We’ve all heard it before. Get a mentor. Get a coach. Get an adviser. When we think of these people, an image jumps into our minds. We have a picture of them being experienced, worldly and wise. Maybe you’re thinking of Yoda. Or a yoga teacher. Or your grandfather. Or the person who got you started in your career.
I get it. I have great mentors, a coach and outstanding advisers. But there is an inherent, invisible challenge in relying so heavily on these experienced people, and it’s probably not what you’d expect: It’s their experience that is the challenge.
Often when successful people speak from experience, they provide perspective and insights that are relatively similar. In fact, it’s likely that their common story of adapting, growing and achieving drew you to them. Which is also why when someone tells you for the 97th time to get a mentor, you may think, Been there, done that. It was great. But now I’m ready for something different.
I agree. It’s time to shake things up.
I think you deserve perspective, answers and results you’re never going to get from traditional “sage” sources. I think it is time that you break through to the next level with your own Breakthrough Board.
The power in a Breakthrough Board is recognizing that unconventional answers rarely come from conventional sources. Unconventional answers and true progress come from seeing the world differently than others do. Members of a Breakthrough Board will push you to look at your world in ways you didn’t expect because their experience is not typical. That’s exactly the point.
Who should be on your Breakthrough Board? Great question.
Here is a starter list:
A child under age 10: Children see the world in ways adults cannot. We simply have too much life experience that leads to invisible, limiting beliefs. Asking a kid for advice on a problem will quickly remind you that the world is full of possibilities. In some ways, as we get older, we often see limitations rather than possibilities. A kid doesn’t see why you can’t start your own business. He just wants to know how soon you can start. Imagine if you had that attitude. You’d be fearless.
Siri: Because it’s awesome to ask the iPhone assistant questions and not get a bill. #DoIt.
High school teacher: Because she knew you in that incredibly awkward stage yet still saw you had potential. Go back to your favorite high school teacher and ask for advice. You’ll be glad you did.
A competitor: Yes, I know this suggestion might make your skin crawl. You may already be thinking of all the reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t connect with a competitor. But trust me on this one. Your competitors will be as curious about meeting with you as you are about meeting with them. Find some common ground that you can both talk about and see where it goes. I know I’ve gotten outstanding advice from competitors. Maybe they knew it was good advice, or maybe they didn’t. But what I knew is they had a perspective that was valuable to me. The fact that this approach is considered unconventional is the point.
To create a new level of success—success that moves you out of your rut, plateau or comfort zone—you need a breakthrough. Take it a step further and make it a Breakthrough Board so you get unconventional ideas that open you to possibilities that experienced sages may not reveal.