Yes, there is a reason that we all studied history in school. And a reason many of the most successful people I know read biographies about the successful men and women who came before them.
The reason is that there is SO MUCH to be
learned from the events of the past.
Look at the real estate business. Boom of the 1980s, bust of the late 1980s and early 90s. Many good years after a recession, bust in the late 2000s, many good years to follow. Bust soon. Shocking? No, same old story.
So, how can a great mentor help you? Well, one of the great blessings of my life collided with the worst day of my life. Here is how—My Dad died suddenly at 54. He and I were very close, he was my friend, my mentor, he meant the world to me and I was devastated to lose him. I talked to him several times each day and suddenly, in one Earth shattering moment, my friend, my source of wisdom and a major motivating force in my life was gone. So, what next? Well, as I was left to work with my family to try to figure out what was going on in his various real estate endeavors, what I soon learned is that he had some great partners.
These great partners were men much older than me who had been through far more ups and downs in the real estate business, and in life, than I had. Over time they became close friends of mine.
In short, in the years following the great tragedy of my life - the sudden loss of my Dad - one of the great blessings of my life occurred. I grew close to a few of my Dad’s close friends who were much older than me and who have now played a defining role in my business and personal life. In fact, when I wanted to start Congressional Capital, I called one of my Dad’s friends and he helped. He has since become a very close friend and mentor to me whose friendship, wisdom and guidance has been a great blessing to me.
To be able to call someone anytime to pick his or her brain about a challenge you face (and there are many when running business), is incredibly valuable. It can be re-assuring, it can help make a challenging decision seem simple, and it can help put things into perspective in a way that only years of experience can. The things that seem so daunting when you are in the middle of a tough decision, often seem far less so when talking with someone who has seen so many tough decisions and faced decisions far tougher than the one you are facing. That wisdom, that perspective, can be incredibly valuable.
So, my suggestion to all new entrepreneurs is to find a great mentor with whom you can build a genuine connection and then learn as much as you can from that person. History, after all, is our best guide in life and we should all pay close attention to the wise words of those who did we were are doing, but did it years before, as those wise words can accelerate one’s path of success in remarkable ways.