3 Reasons You Don’t Need a Mentor to Succeed

Stop asking for permission

A month ago I ended a fifteen year friendship.

It was not as difficult as I thought it would have been. In a brief four sentence conversation I realized I had outgrown my dear friend. I also realized just how much weight his opinion had carried in my life and I was more than ready to sever that influence and move forward.

“I cannot take advice from you because I do not want to be where you are”, were my exact words. It hit me just how true these words are and I continue to live by them. He promptly in disdain, began to list his accomplishments including his PhD and his lofty  management responsibilities at his job.

Job!

The very anti-thesis of my life philosophy!

I’m sure that having a mentor is awesome but be aware that you will never go higher than the person whose opinions you value or whom you look to for validation. Your subconscious (that habit dependent part of your brain) will always find a way to keep you looking up to them by keeping you under them.

Give no man the position of being able to crush you or limit you at any moment.

Quite recently, my ‘habit induced brain’ led me to be drawn to another potential mentor. I admired him. I looked up to him. Until one afternoon, with a few texted paragraphs, he crushed me. I was at the mercy of his whim and moods because I ate up everything he said like it was the last living and breathing testament of the gospel of entrepreneurship.

I gave him power. I begged for his permission. The result? I began to see his opinions as my own truth.

And isn’t that what constantly asking advice is all about? Asking for someone else’s permission or confirmation to do something that you want to do. Asking a mentor for his opinion?

A few draw backs of having a mentor:

  1. You become limited by the success of your mentor
  2. What worked for them may not necessarily work for you
  3. The belief that you can’t succeed without a mentor is a limiting one, especially if you never find a good mentor
  4. The potential for human dependency is an ever present one

So how do we stop asking for permission? Especially when we are surrounded by close friends and associates who constantly offer it.

  • Realize that you are an entity all by yourself – A unique universe within the universe

What worked for your mentor won’t necessarily work for you. Maybe because you’re an individual and may have a very different approach to things. Give your individuality space to breathe. The success goal might be the same but there are several paths to get there.

  • Quit the urge to please other people

This is a primal one, I know. This caveman like urge to be with the herd in order to survive; to take directives from the master. I am yet to find another article that better explains this phenomenon along with amazing advice on how to curb it – Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think

  • Get comfortable with self- accountability

The scariest part of moving from a 9-5 into entrepreneurship is having no else to blame but you. There’s no bull headed boss (Oh wait, that’s you!), no rigid HR rules, no ridiculous company policy – No excuses. The failures and bumps are all yours to own but so are the victories. Having a mentor can block you from shouldering the full consequences of your actions and attempts. Uncertainty is something you must become comfortable with.

Slowly, very slowly, as your authenticity blossoms you will attract your tribe. Out of the social wood work they will climb and they will recognize you just the way you are – being your authentic self.

So, take a hammer to those mental pedestals and pull down the elevated restrictions these idols have placed in your mind. You are free to experience your own failures, attempts, victories, un-trodden paths and adventures.

Realize that exploring the world alone is a two fold purpose. You uncover and you create, like a tapestry with a pattern that is completely unique to you.

Quit asking permission from  others to live a life that is completely your own.

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http://www.isaiahhankel.com/book

Overcoming ‘Shiny Job’ Syndrome

change direction

“We are going to have to let you go”.

I heard the words with the surreal realization that I was saying them.

I was firing someone.

As a person who feels deeply, one of my greatest challenges in business was separating my empathy from what had to be done. This employee had received several warnings and probations, but simply refused to or was incapable of complying with our customer service policy.

She had to be let go. I hadn’t made the decision but I supported it and I had to be the one to do it. As operations manager of a fairly small grocery store, the bulk of personnel management duties fell in my lap. I knew it wouldn’t have been a pleasant experience, yet I was not prepared for the begging, the tears, the promises to improve.

At this point, my hands were tied. I had to let her go.

I tried exploring options with her. “What will you do?” (That empathy thing again)

Between sobs, I happened to pick ip a few distressed phrases.. “hairdressing” “beautician certified”…

You’re telling me you have a very practical and high-demand skill yet you choose to stay here and work for someone else as a cashier? Why would you want to do that instead of starting your own business? You could work from home, decide on your own hours, set your own prices… I was taken aback. I had always wished I had a skill that could bring in an extra income..

I couldn’t understand the rationale of this employee. After almost an hour locked in my office, I convinced her to set up her business, offered to print her first set of 100 business cards and to get a few customers (my sisters) to support her initial efforts.

She had the opportunity to easily earn twice what she did now, tax free, working less hours and days than she currently did. Bonus, she didn’t have to operate in a constricting slave like environment or suffer an insufferable boss. My dad wasn’t the most human-asset friendly business owner. He is from an outdated era.

I call this the “Shiny Job Syndrome”. We have been fed the false idea that success is defined as ‘being employed’. We mentally pedestalize this belief and automatedly follow a programing that is outdated.

No matter how impressive the salary, a company can never accurately pay you for the value that you add and the time that you give. No matter how secure the position, there is always the possibility of being laid off, fired, or of the company going bankrupt or out of business. No matter how prestigious the title, depending on the whims and decisions of others steals your creativity. No matter how much initiative you are allowed to exercise, you will never be at the helm.

We spend our lives trying valiantly to protect ourselves from the same crises that will catapult us towards freedom and financial independence.

For years, I wanted to write. I was dissatisfied with my job. Yet, it wasn’t until I lost it all; the income, the security, the great apartment… Not until then did I find the courage to follow my dream with the only thing I had left. Me. I had nothing but myself, my time, my creativity, my initiative, my goals, my dreams, my desires.

It felt strange not having someone to answer to; not having a boss telling me what to do. How would I know when I was doing something wrong?

“You never realize how bound you are until you feel the heavy responsibility of freedom”.

And, it’s scary.

It is a scary thought knowing that, without instructions, every failure, every fumble is your own. There is no one to blame, no company policy to fall back on, no employee assessment to scrape through. But, beyond that fear, lay exhilaration. The thrill that I was creating something that was all me… No template, no rules.. no standards, no limitations. No commission. All mine. Loss or win, I owned the outcome completely.

And, to me that was worth it.

I had to carve out an identity. My old one was lost on having to answer to bosses, fit into corporate images and absorbing job-ideal expectations. I determined that if there ever was a business culture I wanted to support it would be one built on freedom. On the right of every human being to discover and pursue his or passion.

Instead of passively disciplining people, I wanted to help them discover the courage to start their own businesses using skills and interests and passions. So I wrote a book and started this blog.

I made a decision that the risks were worth it, the initial rejections – worth it. The up hill struggle to get that first client – totally worth it. Just to gain my independence, live my passion and do something meaning to me on a personal level.

It’s not easy, but with a little guidance and lots of determination, it can be done.

Check out Creating a Wealthy Mindset on Amazon for practical methods of unplugging your mind from the Shiny Job Syndrome mindset.

How To Stop Being A Victim

THE PITY THRONE

You sit on the exaggerated pile of failures and bad fortune and declare yourself the King of Sorrows. There, on your self made throne of pity, that you have built out of every negative experience you have ever had, you defend your victim-hood.

You guard it with your life.

You pay for it with your potential.

Eventually, it becomes your story; your identity. You forget who you were before these things happened to you. Before the loss, the grief, the abuse, the wrongs. You form a new self; a new persona carved out of complaints, “poor me’s”.

But what do you get from being a victim?

You get the right to be right

After being wronged for so long, you get to feel like the good person in comparison. The problem with this of course is that you are now, not allowed to wrong anyone else; to hurt anyone. So, you begin to fight for the right to always be right. This is a heavy burden for any human being. It’s a tiresome, impossible fight.

You get attention

Everyone likes a good sob story…until they don’t; until it gets old and they long for the company of others who are positive who have uplifting stories to share. But your grief and misfortune demands the attention of everyone. This becomes a heavy burden for those around you.

You feel validated

Finally, people agree that yes, you have been wronged. Validation is a very important aspect of moving beyond abuse and trauma. But it is only one aspect. And constantly depending on others for validation makes you dependent on them eventually. Learn to validate your own feelings and actions.

You no longer have to try

It becomes your free pass from taking risks; trying new things. After all you’re fragile, you’ve been hurt. People will understand and even empathize with your lack of effort. They know how much you have been hurt. You are allowed not to try. When your sad story becomes your identity, people stop expecting much from you.

You get to avoid responsibility

After all, you are the one who has been damaged in some way. Everything you do is understandable. You get away with the outcome of actions, failures because someone else is always to blame.

But most of all you get to be king of something!

“You can’t be victim and victor. Choose one”.

The psychology of victim mentality lies in the concept of learned helplessness.

Some animals were placed in a room (clearly long before animal-rights was a thing). Invisible lasers are fixed at the only exit. Each time the animals would attempt to leave the room, they were jolted with an electric shock causing pain and hence dissuading them from trying to leave.

After several determined attempts, the animals learn.

They stop trying.

They don’t even go near the exit anymore.

The laser is removed from the entrance, but the animals have already learned that it is helpless; escaping is futile. They give up. They accept their new door-less prison.

Everything can be taken from a man or woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. To choose one’s own way – Victor Frankl (concentration camp survivor)

1. Take Responsibility

Admit to yourself how you could have made better choices. The purpose of this isn’t to direct fault at one party or another but to take back control instead of powerlessly drifting along with the way things are. You always have a choice, even if it is as simple as maintaining a positive attitude in-spite of what has been done to you. This is the most powerful choice of all.

Evaluating your decision making process immediately puts you in the drivers seat. and opens up possibility of a different outcome.

2. Play the “What If” Game

Learned helplessness comes with a side order of negativity which can spiral into a mindset of always expecting bad things to happen. So you look for the bad in order to not disappoint your mindset. Use an ‘opposite outcome’ exercise when you are tempted to expect only the worse. Have  a little chat with yourself. What if, things actually work out well? What if not everyone is trying to hurt/use/abuse me? What if there are nice honest people out there. Newsflash: There are! But victim-hood attracts even more abusive situations. You can change the outcome by expecting good things.

3. Forgive

Yourself firstly, for not being more cautious, for not seeing the red flags; for not choosing you. You are human. Forgive persons who have hurt you. Let it go. You will begin to heal when you have let go of past hurts, forgive those who have wronged you and learn to forgive yourself.

4. Gratitude and Giving

Remind yourself of just how much you have to offer through gratitude and giving back.. What could yo possibly have to give? Your time, your expertise, a listening ear. remove yourself from the complaining seat for once. Try listening and empathizing with someone without comparing your own circumstances or subtly fighting for the place of “biggest victim”. Practice gratitude every single day Make it a first each morning. while still in bed, imaging everything you woke up with.

Gratitude re positions your brain to a place of abundance and opens you up to even more positive vibrations to receive.

Accepting victim-hood is akin to a driver “dying right”. If you are driving on the right side of the road and a vagabond driver tries to overtake putting you in jeopardy, do you swerve to save your own skin or stay on the ‘right of way’ path, and crash?

Don’t let victim-hood cause you to “die right”. Sometimes the only adjustments that can be made are completely up to us.

5 Cures For The Common Curse

false beliefs

There comes a point when.. you have tried, so many times.. in so many ways..yet you keep failing again and again. That point when everything you touch turns to s**t and you begin to imagine forces beyond your control puppeteering your life and sabotaging all your plans.

It happens.

If it has never happened to you count yourself lucky and if it does one day, come back and read this post.

For those of us who have had these frustrating experiences, we know the temptation to give up. We have been familiar with the fear of trying anything else; the fear of tying up anymore precious capital by trying another attempt or most importantly, the fear of facing the disappointment in your loved ones eyes… if they are still around.

You have already lost so much. More than seems bearable. You have felt the humiliation of being proven wrong, the burden of defeat, the clouds of doubt in our abilities to rise again.

You feel cursed.

Repeated failure in business is a hard blow to take. Not only is your ability to attain success under scrutiny, but your very identity, which is usually closely tied to your occupation, is openly questioned. It is a loss and it is painful.

Why does this keep happening?

Are you truly cursed?

I am not about to dig into the definition, history and cultural appropriation of curses. But I will say that the principle of a curse is based on a transfer of power. When you believe that you are cursed, you begin to operate within the limitations of this belief. You then give up on trying, admit defeat and stop half way on your journey to greatness.

Cursed or not, you have more mental power than you think to battle all your limiting beliefs. The only way to take down a powerful force is by using its own power. If a curse can make you believe that you are indeed powerless, the curse (or those who desire to curse you) wins the battle.

A man is already defeated if he believes his inability to fight back.

If negative words have been coded into your subconscious, you have the power to challenge and overcome these beliefs. This programmed thinking is a kind of curse.

A person’s mind is so powerful. It can invent, create, experience and destroy things with thoughts alone.

All it takes is one negative belief.

One comes to believe whatever one repeats to oneself whether the statement is true or not.

Your magnificent, resourceful and logical brain, then tries to find evidence through memories and in your present environment to support this one belief in order to maintain consistency.

You Can Regain Control

Whether an outside force or an internal one, you can ‘break a curse’ by resetting and reinforcing new thoughts – positive thoughts about yourself and encouraging thoughts about your circumstances.

Get your brain back on your side!

1. Maintain a supportive environment

Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Avoid the naysayers, whose words facilitate the curse experience. Find people who have similar goals and dreams and network with them. Environment is one of the most effective factors in behavior change

2. Keep a list of all your accomplishments and positive contributions nearby

The brain operates in a logical, fact – controlled way. If we feed it evidence that suggests a certain thing, it will look for even more evidence to support that belief in order to maintain consistency. Remind yourself every now and then of all the wonderful things you have done.

3. Practice gratitude

The principle of gratitude works by reinforcing thoughts of abundance in your mind. It takes the focus off what you don’t have and places it on what you do have. Gratitude is very effective in resetting ‘curse mentality’ that takes hold in the mind.

4. Be patient with yourself

This thought process didn’t develop overnight. In fact many of these limiting beliefs take root during childhood and will require time, patience and reinforcement to be completely removed.

5. Practice Self compassion

Don’t beat yourself up. We do the best we can with the tools we have until we discover better ways or tools to work with. It’s all a part of the process of growth.

To get even more tools on how to change your mindset into one that creates wealth, take a look at Creating a Wealthy Mindset, also available on Amazon.

You Lose To Learn. But Learn What?

As low as you can goAs high as you can fly

I stared at the bathroom mirror not really seeing my reflection. I saw instead through my peripheral sight, my newly constructed vision sheet. It sparkled with its artistically designed collection of my future ambitions and goals.

Little did I know that, according to Paulo Coelho in that fated moment that my Bic pen (yes they still exist) hit that piece of paper…. the minute those squiggles that form words and language were drawn on my son’s construction parchment… In that very moment…

“The universe started to conspire to bring me eveything I had asked for” – The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho.

Based on the law of polarity, as low as you can go is as high as you will fly. In other words, the universe heeded my request by first bringing me to a depth I had not previously known so that I could eventually attain the height that I desired. There is a direct relationship between how low we go and how high we can fly.

So, back to the question: What do we learn when we lose?

  • If we lose friends and associates, we learn how to be self reliant.
  • If we lose financial abundance, we learn how to use our creativity to get things done.
  • If we lose our indpendence, we learn how to humbly depend on others.
  • We lose our material possessions to learn that happiness does not depend on them.
  • We lose our sense of security to learn that no such thing truly exists.

Trust me the universe is not partial. If you require success, it will drag you through the depths you need to experience in order to achieve this success. I dare mention here the old adage, ‘Be careful what you wish/pray/ask for’.

If your ambitions are high and your dreams lofty, you will lose. You have to lose. It is the only path to grow into what you desire to become. If you desire spiritual enlightenment, you will lose the comfort of all the beliefs that you were taught about spirituality.

No one can attain a higher level by staying on the same plane. There are thigs you will have to let go to move up. These are things you will lose, possibly repeatedly until you get the message… until your mental paradigm is forcefully shifted into a new set of beliefs.

This is why you lose… anything. And this is how you learn.

The paper on the bathroom mirror included a starburst with the words “Monthly income of $450,000” written in. At some point on the journey, when my vision expanded exponentially I wrote the EBook, Creating a Wealthy Mindset. I then went back to that bathroom mirror and I added a ‘0’ to that figure.

“Monthly income of $4,500,000” it now read. Almost immediately, I started to experience more loss. The previous challenges I had been through prepared me for a $450,000 monthly income not a four point five million dollar one! So, I had to be plunged even further down in order to be prepared for a seven figure income.

That innocent act of writing another zero on my expected monthly earnings, catapulted a series of changes and the universe conspired even further to help me achieve this goal. I faced more loss, more betrayal, more disappointments. I experienced a lonliness that is still indescribable. The 450,000 dollar plans started to fail one by one to make way for 4.5 million dollar plans.

“Every adversity, every failure and every heartache, carries within it the seed of an equal or greater benefit” – Napoleon Hill

Decide how high you desire to fly and prepare for the equal depths of loss and failure. My hope is that in understanding exactly what’s happening to you, you wont give up. There is a method to this madness.

Feel free to share your own experiences with failure and loss and how you learned from them.

You Are NOT Your Job!

job

Why is it so depressing to lose one’s job?

Ok, admittedly, you just lost the income you have been living off and depending on for food and bill payments. (that sentence was indeed quite depressing)

But really..

Even when you are still eating quite well, sleeping in a comfortable bed and not facing prison for any major debts, being unemployed just seems to have its own personal, dark cloud of gloom.

The problem is, like most other unshakable irrational characteristics of societal living, your job forms a huge part of your identities.

We let jobs decide just how valuable we feel. We allow them to dictate our worth as a contributing member of society. On an attached thread, we allow our salaries to determine our worth.

This is a destructive thought process considering we have very little control over being hired, fired or demoted at any time.

Despite what you have been hardwired to believe, your worth is not determined by your job.

Don’t believe me?

Think of all the skills and talents you have that do not directly contribute to your current job description. The boss doesn’t know about your amazing TV trivia skills. Neither does he know that you have a knack for fashion and constantly get complimented on your great outfits. The fact that you can make a moist yummy chocolate cake from scratch has never come up in a performance assessment.

Think about it.

Go ahead and take a minute to write down all the things that you are really good at and that you actually enjoy doing. The things you would never list on a resume because recruiters don’t give two hoots about those kinds of skills.

In fact, create a “life resume” listing all your amazing experiences. Add personal experiences you are really proud of such as quit smoking, taking  a public speaking course , learning a language or performing a choreographed, dance routine in front of hundreds of people. (Such memories)

Be sure to add all your great qualities, unique skills, the things that your friends always call you for advice about. All these things are what make you, you. Not your job. It is said humans only use a small percentage of the brain.

Well, most jobs only require a very small percentage of your entire life skills, strengths and abilities.

Do not be defined by your job. That is not who you are. It is something that you do for a living. If you ever feel the desire to make a living doing something that you really love and that you’re good at, check your life resume as a reference for ideas.

Start seeing yourself for what you are really worth. Your value and worth lies in the things that you enjoy doing and that you are also good at. If you can find a skill on that list which can be monetized, pursue it.

Instead of being defined by your current situation, you can change your thinking from ‘I need a job’ to ‘I desire to build wealth‘ by pursuing something you are truly passionate about. This simple shift will open up a world of possibilities you never saw before.

You are worth so much more than your job.

The Purpose of Negative Emotions

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Negative or unwanted emotions are a part of our experience of being human and are unavoidable. In fact, they are very clear signs that we are emotionally healthy humans. We feel sad when something undesirable happens or guilty when we have caused someone else pain or harm. This is a healthy sign that we are capable of empathy; the one characteristic that differentiates us from psychopaths.

Negative emotions, although uncomfortable are healthy, natural occurrences. Like other emotions, they are not permanent. They do not exist to torment us forever. No matter how painful that breakup was and how convincing the present feeling is that the pain will never end. Emotions come and they go.

Negative energy on the other hand, occurs when we cling to negative emotions longer than we should. The unresolved feelings after a breakup can develop into depression, thoughts of self-harm or obsession. Unchecked jealousy and envy have been motivators in many homicide investigations. The key is to learn from the negative emotion then let it leave.

“You must let the pain visit. You must allow it to teach you. You must not allow it to overstay.”

The pain from negative emotions alert us to the things we find undesirable. This is a very useful tool in discovering authenticity and purpose. We tend to focus on the things that make us happy and excited when trying to discover passion and purpose. But the things that trigger our undesirable emotions are powerful clues to who we  truly are.

Among the various pathways to passion described in Creating a Wealthy Mindset, I mentioned revisiting childhood desires, dreams and role models. However, your childhood upsets and indignations point to the things that bother you; things you want to change. These are the causes that you will be willing to fight for; your purpose.

As a child, I was upset by seeing animals being mistreated. To my parents’ dismay, I took in strays as pets and always had cats hidden under my bed. I thought at one point I would be a veterinarian. It so happened, I had a passion for the ‘underdog’ so to speak. I was eventually led to uplift and motivate others to live fulfilling lives by overcoming their internal obstacles.

It took a few years and several attempts before I was able to clearly define that purpose. But each negative experience (and my over the top reaction to it) led me, inch by inch towards my authenticity and ‘calling’.

Your negative experiences and emotions are powerful indicators of the things that you were meant to do. They serve as a pathway to your deepest passions. It will not be a linear process and can be quite murky and confusing at the beginning but pay very close attention to the things that upset you. The causes that get you riled up, trigger your rage; that gets that fire in your belly.

These are the emotions that will push you to take action.

Anger is a great hint for figuring out the things that you are passionate about. If it triggers such powerful emotions in you, it might be worth pursuing.

Envy is a sign that you aspire to be somewhere that you haven’t reached yet; somewhere someone else has already reached. Guilt suggests an issue that needs to be resolved either by apology, corrective action or both.  If you feel like an underachiever, it simply means that you have great ambitions and your subconscious is nudging you towards attaining them. Every discomfort has its purpose.

Negative emotions are guides.

Observe them closely and follow them on your journey to greatness.