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Every Entrepreneur Needs a Team of Mentors, and Not Just for Business. The landscape is littered with financially healthy entrepreneurs who crashed and burned in another area of life.

By Andrew D. Wittman Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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When most entrepreneurs think about finding a mentor they usually think about mentors in business. The kind that can help you with marketing, branding, culture building, or open doors for you to meet new connections and clients.

You need a life mentor.

However when it comes to finding success in your work, finding mentors to guide you in other areas of your life can be just as valuable.

Related: 6 Practices to Boost Your Chances of Success in Life

Entrepreneurs, the risk takers.

We entrepreneurs are risk takers. We pride ourselves on it, and rightly so. Perhaps because we take massive risks financially, we tend to become desensitized to uncousiously taking risks. When it comes to our relationships, our physical health, emotional health, and more we may be conducting the riskiest behaviors of all.

Money is by far the safest risk to take in our lives because once you know how to make it, you can always recover from a loss. Whereas, spouses, kids, health -- when these risks turn into a loss, it is much more difficult to recover. The landscape is filled with entrepreneurs who are financially healthy but have crashed and burned in another area of life.

Related: 5 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Risk-Taking

Are you taking care of your health? What is self-care?

Every entrepreneur that wants to have a more profitable business should take an inventory of what I call The 8-Cylinders of Life: Professional Health, Financial Health, Social (Relationship) Health, Physical Health, Emotional Health, Mental Health, Spiritual Health and Cultural (Impact on your Community) Health.

Related: Personal Health News & Topics

There is more to life than money.

For instance, who do you know in your life that has a fantastic marriage? Who genuinely enjoys their family relationships and home life? Who, in your age group, crushes it when it comes to health and fitness? Who is the beacon of light concerning wealth and finance?

Who displays the poise, presence, and confidence you wish you had? Who makes you smarter? Who makes you a better person? Identify and set your sights on the highest-level performers for each cylinder. These can be people you personally know or someone you've never met, but they should already be enjoying the type and level of success you would like to be enjoying.

One person doesn't have it all. Look closely for those who have "something."

While there may be a single person that would have positive checks in all these boxes, it's more likely that you identified different people as pillars of success in the different areas of life. Strive to make each of those "heroes" a part of your inner circle, people you can emulate and who you can go to for support and advice.

Related: Heroes News & Topics

Role models.

Build a mentor team, create a roster of role models who will be a shining light on a hill and hold you accountable if you're not doing your best in various parts of your life.

The late great college basketball coach, John Wooden said, "You will never outperform your inner circle, if you want to achieve at a higher level, always be improving your inner circle." Commit to upgrade your inner circle. Limit your exposure to neutral and negative people. These people are mentors as well, just not in the direction you want to go.

The scientific research unequivocally shows that you will become most like the people with whom you spend the most time. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine found that if you have a friend that is obese, you have a 57 percent chance of also becoming obese. Consciousness and mindset are contagious.

Related: Don't Let Those Closest to You Degrade Your Potential

Where can I find joy, fulfillment, and balance?

To achieve, enjoy, and maintain success, fulfillment, and balance in life, you must first limit the time spent with those who influence your mindset in the wrong direction. Once accomplished, fill that vacuum with the heroes who have already achieved and continue to enjoy and maintain the type of success, fulfillment, and balance that you want to emulate. Here's how to do it.

After selecting your dream team of mentors and the specific reasons for why you chose them (i.e., each of the 8-cylinders) do the following:

Watch and listen.

You'll likely have an easy time tracking down interviews that your hero has done using a simple internet search. Take the time to watch and listen to every podcast, radio, and TV interview that you can find.


Read every article, paper, blog or book available your heroes have written.

Related: Mentors: A Young Entrepreneur's Secret Weapon

Write out 12 questions.

For each hero, start with general questions and move to more specific questions relating to the reason you picked them. As you think about your new mentor to be, think about what you want to know about them.

For example: What is the best (professional, relationship, financial, health, etc.) advice you've ever received? What books have you read that have been the most influential in your success? What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome and how did you do it? What strategies have you found most helpful in your business, marriage, relationships, health, and fitness?

Look for connection events.

Once you have a list of well thought out questions (which is a living document -- they can change or be updated at any time), begin to look for opportunities to connect with your heroes. Go to an event at which they are attending -- a charity dinner for example.

Related: Looking for a Mentor? The 7 Best Places to Start

Position yourself as a mentee.

When you finally do get a chance to connect with your heroes in real life, ask them if they would be willing to spend less than five minutes a month answering one question in the area of which you have chosen them.

Related: 10 Places to Find Mentors and Advisors for Entrepreneurs

If you've done your homework, prepared specific and scripted questions before meeting the heroes, you will present yourself as a student seeking to learn from a master, not as someone trying to work them, or weasel into their space.

If you don't do the homework, don't bother wasting their time. Most successful people want to help others that are up and coming, but they HATE having their time wasted. Remember, you don't have to reinvent the wheel in order to be a successs. Modeling yourself after the heroes on your team will do just fine.

Andrew D. Wittman

Personal and Executive Leadership Advisor

Andrew D. Wittman, PhD, is a United States Marine Corps infantry combat veteran, a former police officer and federal agent. As a Special Agent for the U.S. Capitol Police, Wittman led the security detail for Nancy Pelosi and has personally protected Hillary Clinton, Tom Delay, Trent Lott, King Abdullah of Jordan, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Sir Elton John, as well as Fortune 20 CEOs. As a security contractor for the State Department, he taught high-threat diplomatic security to former Navy SEALS, Marines, Rangers, and Special Forces.

Wittman is founder of the Mental Toughness Training Center, a leadership consultancy specializing in peak performance, team dynamics, resolving conflict in the workplace and is the author of the new book, Ground Zero Leadership: CEO of You (2016). He holds a Ph.D. in Theological Studies, is a guest lecturer at Clemson University and co-hosts the radio call-in show “Get Warrior Tough.”

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