by Clay Clark, founder of Thrive15.com
We can all choose to achieve success if we are willing to work hard and to implement proven best-practice business systems and strategies, yet your path to success doesn’t have to be as painful as mine if you choose to learn from mentors rather than from mistakes.
The famous actor, writer and comedian Steve Martin once famously said, “Thankfully, persistence is a great substitute for talent.” I am overjoyed that Steve’s quote is 100% true in the world of entrepreneurship because I lack both talent and skill.
At no point in my life, have I claimed to be the smartest person in the room and no one has every accused me being destined for success because of my overwhelming natural talent and mental dexterity. I had to take Algebra three times just to score a passing grade and I had to take my ACT multiple times in order to score high enough to land entrance in the college of my choice, Oral Roberts University.
Although I have grown numerous successful businesses and was fortunate enough to be named the U.S. Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year, my path to success has been a very painful one. My journey could have been a lot less painful if I would have focused on seeking mentorship instead of just pursuing success blindly. And it is my hope that I can help you to avoid the same pitfalls that I ran into by strongly encouraging you to seek guidance from mentors, rather than just learning from mistakes as I did early in my career.
So right about now you might saying to yourself, “That’s great, but where can I find these mentors and how do I know if I’ve found a good mentor or not?”
For starters, the bestselling success author and internationally renowned speaker, Brian Tracy has said, “You will not live long enough to figure it all out for yourself. And what a waste it would be to try, when you can learn from others who have gone before. “
As you seek out mentors, do not listen to most people because most people are wrong. You must listen to the people who have achieved success in an area where you are also looking to experience success. You must listen to the successful business people who have gone before you.
As an example, the billionaire investment mogul and self-made American success story Warren Buffet sought mentorship on how to become a better speaker and not academia:
The best education you can get is investing in yourself. But this doesn’t always mean college or university.
I have two degrees but I don’t have them on my wall, in fact I don’t even know where they are.
I used to be afraid of public speaking, and I realized that I have to do that someday. I do have one diploma I display from Dale Carnegie’s Public Speaking Course and it only cost me $100. Thus, I don’t think college is for everyone; one benefit is that it gives you a button. In fact, none of my three kids graduated from college.
My friend, for most business people I believe that business school is not a good choice. I believe that it has the potential to be an epic waste of resources if you do not receive the mentorship that you need.
Throughout my career as an entrepreneur, speaker, and business consultant, I have met thousands of people who have a degree, but who don’t have skills. However, skills pay the bills and in the world of business learning, skills only matter if they increase your earning potential. If you want to master any area of your life, you must seek out people who are the top 5% of performers in that area and ask them what to do, how to it, why do it, and when to do it?
Learning from mistakes makes for great war stories you can share years down the road, but it is much too painful and time consuming to be a strategy that I can endorse. As an example I’ve met countless contractors who take this approach to their accounting:
As an entrepreneur who has experienced success beyond what I deserve and the founder of Thrive15.com, the online practical business school and mentorship platform, I know that a mentor can truly change your life whether they teach you virtually on our platform or offline over coffee with you.
If you don’t like Warren Buffet, at least remember this statement about mentorship from Bill Gates, the man who constantly battles with Warren Buffet to be the world’s wealthiest man. “Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player.”
Clay Clark is the former United States Small Business Administration Entrepreneur of the Year, an award-winning speaker and the founder of online business training and education technology platform Thrive15.com. Thrive15.com offers business skill training in 15-minute videos taught by world-class mentors, millionaires, and everyday entrepreneurial success stories for less than your monthly Starbucks bill.