good fortune of having an incredible confidant, mentor, and friend for over twenty years, I have learned the following in relationship to real estate and life:

Be an active listener by listening carefully to those around you. Gain the perspective and input from each participant in the conversation.

Be respectful and humble.

Pay off your mortgages early if possible, and don’t put new or increased debt on your properties once they are paid off.

Always deal from a position of strength.

Hold onto your properties and don’t sell them. Once you have a portfolio of free and clear assets, your cash flow will allow you to be a buyer into the future.

Do not get emotionally attached to a property or to an idea.

Always, always remember that the safety of the investor’s money is your foremost concern when structuring transactions using other people’s money. Do not take front-end loads. Return your investors’ money first, ahead of your own (safety first!).

Determine your desired return when operating as the investor and use the balance of the potential profits to motivate and incentivize the sweat equity partners and key members of the transaction. Treat people fairly and they will always want to partner with you.

Price properties fairly when you do decide to sell so the buyer has an opportunity to make money as well.

Pay it forward. Take the knowledge you have acquired and help others reach their potential in life.

In conclusion, mentors can have a profound impact on their mentees. They can help you avoid common mistakes, teach your through their experiences how to be successful and they can help you accelerate your learning curve and put you on the fast track to success.

One Comment »

  1. Great advice John!! Every young professional should read this!