While “mentoring” is the one word that best describes the root philosophy of The Theory of 5, there’s more to it than that. The word brings to mind a younger person sitting at the feet of an older, wiser individual learning the lessons they have to give — and that’s certainly part of it — but the philosophy goes deeper...
While the terms “role models” and “mentors” are often interchangeable, I’d make a distinction between them when it comes to The Theory of 5:
Role Model— These are people we admire. They are accomplishing goals in their lives and we want to be like them. They might be outside our personal network, though; in fact, we may never meet them in real life. We can use their lessons or examples in our own lives, but we admire them from afar. These people might not even be alive; history is full of role models who have valuable lessons to teach.
Mentor — This is someone who models the behaviors and examples we want to emulate, and with whom we can have a personal relationship. A mentor may take an active role in our development and may even become a lifelong friend. We develop a connection with them that will deepen over time.
In addition to these people, there’s another kind of relationship — co-mentoring — that is integral to The Theory of 5. This is where peers focus on developing each other’s skills, habits and attitudes in any or all areas of life.
In this type of relationship, both people reciprocate, supporting one another’s development through continued exchange of ideas, concepts and sharing of knowledge. Instead of a “leader/boss” hierarchy, the co-mentoring relationship is strictly focused on improving one another.
In many cases, with people who want to excel, this just happens naturally — in sports, for example, or in the business world.
In co-mentoring, we may receive guidance in one area from someone while perhaps providing them guidance in an area in which we’re stronger. These are the relationships that enrich everyone’s lives, and where The Theory of 5 really comes to life.
we’ll be building relationships with more than one person to mentor us in various segments of our lives
All of these relationships — mentoring, co-mentoring and role models — have their place in our lives if we fully embrace The Theory of 5. To build ourselves and each other up in all five areas, we’ll be building relationships with more than one person to mentor us in various segments of our lives. It’s important to ensure the person we’re asking is the best one we know for a particular area.
Who are the people you know or admire who can offer you their support and guidance to attain your goals? Will it be a face-to-face relationship?
A long-distance/video conference type of connection? Or will it be someone who doesn’t know you and who you’ll never meet, but whose example you’d like to emulate?
Take a few moments to write down an initial list of those you believe might be the best role models/mentors/co-mentors in the five core areas of spirituality, marriage, parenting, business/finance and health.
The Defining Characteristic of a Mentor is Someone Who
When we identify those around us who are excelling in these zones — and when they agree to or naturally begin to coach us— we’re well on our way to enjoying success at levels we never dreamed possible.
There’s another element of the Theory of 5, however, that we shouldn’t neglect. Just as important as finding mentors is becoming a mentor.
I believe we have an obligation to those who successfully guided us when we were coming up to share their wisdom. We learned from them because they modeled how the proper behaviors and actions can create exceptional results over time. We’re often unable to repay them because they don’t require our assistance, we might not be near them or they may have passed on.
The way we can repay our mentors is to pay it forward.
Someone took the time and spent the energy to share valuable lessons and coach us in the areas of life that create happiness and prosperity. When we’ve gained enough knowledge and wisdom, it is now our time to follow their example.
There are many reasons we should become mentors — just as there are many benefits.
When the person we mentor has success, it’s our success, as well.
When we’re striving to master an area of life, fighting our battles and facing our challenges, we often don’t have the mental bandwidth to look around and find joy in the process. Our incremental accomplishments might go unnoticed or unappreciated because we’re already on to the next round.
Now, imaging going through these times again, this time being aware of all the minor successes that go into winning significant victories. When we mentor someone, we not only have the opportunity to see them work to achieve what they’ve set out to accomplish, but we have the chance to see it through their eyes, as well. Their victories become our victories, and we share in their joy as they win.
Of course, we’ll also be there for them through the inevitable setbacks. We’ll remember our own struggles, and we’ll share with them how thoughts like “Why go on?” or “I can’t do this!” will barely be remembered when seen from the rear-view mirror on their road to success.
It keeps us motivated and on the right course.
The best way to truly internalize something is to teach it to someone else. This forces us to break down the topic, examine our own notions and understandings and then compile our thoughts in ways that will be useful for teaching. We often perform tasks on auto-pilot when we achieve a level of mastery. We stop thinking about or sometimes even noticing what we’re actually doing. If we apply scrutiny to our actions, we might even discover better ways of accomplishing our tasks.
Being accountable for our actions, behaviors and results is also a way to make sure we are continually giving our best effort. When we train someone on how to do something, and then they see us not following our own advice, that would make us a hypocrite — something we know is unacceptable.
Knowing someone is watching us — someone who admires us and believes in us — is a great way to hold ourselves accountable, keep our priorities in mind and maintain positive pressure to perform at our peak.
It’s simply the right thing to do.
Being self-absorbed has no place in a Theory of 5 lifestyle. We’ve all known people who were there when there was something you could do for them, but when the time came for them to return the effort, they were nowhere to be found. “What can you do for me?” is a small, petty way to live. “What can we do for each other?” is a much more positive, healthy standard that supports future happiness and prosperity.
As stated previously, we might not be able to repay our own mentors, just as those we are mentoring might not be able to repay us.
That’s fine. That’s how it should be.
Don’t mentor someone because we want something from them. Do it because someone did it for us. And, in the future, our students will teach others. The lessons are passed down, with each person adding their own experience to their teaching, and cheering their students on to victory.
Imagine a society where this was the norm! How much better would the world be? We can’t control the actions of others, but we can make sure we add positivity to the lives of those around us. When we coach, train, guide, support and root for those who need us, we leave a lasting mark on the world for the better.
The Mentorship Meaning is The Heart of Mentoring
As Iron Sharpens Iron, So One Person Sharpens Another”
At the heart of the Theory of 5 is the idea that people who care about us will care enough to challenge our actions, intent and mindset, just as we might challenge theirs. Because of this, together we will achieve more than we would alone.
Whether we are mentoring someone, being mentored ourselves or are in a co-mentoring relationship, being accountable to others is an exceptional method to stay on track toward our goals.
Here’s an example
You have planned to hit the gym after work, but the day was a bear. Even though you’re mentally exhausted, you know it’s in your health’s best interests to put your body through its paces.
Which of the following would make you more likely to follow through with this plan?
You are going alone.
You have an appointment with one of the trainers at the gym.
You know your long-term workout partner is waiting and counting on you to meet them so you can push one another to reach your goals.
If you’re going alone, the only person you’ll be letting down is yourself. If your motivation is lagging, you can rationalize it in your mind you’ve had a tough day and deserve a break. You’ll hit it tomorrow.
Meeting with a trainer who works at the gym will provide you with more incentive, but it’s still no guarantee.
If you’re really tired, even the pain of possibly having to pay for a missed appointment might make it seem worth it.
Knowing that a long-term workout partner who you’ve committed to meet will be waiting and counting on you.
That’s the best motivation to get yourself to the gym. If you don’t show, you’ll not only be letting yourself down, but you’ll be letting them down as well. For most of us, that’s unacceptable.
They would understand if there was a reason you couldn’t meet them (stuck at work, injury, illness, etc.), but just a tiring day at work? That’s just not a good enough reason.
A committed individual will grab their bag and get to the gym — and they’ll be glad they did.
Being accountable to others will drive us on when our self-motivation is wavering in specific areas of our lives. It’s natural for most people to want to be well-thought of by people we respect and care about, and the idea of letting them down is always worse than letting ourselves down.
While we should be able to maintain an intrinsic drive to work toward our goals, there are times when it’s valuable to look outward for a motivational boost. During times when the temptation is greatest to take a shortcut, procrastinate or call our effort “good enough,” knowing we’re accountable to others we admire will give us that extra encouragement to take it that step beyond.
One of my favorite Bible verses, which I first learned as a 7-year-old from a wrestling coach at the YMCA, is Proverbs 27:17 — “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” This sentiment is at the center of the Theory of 5 — and of mentoring in general. People who want to be great will challenge each other to be great.
It can be difficult at times to hear our mentor’s feedback or face their potential disappointment when we do not meet our goals because of our actions or behaviors.
A good mentor, however, will challenge us with tough questions and expect us to give our best effort. They want what’s best for us — otherwise, they wouldn’t be using their valuable time to mentor us in the first place — and they have a good idea what behaviors are needed for us to reach our goals.
It’s human nature to become defensive when challenged, but if we listen with the right spirit — and know that our mentor believes we’re capable of achieving what we’ve set out to do — we’ll take their guidance to heart and our effort will be rewarded in our future results.
We will have to work on our humility along with whatever area we’ve asked our mentor to coach us to improve — which isn’t a bad thing in itself — but we owe it to both our mentor and ourselves to listen and act upon their lessons. Anything else is a waste of everyone’s time, and that just won’t do.
This accountability works for everyone in the relationship. Whether we’re mentoring, being mentored or co-mentoring, knowing we’ll let someone down if we don’t give them what we’ve promised is a natural motivator. If we “talk the talk,” we’ve got to “walk the walk” to maintain the respect of those we value and care about.
Also, when we’ve been asked to mentor someone, we should go into it with the spirit of coaching them to bring out their best (which will also bring out our best), and not to just lord our knowledge over them to make ourselves feel superior. As one of my own mentors often told me, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
We grow from challenges. Our habits, our behaviors and our actions will produce much greater results if we’re sharpening our blunt edges against our mentor’s iron until those edges are razor sharp and gleam in the light. Our mentor will become sharper in the process, rewarding them for their efforts.