“Don’t take the casual approach to life. Casualness leads to casualties. Seek out the mentors that you need that will lead you to greatness in your field. If you’re not willing to learn from others, who are you willing to learn from?” Jim Rohn

Questions for you: Who do you spend the most time with? Who are the people you most admire? Are those two groups of people the same?

In the two most recent articles, we’ve covered Passion & Purpose and then “Learning From & Leveraging Your Experiences” In the previous article, I wrote about how experiences, especially those that challenge us, are how we develop and grow. In some cases, it is where we develop strength and confidence as well. And they can be real versus “puffed up” versions of the real thing because they’ve been tested and refined.

I also noted that it is our experiences that either drag us down or lift us up – but the amount of drag OR lift is highly dependent upon the “set of our sail.” I wrote that Jim Rohn and author Christian Voelker often referred to the way we respond, especially with our attitude, as the “set of our sail.” Check out this article “It’s the Set of the Sail…” by Jonathan Voelker to learn more.

Similar to the “Set of the Sail”, the mentors we choose can have a great (or diminishing) impact on the TRAJECTORY OF OUR CAREER (our life).

You read that correctly – you and I have a choice in who we select as our mentors. Sometimes we get lucky and end up working with (or for) a great mentor. Conversely, we may gain valuable experience from a less than ideal boss or supervisor. Like others, I refer to these people as “reverse mentors” as they show us “what not to do.” In the rest of our lives, we do get a choice though. A wise man (one of my mentors) suggested to me once: “If you don’t like the way things are going for you – check out who you’re CHOOSING to spend most of your time with.”

I believe the choice is clear. We need to be intentional and purposeful in choosing our mentors. Why? Because this choice we make on our mentors determines who we give our permission to guide/effect/impact our:

  • Behavior(s)
    • Poor mentors can end up being models for behaviors that end up following. Spending time with someone who models low levels of patience, a short temper, flippancy (lack of respect), cynicism or general rudeness can easily lead to the same behaviors in us. The same goes for hanging with someone (or a group) who is passive aggressive, manipulative or constantly challenging authority is very likely to eventually “wear off” on us.
    • Conversely, spending time with professionals who model servant leadership, authentic concern for others, strategic decision making and self-discipline can have an equal effect on us.
    • Once again, I am reminded of what is probably the wisest thing my father shared with me, “You are now who you have been becoming.”
  • Attitude(s)
    • As I inferred in the article about experiences, “there are many examples of two different people who encountered basically the same situations and experiences, yet one is more successful than the other. It’s not luck. It’s a difference of attitude.”
    • Behaviors often “flow out of the condition of our heart.” This points to the state of one’s attitude. Overly focusing on what is always wrong, having a victim’s view or a pity party type of attitude can be devastating.
    • An attitude of entitlement can be equally destructive. No one wants to be on a team with someone who won’t “do their job” or be a team player. We all know this.
    • Question: if you have recently found that you’ve been “fired by friend(s),” you may want to look intently into the state of your attitude.
  • Thought Life
    • This ties in well with our attitude(s). A negative thought life will often create a heavy self-fulfilling prophecy. Like that customer we all have who expects a “bad bounce” in the trees on the course, so when they get it, they’re not surprised (because they expected it).
    • I’m not one to believe in the super positive, seemingly false, self-talk or that we may get from a friend. However, I do believe someone who is positive in an authentic way as a mentor can help us believe more and accomplish more than we ever could on our own.
    • Similarly, a great mentor can help us not only be positive, but have a healthy self-awareness regarding our strengths, skills as well as our blind spots, weaknesses and areas for growth.
  • Capacity for Growth
    • We all have a purpose where we can be our best, make a more significant impact on the community (of golf) we serve, the team we lead (from the front or the back). A great mentor is capable of nudging, cajoling, modeling, pushing, pulling, etc. They can see our potential, often the possibilities we don’t see in ourselves.
    • It’s like our role as a PGA professional: we are at our best when we engage a golfer and lead them up the pathway to improve their play, their skills and spend at the facility. Ideally, we engage them well enough to go further up the pathway than they thought they ever could.
  • Ability to Find Fulfillment 
    • A mentor can help us realign to find our why, or the way to the situation that is best for us to flourish. Sometimes, we work with them and they push us to make a courageous career move because they see we’ve become stagnant where we’re at. (Maybe it’s affecting our attitude or behavior, and we need an influx of new energy, new focus or challenge.) If you don’t feel a lot of fulfillment right now, or like you have a job more than a career, start considering who your mentors are.

In concluding article #3 of this series, I ask you to consider once more:

  • Who are your mentors?
  • How are they doing helping shape you for success (in your behaviors, attitudes and thought life?)
  • You can be a mentor too – are you modeling the right behaviors, attitudes, etc. for those around you? (Has anyone asked you to mentor them? If not, make it something to aspire to.)

Every day that passes, is one day closer to us moving beyond 2020 into a hopeful 2021. How can I help you find your mentor(s), enhance who you “hang around with” and maybe help you become a mentor to another professional? Either way, my role and purpose is to help you get more value out of your career. It still holds true, “You only get one career, so make it count.”


Monte Koch, PGA Certified Professional/Player Development | Career Consultant
PGA Career Services | PGA of America
Serving PGA professionals, employers in the Pacific NW & Rocky Mountain PGA Sections

Email: Mkoch@pgahq.com Cell: 206/335-5260

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