You live in a world that is busy — non-stop meetings, family gatherings, and business trips. There is immense pressure to be a good spouse, parent, leader, student, etc. When can you make time to get mentored? You know you need it, but how can you stop and get the advice and coaching that you need?

Photo Courtesy of -Snugg- (cc)

Photo Courtesy of -Snugg- (cc)

During the winter days of December 2011, I hit a new low point in my life. I was going 100 mph, getting things done, but deep down inside my heart.. I felt empty. I remember driving passed the exit to my old engineering firm and hearing, “Look at how you’ve wasted your life. You could’ve been so much more if you had stayed at the firm… power, money, lifestyle…”  

I know it was only for a split second, but I had the strangest thought of ending my life. I was shocked but kept pondering it! What is happening to me? I turned on my radio as loud as I could and drove home quickly. Am I depressed? Am I tired? Just then, as if God was trying to get my attention, my gas light turns on. My car is about to run on empty. Wait… I’m running on empty.

I got home, and I stared at a wall for what felt like hours. I told my wife. She was worried — rightly so. We prayed as I watched my one year old daughter sleep in her crib. Quietly, I determined in my heart that I would never allow my life to get this way again.  

Therefore, I designed a “system of mentorship” that is custom fit for my stage in life. It is made up of many parts. I can state with joy and gladness that this system has made a huge difference in my life. I believe that you can do it too.

Here are 4 parts of my system of mentorship:

PART #1:  Topical Podcasts

It’s funny to think that some of my “mentors” are people that I may never meet in person. However, these people shape my life every morning as I get ready for work and during every long commute that I take in my car. One day I hope to thank them personally for helping me understand leadership, influence, grassroots thinking, and theological ideas. I’ve broken down my favorite podcasts into topics as follows:

Search for these podcasts on iTunes. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

PART #2:  Personal Assessment Tests

I’ve never taken so many assessments tests in my life! In the past 3 years, I have grown immensely in my self-awareness and leadership by learning more about MYSELFHere are my top 3 recommendations for assessments tests:

#1  Myers-Brigg Personality Test

This assessment helps you understand your personality and temperament. For example, my personality type is as follows:

  • E – extroversion (vs. introversion)
  • N – intuitive (vs. sensing)
  • T – thinking (vs. feeling)
  • J – judging (vs. perceiving)

Popular ENTJs are Caesar, Hitler, Hannibal, Apostle Paul, and Margaret Thatcher. I heard that “Stewie” from Family Guy is also ENTJ… haha. What does this say about me? I might be a dictator… yikes!

My wife is the exact opposite from my personality type! I wrote a blog post about how introverts can be influential world changers — my wife models many of these awesome attributes.

#2  Strengths Finder 2.0

This assessment helps you identify and focus on your top strengths so that you can maximize them. For example, my strengths are as follows:

  • Strategic
  • Belief
  • Futuristic
  • Activator
  • Communicator

You can add value to conversations, projects, and teams when you know your strengths.

#3  SIMA Lite

This assessment helps pinpoint the key motivators in your life. It also helps describe the role that most satisfies you. For example, my key motivators are as follows:

I want to…

  • Shape ideas
  • Leave an enduring mark
  • Make things tangible, practical
  • Impress others
  • Impact my surroundings

Preferred Role:  Visionary/Spearhead

Consider taking other tests like the Change Style Indicator, Love Languages, DISC, and many more. These assessment tests provide one of the most valuable assets that you can possess: self awareness!!  Self awareness helps you become a better leader and an effective world changer!

Photo Courtesy of intervarsityaam (cc)

Photo Courtesy of intervarsityaam (cc)

PART #3:  Personal Meetings at Conferences

Anytime, I am invited to attend or speak at a conference I find out who’s going to be there (speakers, colleagues, participants, seminar leaders, etc.).  Then I contact specific people and set meeting appointments during the conference.

When I get to the conference, I confirm the meeting with them. Then I prepare for the meeting by writing down questions that I will ask. When it is time for our meeting, I take good notes of what I am learning. Then I store my notes in Evernote and I review my notes shortly after the meeting.

I wrote a post on the Art of Significant Conversations that can give more insight on how to utilize your time with someone. Take advantage of the 30-45 minutes that you have with someone over a meal. Allow them to pour wisdom into your life. Go back and reflect over what you learned during your conversations!

PART #4:  Skype/Phone Calls

Lastly, I invest into relationships that shed light into specific areas of my life. It does not matter if people live in my city or not — modern technology makes it simple to connect to people all over the country and the world. For example, I have these scheduled meetings:

Monthly phone calls w/ a Spiritual Director: These conversations help me look at my life through the correct lens. I can be open and brutally honest about my thoughts, fears, actions, and habits. Then together we discuss God’s love, correction, and next steps. I have become a better husband, father, son, brother, and leader because of these monthly conversations!

Quarterly meetings w/ my Regional Director: These meetings give me perspective about my calling and ambitions. What do I want to do with my life? What’s next? I wrestle with current leadership struggles, celebrate wins, and continue to create vision for my areas of influence. I usually leave these meetings with my stomach full of butterflies and my heart full of eager anticipation!

Weekly (sometimes daily) informal meetings w/ my Dad:  He rants about life. We argue. He lectures me some more. In the midst of this, I learn so much about my heritage, culture, family, and God. I have an awesome Dad.

Notice that it is the combination of all of these parts that make this system powerful. It is custom-fit for your busy life. The relationship between master and apprentice is not always feasible. Therefore, improvise! Use this system. Get mentored, and change the world.  Start today!

Do you have an suggestions of what we can add to this system? How do you fit solid mentor relationship into your busy life? Please comment below!