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This Thing About My Dad Makes Me Sad

I wasn’t going for a rhyme there with the subject line… there really is this thing about my dad that makes me sooo sad.

dadMy dad was one of those square peg types (oh, a bit like me). He was an entrepreneur and a visionary, but not a great businessman. He could invent, design, and build things that no one else could dream up, but this didn’t leave a lot of room learning about leveraging cash flow, grooming talent, or nurturing joint ventures.

I asked him once about his regrets and he told me that while he was proud he figured so much out on his own, he was always sad he didn’t have a mentor. He was sad that someone senior to him hadn’t spotted his talent and taken him under their wing.

I love following in his footsteps as an entrepreneur, because I get to choose which ideas of his I want to take and where I want to learn from choices he made that didn’t work out so well.

So I thought about this mentor thing for a long time. I wanted that too – for someone to see me and rescue me from my weaknesses, bolster my strength, and take away some of the fear from the journey.

My vision of what a mentor would be — I think it’s the vision my dad gave me — is someone picking me from out of the crowd and offering unlimited time and attention in exchange for the opportunity to bask in my brilliance.

Sure, it can happen that way sometimes, but it’s not the only path to calling in more wisdom and guidance.

I’ve been lucky to have some amazing mentors – some of whom I picked and some “picked me.” I wish my dad had invested in himself and his growth as a businessman. It makes me sad he never really even saw that as a possibility. I don’t think it ever occurred to him that he could search out someone who was strong where he was weak and invest in that relationship himself.

People who invest in themselves – whether it’s with time, money, love, energy, whatever – go so much further. Can you see that in your life? When you invest in a personal trainer or even great workout clothes, do you notice you are fitter? When your workout clothes get ratty or you stop seeing your personal trainer, do you notice it in your waist?

carMy dad invested in building his celebrity and over the years he became more and more well known eventually being elected to his industry’s Hall of Fame. He didn’t love the business side of things so he didn’t invest there and guess what? Less success! Lots of lost opportunities.

Where are you investing? Are you seeing results there? Could you invest more and get more results?

Okay, now I’m going to tell you about me and where I’m investing in myself… I realized I was a magician at getting authors-in-transformation to finish their books – didn’t need any help there. I’m not a bad copywriter and I do okay with marketing. Check. Check. My team is great so I don’t need an HR specialist or someone to help me improve my hiring/management skills. But where I was falling behind is bravery. I was helping my clients get their book done, but then I was leaving them on their own to get the book out into the world. I didn’t have a mentor… so I was afraid to be one.

If I wanted to take my authors to the next level, I had to be willing to go there myself first. I’m so excited I was able to shatter my image of what a mentor needed to be and instead invested in the perfect person to help me grow.

I’ll tell you more about it soon – but for now, just remember, whatever you want your clients to do…. You first.

P.S. My dad retired a few years back, and he is definitely enjoying his retirement. I’m proud of his accomplishments – I just wish he could have had the mentor he always wanted. I’m really excited I’ve invested in making that happen for myself. And so grateful I’ve learned so much from my dad’s entrepreneurial journey.

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