Thursday, December 27, 2012

12 Lessons I Learned in 2012



1. A mentor is looked uponas a Giant. 4 Characteristics of a great Giant:
1.     Be a great communicator
2.     Use your words to encourage
3.     Master Criticism
4.     Discipline to build character

2. Trust is a function of two things: Credibility and Behavior*.
"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it." -- Warren Buffet
*Footnote: Screwed this up more than a few times this year. Ouch!

3. People don't buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it. Build something that solves a problem.

4. If you want to have a great career, pursue your passion. Passion is your greatest love, not your interest. Passion is beyond your interest. Many people don't pursue their passion because they feel they are going to fail. You have to say, “I might fail UNLESS”...  Say “UNLESS” to yourself more often.

5. "The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do." -- Richard Branson. I think I'm crazy, butI’m not sure if I’ve changed anything yet.

6. I am passionate about business, including marketing and product development, but when I get a chance to invest in someone's life it's payback like no other.

7. Life is a process. It's a series of steps. Whether it's your career profession, business, startup, or personal journey it's all about the steps you take to achieve your highest potential. I have gone through enough adversity to look back and say that it's only making me stronger and preparing me for the things to come. That's what makes me getup everyday and continue to explore, dream and discover. Take the STEPS!

8. Doing a startup is hard. PERIOD. I spent over a year planning The Mentor+ Project and waiting for the best time to launch Mentor+ME. No time is the perfect time. JUST DO IT!

9. Stop the fear of asking for advice. People are willing to help.

10. Don't do what you love. Do WHAT YOU ARE based on you strengths and personality.

11. Successful people may not always be the smartest individuals but it's the people,community and opportunities around them that may determine their extraordinary accomplishments.

12. "Center yourself around those that are going to lift you higher." -- Oprah Winfrey
Share something you have learned in your life: it just might help someone. No matter what happens along the way it's important to finish well.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Wishing you the best year ever.

Coming up my goals for 2013!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Story of Success

I'm reading a very  interesting book from Malcolm Gladwell (Blink and Tipping Point) called Outliers: The Story of Success. This is how Gladwell explains what an Outlier is:
""Outlier" is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience. In the summer, in Paris, we expect most days to be somewhere between warm and very hot. But imagine if you had a day in the middle of August where the temperature fell below freezing. That day would be outlier. And while we have a very good understanding of why summer days in Paris are warm or hot, we know a good deal less about why a summer day in Paris might be freezing cold. In this book I'm interested in people who are outliers—in men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August."

He goes on to explain that sometimes we get far too focused on the individuals characteristics, habits and personality traits of those who get furthest ahead in the world.  To understand an outlier we have to understand their culture, community, family and generation. We've been looking at tall trees, and thinks we should have been looking at the forest.

I support the fact that some people become more successful than others because of the people and community around them including the opportunities that they were given to thrive. Do you know one of the smartest individuals in the world today has an IQ over 200 and is a bouncer at a bar in the United States? I won't go into all the detail you will have to get the book and read it yourself. But one of the reasons that he didn't finish college and go on to be a successful scientist or engineer was because of the community and the lack of mentoring and guidance he was given. He had to drop out of college because his mom didn't know how to fill out the paperwork properly for his financials. It's heartbreaking story.

My wish for Mentorplus.me is that the mentors and mentees understand that success is a community project. It's not only because of our own efforts it's because of the contribution of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances. WE as a community have the opportunity to impact someones life by helping them reach their highest potential and become successful. That's an amazing and awesome feeling!

As we close out 2012 we want to wish you a Merry Christmas and Awesome New Year. We look forward to great things in 2013 and want you all to be part of it. IT'S GOING TO BE AMAZING!



Sunday, December 9, 2012

3 different ways to tell a good story.



I love to listen to people's personal stories. A good story is something that defines who we are. It makes us memorable. We all have experienced something in our life that makes a lasting impression. If you understand how to talk about yourself, it's a opening for you to connect to others in a meaningful way. It's a way that you can be used to help others that might be going through similar things. 

Here a 3 different ways you can tell your story.
1. The Challenge. You overcame an obstacle to get where you wanted to go.
2. The Eureka. An idea that came to you that changed everything.
3. The Connection. A time when you met someone or a group that had similar skills and experiences that helped you get where you wanted to go.

For me sharing those meaningful experiences with someone that might need help makes life more rewarding.

What's your story? Everyone has one so don't keep it to yourself. Share something you have learned in your life it just might help someone. 
Join in our I AM Forum at Mentorplus.me

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turning the ridiculous into something great


Last week I had the privilege of attending the 2012 Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame gala. It was great networking event plus I was encouraged and inspired from inductees who have built such great and sustainable businesses over the years. Here are some of the comments highlighted from their acceptance speeches.

Jim Estill from Canrock Ventures provides wise words and his mantra... "Fail often, fail fast, fail cheap."

Gerry Remers is President and Chief Operating Officer of Christie ... "Everything is in constant flux and we need to adapt." Gerry also encourages us in his touching acceptance speech to take risk and seize the day. Be bold ! You can read more in this Communitech blog post about his battle with cancer, clarity and future of Christie.

Below is a link to a number of video vignettes from all the Hall of Fame inductees. They discuss how they believed in themselves, did the ridiculous and were able to achieve incredible things. We should all be inspired.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Stay in the Game

Photo courtesy of  Elijah Johnston

It's easy is to have a good attitude and pursue our dreams as long is everything is going are way. But what about the difficult times when things are not going our way. It's easy to lose our passion and our dreams when we are hurt.

Many sit on the sidelines of life because we are nursing our wounds. But you have to shake off the self pity and the discouragement and get back into the game. Sometimes you have to play in pain.

I heard a story this week about a football player that had a broken hand and bruised ribs. He was a defensive linemen. The trainers wanted him to sit out but he wasn't about to sit out. He had a big cast on his arm and wearing a special vest to protect his ribs. He was all bandaged up and looked like a mummy. A reporter asked him how he was feeling. He said, "It's a little painful, but I'd rather be in the game in pain than sitting on the sidelines watching."

You can't let injury, that hurt, that failure, cause you to sit on the sidelines. Do like this player, bandage up what's hurting and didn't work out and get back into the game.

Life is hard and we can get so caught up in ourselves and live in self pity. One of the best things you can do when you are hurting is get your mind off your problems and go help someone else who is in need.

Personally, I have gone through enough personal and professional life issues to just sit on the sidelines nursing  my wounds. But I chose to bandage my wounds, continue to play and stay in the game!

Look forward to hearing from you. Share with us your story and what you are doing to stay in the game.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Take the leap and sore

Photo courtesy of the Johnston boys.
One thing I love about being a dad is watching my boys grow and discover new things. Unless it's going to put them in critical danger I always let them try and do things that are out of the ordinary. Often times when travelling, we discuss new ways of doing things, inventing a new product, starting a business or coming up with a different way to make something work better.

I always encourage them to dream, ask questions and if it makes sense just do it. So off they go and sometimes they fail and sometimes they succeed.

Discovery is a great journey. Whether it's finding a new job, starting a business or wanting to try something out of your comfort zone.

At Mentorplus.me we want to help people achieve their highest potential by giving them actionable advice. Don't be afraid to seek out someone to help you explore, dream and discover. Then take the leap and sore!

See you soon... ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Get some... #NewThinking.


Creating an idea is easy. Turning it into a business is hard. The startup journey for me has been one of ups and downs. I have to admit getting support and advice on your journey can either drag you down or allow you to leap in to a new way of thinking.

I am a person at times not to ask for help and think I need to do things on my own. This journey of startup has caused me to really seek out advice from my mentors or an expert. Most recently, I have been dealing with some personal issues that have caused me to seek help. So I setup a meeting with one of my mentors, Norm, to get support. I presented to Norm my issues and the actions I was going to take to resolve. All I was really expecting was to get a confirmation on these decisions. Instead I got raked over the coals about my direction. Norm asked me some very pointed questions about my thinking of which some I couldn't answer. I then proceeded to ask his advice. What I got from Norm was a new way of thinking on these issues with a fresh approach. I'm thankful I had the hour with Norm as it really put some things into perspective for me. Sometimes we just need this to formulate a new way of thinking to our problems, decisions, issues or plans.

Let me encourage you today don't go it alone and take the leap to get a mentor that can help shape you to #NewThinking.

What experiences have you had with getting advice that changed your thinking. Comment on it here or tweet with a #NewThinking. I love to hear from you and keep the discussion going!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why Networking is Important

Guest Post by Anna Runyan

It’s not what you know, but who you know.  Who you know can mean the difference in whether or not your end up reaching your future dreams and goals. There are so many reasons why networking is important, personally and professionally.  Whether you want to stand out from the crowd during your job search, rise the ranks at your current company or just have a good support network to be there for you when you need it.  I know that I would not be where I am today in my professional journey if I had not made networking a top priority in my life when I was graduating from college and as I started working at my first job.  Networking helped me land an internship during college that turned into a full time job and helped me get promoted at my first job.  I also built a great support network at my church and that network helped me through a tough time that I went through. No matter where you are in life, you can’t get around the fact that networking is crucial to your success and personal well being.

So what are the barriers that might be holding you back from networking?
  1. The first barrier that might be in your way is that you never know what to say.  I hate that awkward introduction and I not knowing what to say to people I don’t know.  The key here is to be genuine, not think about yourself and what you are going to talk about and instead think about what you want to ask and learn about other people instead.  People are just as scared as you in the room and why not make others feel better and take the focus off of you and onto them.
  2. Another barrier may be if you are an introvert. An introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.  If you are an introvert like me, it is hard to be open and let strangers into your life.  To network, you have to be open and curious.  You must also show up and be present in all conversations.  Sometimes the hardest part is getting to the event but you will be glad you did once you get there.  Meet one person and start speaking with them and asking questions.  This way, it will be easier to meet others since you know one person very well.  Also, don't be afraid to speak up if you have something to say.
  3.  Another barrier is thinking you are way too busy to network I know I am exhausted after work. This was my biggest pitfall.  I am often too busy with work and school to reach out and connect with someone over lunch or a quick dinner.  You have to make networking a priority, which is why I always scheduled networking events and meetings into my calendar so that I got in the habit of meeting people for lunch or dinner and not going directly home after work.

How did I get over my networking barriers?  It all stated at the beginning of 2011, when I was preparing to graduate from business school and trying to figure out the next step in my career. I knew that networking would be a key to success in the job search, but I also knew I was—and still am—an introvert, and the prospect of meeting new people has never been easy for me.  Still, I was determined to knock down my barriers to networking and meet the people who would help me reach my dreams and goals. So I decided to embark on a networking challenge where every month, I would meet with four people I already knew but would like to get to know even better, as well as four completely new people. I called it the 4×4 Networking Challenge.

And at the end of 2011, I added 48 new people to my network and strengthened relationships with 48 friends, co-workers, and family members. Not to mention, a year of networking like crazy gave me a lot of valuable insights on what it takes to be a good networker—something I never thought I’d be able to claim.
If you are ready to reach your dreams and goals and take your networking to the next level, challenge yourself to a networking challenge. Write it down, find an accountability partner and start today!
Classy Career Girl, a blog written by Anna Runyan, provides advice to young professionals on how to be classy as they climb the corporate ladder.  Her blog covers topics such as business chic fashion, career motivation, personal development, networking, and office etiquette. Connect with her at http://www.classycareergirl.comIf you would like to learn more about how to find a career that you love to go to everyday, you can also checkout her free video training series at http://www.getmycareerunstuck.com.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My DNA


I have learned so much over the past little while about generations and how one can influence the other.  I believe to achieve happiness and success, our professional and personal life must be aligned to reach our highest potential. There are so many people all over the world in a career, job training, business or startup crisis that they need to be given hope and help. We must find the most simple and easiest ways to get people connected with the help and expertise they need to be successful.

Melanie Pinola from LifeHacker states in her artice "Don’t Do What You Love. Do What You Are."
"You've no doubt heard this career advice before: "Do what you love." Brazen Careerist founder Penelope Trunk calls this simple and idealistic advice absurd. Instead of trying to figure out what you love most and then find the perfect matching career, do what you are, based on your strengths and personality."

For me, I have a genuine passion to serve others, a desire to make things work above the status quo, and a conviction is that simpler is better. It's in my DNA.

What's in your DNA in order to achieve your highest potential?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Business, Startup and Career Experts join Mentorplus.me


We are very pleased and excited to announce that Anna Rynyan from Classycareergirl.com and Gary C. Bizzo from garybizzo.com has just accepted a position on the Mentor+ Advisory Board as well as a Mentoring specialists for Mentorplus.me.
See Anna and Gary's profile in more detail below.
Anna Rynyan, Founder, Career Coach and Speaker 
Founder of one of the top 50 up and coming HR blogs for career development. You can also find her career and fashion advice on Forbes, People, StyleWatch magazine, Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg Businessweek and BrazenCareerist.

Anna helps young professionals and new grads become happy, successful and balanced in their work and life while demonstrating class, skill and integrity.

Speaking engagements include Wake Forest University, Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, Brazen Careerist U, Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, Girl's Empowerment Conference and the San Diego Public Library.

Anna will also be involved in developing our University program in order to better serve students connecting with mentors.

Gary C. Bizzo has 30 years experience in fulfilling the growing needs of business. He ran a Commercial Photography business with an international reputation, Marketing /Business Consultancy and was an Internet Webmaster. His boutique advertising agency provided custom services to a wide variety of businesses.

Taking this vast experience, he is a Mentor and Business Coach to over 900 Vancouver based businesses. He consults with numerous multinationals and two foreign governments. He also writes Business articles for Business in Vancouver’s Employment Paper and the Toronto Star’s Media Group’s Canadian Immigrant Magazine. He is a published business writer, is co-authoring a new book on Entrepreneurs and has written an eBook on Business Start-ups.

His experience allows him to assist any business professionally and fully whether it is a startup or in a mature cycle.

He attended University of New Brunswick (BA), Queens University, Simon Fraser University, City University (MBA) and received the international Certification with APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) – Certified Business Counsellor from Acadia University, Nova Scotia, in 2011.

If your looking for Career, Business or Startup advice signup at Mentorplus.me and connect with Anna or Gary or any one of other mentors available to you. They love to get you some help.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Pay it Forward Movement



We are thrilled to announce we are now partners of the Pay It Forward Movement.
The mission of the PIF Experience is to inspire and educate individuals of all ages and walks of life about the human impact of making a personal decision to change the world through simple acts of kindness—big or small. To help the world reclaim simplicity in a complex world.
The goal is for worldwide engagement of the pay-it-forward philosophy, to re-establish the Human Connection in an all digital world and help people understand they can do something good for someone right now!
The Pay it Forward Mentor program will be established to give our members the opportunity to donate their time to mento ring others who need it most.
Over the course of the next few months will be putting in place a program that will allow members to make a donation on behalf of their Mentor to the Pay it Forward Movement. 
We look forward to making an impact and affecting change in individual's lives in order for them to achieve their highest potential. 
It's going to be awesome and hope to see you all a part of it. Join us by signing up at Mentorplus.me.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Thinking.

Many people continue to not achieve success. The problem is, they don’t know what is their problem. 
Most people are limited to their own experience and knowledge.
Are you SO VERY SURE of your real problem that’s obstructing you for success?
Chances are, unfortunately, you don’t.  You need a different point of reference in order to solve your “problem” to success. That’s it. That’s why you read books. Talk to people. And be humble of other people’s feedback.
Albert Einstein said it well… “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
If you need help and a new point of reference check out Mentorplus.me. It just might be the "New Thinking" you need to solve your problem. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

10 excuses why we fear giving and getting advice

I have been doing a lot of soul searching over the past year in regards to my personal and professional life. One thing that always draws me to making decisions is the importance of asking for help, advice, guidance and assistance from someone, a mentor, who has gone through similar experiences. It's has not always been easy for me to do this and at times I become very fearful of it. But as human beings we must help each other, it's in our nature to share our life experiences in order to get better at what we do.

Asking for advice begins when we start to understand the teaching on the subject. We are blessed with these tremendous online tools and resources that allow us to get information and advice at our finger tips. We are all dependent on each other for help and when we overcome that fear of asking, it opens doors to get us where we want to go.

Many people fail to seek out experts for advice because of various misunderstandings and excuses:

1. They think the concept of mentoring doesn't apply to them.

2. They don’t believe it works today.

3. They’re too embarrassed to admit that they need help.

4. They’re too proud to ask for help.

5. They’re afraid to help others because their advice might not be accepted.

6. They’re too embarrassed to confess their mistakes or failures to someone else.

7. They’re so consumed with their own needs and don’t have time to sympathize or provide help for others.

8. They have problems in their own lives and doubt that can help anyone else.

9. They don’t feel worthy to be used.

10. It’s easier to send a card or email than to engage in serious help for others.

Are you allowing to be used as an agent of help? Many people are going through difficulties and need someone to listen and give them great advice. You don’t have to be a leader or senior to be used. If you’ll allow yourself to make an effort and find someone who needs your expertise, your effective advice will accomplish much.

If your looking for great self-help, career, business,or startup advice, Mentorplus.me is a community that offers online mentoring with a social purpose by helping you do what you do... only better. Join us to EXPLORE, DREAM and DISCOVER.

What's holding you up?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Do Something Remarkable Today...

Today was a great week for Mentor+me as I am so encouraged and thankful for all the positive comments coming in on what we are trying to build and create here. 
We live in a world where so many people need to be given hope and help. Especially in regards to career, self-improvement and making good business decisions. But there are lots of theories out there on how to approach. The simple fact is we just need to get going, stop talking about it, stop theorizing about it, stop stalling - "Just Do It".
On that note, I'm thrilled to welcome a new Mentor+ member - Gary C. Bizzo. Gary is strategic certified business counselor, mentored over 900 business startups and business writer. He has published a bunch of articles with Evan Carmichael in Toronto on his blog and writes for the Toronto Star as a feature writer on occasion. Gary has also accepted a role on our Board of Advisors for Mentor+me. I look forward to Gary's personal mentorship as we continue to rapid growth here.
Gary has already posted some great blog articles on Mentor+me : Your Dream Team - Finding the Right Employees and Critical Issues for Business Coaching. Excellent information so check them out when you get a chance.
I also like to thank Jamie McClelland, Derek Smith and Chris Willard for their ongoing support as advisors as well. Please connect with anyone of them as they are all here to help.
Again, thanks so much for being a part of our launch and signing up. If you haven't, well get to it and visit Mentor+me too register and setup your profile. What are you waiting for?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Online Social Mentoring - connecting for a purpose

5 reasons to give and get great advice.

Today people and business startups are hustling to make connections and network on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but what we are discovering is even though it’s nice to have a great list of friends and colleagues to develop outposts, there is a better way to get the answers you need than these larger social networks are able to provide. 

Special-interest communities like Mentor+me attract members who know that being successful is more about quality than quantity. Users looking for solutions and resources seek out advice from others with answers which is often a great starting point in developing a longer term mentor relationship. This is the easiest and most efficient way to establish an informal relationship with someone who wants to really help. 

Here are 5 reasons to give and get great advice:


1. Connecting for a purpose 


Special interest-based social sites like Mentor+me give you all the networking tools that we know and love like publishing your profile. Your profile can be found in searches by typing in a word such as “startup advice”, “need help with a career change”, “should I get an MBA?”, “what do I need to do to become a manager?” Instead of connecting with people randomly, you connect with people on specific issues in a community whose sole purpose is to help its members. This is social networking for a specific social purpose. 

2. People are experts in their own life experiences 


People tend to want to speak to individuals they understand or who speak their own lingo. If people have had experiences like: having a great career in marketing; a career change; a personal crisis such as a health issue; or had success with a a startup business, then this gives people an opportunity to connect with the things that are important to them. 

3. Raise your personal stock 

Members are rewarded for engaging in the community, whether you are a Mentee earning a way to “Mentor” status based on your contributions to the community, or you are a Mentor who engages in online relationships and is recognized as a thought leader in your area of expertise. 

There are all kinds of benefits to this, some of which include: professional advancement, speaking opportunities, self-promotion or just plain bragging rights. Sometimes you might not get the respect you deserve in the workplace or your personal life, but among your Mentor+me peers you will be given the respect you appreciate. 

4. Personal and Professional Referrals 

Tapping into an online community like Mentor+me  is the most efficient and effective way to find peers who are similar, enabling a wealth of useful information to be shared. 

This type of support group can keep peers up-to-date on a news article or latest technique for accomplishing a task. Peer recommendations carry a lot more weight then a Google search result. 

5. Advice you can trust 

Face it, when making a decision we often seek out advice from people who have gone down the same path. Mentor+me focuses on the people you want to reach and engage. 

Mentor+me is online mentoring with a social purpose by helping you do what you do... only better!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mentor+me Launches

Today marks the beginning of what we believe to be an evolution in your career, personal and business acceleration. Mentor+me is a new web & mobile application that leverages social networks to connect industry leader mentors with people who want personalized and actionable advice.

Although we've officially launched, the mission has only just begun. As with any beta, the feature set will evolve as the community grows. We are in the middle of recruiting a great selection of mentors who want to help. As we are just beginning to open the site to members, we will quickly grow the amount of participation. We need YOU to sign-up and help promote the site to all your colleagues and friends. Please register at mentorplus.me.

Here are only a few of the cool features the site offers:
  • A featured set of mentors available for each special interest group.
  • Search and request advice from an expert. 
  • Exclusive collaboration tools such as email, chat messaging, video chat and scheduled live events with special speakers.
  • The latest in Career, Personal Achievement, Business and Startup news.
  • Free access to The #Mentor+ Daily -- Top curated mentoring, career, business and startup content from around the world.
  • M+ Library of recommended reading materials brought to you by Amazon.com.
  • Doing your own research? Create your own poll to get membership feedback.
  • Earn reward points for every time you engage in activity on the site. You will be able to see "My Stats" in your own profile. These points will be used to change your ranking and achievement on the site. Ex. Mentee to Mentor.
For now, take time to explore the network, share your thoughts on the IDEAS page, evaluate and join the groups and forums available. Your feedback is very important, so we will do our best to make improvements on a regular basis.

Please join us in our mission to impact one billion people, worldwide, in a positive way, over the next 10 years (2022). So let the journey begin... Don't go it alone -- EXPLORE, DREAM and DISCOVER. Again, go to mentorplus.me and accept your personal invitation.


See you soon.
"There is no passion to be found playing small." --- Mandela


Sunday, July 8, 2012

3 KEYS TO NOT LIVING YOUR LIFE WITH REGRET

During my personal and professional life journey, I have experienced the news of  my two son’s chronic diseases, the tragedy of a failed marriage, the loss of a job and home and the death of a parent to cancer. Along the way, I had the experience to be influenced by some great Giants(mentors) in my life. These people shaped and to continue to re-shape me to the person I am today. The common theme that has come out of their advice is do things that help discover your passion. Although I find myself at times doing things the hard way I follow their advice and ...

SO I EXPLORE...
I have done a lot of crazy things in my life but the past year for me I have journeyed into one of the riskiest decisions of my adulthood... I decided to become an entrepreneur. Over the past few years, as I came to a turning point in a number of personal and career situations I realized that my passion has always been to serve people. I love to see individuals excel and be successful especially when they come out of their own trials and tribulations. I believe adversity makes us stronger.
If you really think about it our lives are like running our own enterprise. We balance what we do between two major departments - Personal and career. The success in one department determines the success of the other. If you want to take it to another level... how profitable the personal determines how profitable our career department or vice versa.

AND DREAM...
I discovered in others and my life journey that people sometime live their life with so much regret. They are not happy with their career and thus personal life suffers. People are just looking for so much hope today. Maybe why so much success of all the reality TV shows?
I want to be a part of the solution now and know there are others that want to do the same. I believe that as the baby-boomer generation gets older that there is and will be a ton of help from people willing to share their professional and personal life experience. I want to bring these individuals of diverse generational groups together in way that makes it easy and simple to get personal and actionable advice. Hence, the reason for Mentor+me. This will be unlike any other social or professional network as it will provide the  successful advice you need in your career and personal life.
The career, job training and self-improvement market is a Multi-billion dollar industry world-wide and close to 200 Million people would be willing to enter into a mentoring relationship. Imagine if these people were able take 5 people and mentor them. That would be 1 billion people that would be impacted.
Mentor+me is a social networking site that connects industry leader mentors with people who want personalized and actionable advice.

THEN DISCOVER.
Mentor+me  is a dedicated community that will ensure that you Don’t go it alone. For mentees, if you are looking to improve your job performance and career growth, expand you personal network or just see what others are doing to become successful then we are here for you.
As a mentor, this will enable you to be recognized thought leader. If you are a person that has something to say or add-value and have the ability reply to calls for help then this platform is for you.  Mentor+me will help you grow your personal network from a diverse community group.
So now Facebook has connected you with your family and friends… LinkedIn has connected your with your collegues…  Mentor+me  now helps people become a mentor(s) and/or a mentee(s) and helps both to achieve their highest potentials.
Please join me as we begin to help you make your life the best ever and help us impact a billion people by 2022. Let's do this!
Sign up today at thementorplusproject.com.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Future is Ours

Lately, I have been inspired by so many great videos. Let this one encourage, inspire and give you hope. Move towards making this your best life now! 

Created to inspire by Michael Marantz: michaelmarantz.com - twitter.com/michaelmarantz

The future excites me so much, that is why I made this video. We need to be inspired by the immense possibilities of the future and work extremely hard to achieve them. We can do it, we just have to commit.

Help inspire others by sharing this video and tagging any interesting content on twitter with #TheFutureIsOurs

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The Future is Ours from Michael Marantz on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Get the Mentoring Equation Right


Thanks to Whitney Johnson for the below guest blog post. A very important perspective for all entrepreneurs, leaders, coaches and mentees!

This post was co-authored with Bob Moesta. While it's written from my perspective, he was central to the development of the idea. Bob is the Managing Partner of The Re-Wired Group in Detroit, an innovation incubator and consultancy specializing in demand-side innovation. An engineer, designer, serial entrepreneur, investor, and researcher, he has developed 1,000+ products/services and has collaborated with Clay Christensen at HBS for more than 15 years. 
I used to be able to say "yes" to pretty much anyone who reached out to me for mentoring. As requests increase, however, and wonderfully so, I fear that I am going to overlook those with promise who don't quite know how to package themselves. Worse yet is the thought that I may inadvertently rebuff someone simply because I haven't managed my time well, neglecting to give them the courtesy of a proper no.
My quandary has led to a considered, lengthy discussion with Bob Moesta, a demand-side innovation expert, about how to decide whom to mentor.
Bob sees mentoring as the balance of two worlds that overlap for a period of time and a certain amount of effort. Since he tends to think of the world in mathematical terms, we devised this equation as a starting point:
mentoring.png
The mentee side of the equation describes: How badly does the mentee want to advance his/her career and how much ground do they feel they need to cover to get there?
Drive = How motivated is the mentee?
Distance = Where is the mentee in terms of experience vs. where they need/want to be?

The mentor side asks: Can I help and how much effort will it require?
Gap = The amount of experience the mentor has compared with the mentee.
Relevance = The distance between the mentor's expertise and the mentee's goal.
Effort = How much work it will take to bridge any gaps of experience or relevance.
To assess both the Drive and Distance of an aspiring protege, we'd ask two questions: What is it that you would like to learn? What experience do I have, in particular, that can be helpful to you?
To date, I have gauged drive simply by whether someone shows up and asks. This is, at best, a shoddy criterion. Some people easily ask for help, but may or may not be motivated to go the distance, while others struggle with the ask, but are intensely driven. My own experience as a prospective mentee bears out the importance of knowing what specific advice you want from a mentor. As a sell-side analyst at Merrill Lynch, I approached a senior executive at Merrill hoping he might support my ambition to get on a track toward senior management. If I'd been able to clearly articulate what I wanted from this executive perhaps he would have responded more positively. What if I'd said, for example: "Here's what I know today, here's what I know you know how to do, and here's what I'd like to learn from you so that in 3-5 years I can be in senior management." (For some ideas on approaching a potential mentor, take a look at young up-and-comer Jill Felska's "The Advice I'm Using to Connect with a Potential Mentor ").
If a mentee can clear the initial hurdle of having the necessary drive, and knowing what he or she wants to gain from your experience, I'd recommend one more test before saying "yes" — assign a task, such as: "Here are five papers that I'd like you to read," and based on what you've read, "How would you reframe what you want to know?" Giving such an assignment tells a potential mentee that if he really wants help, he must do the work necessary to achieve his desired outcome. Reading on a particular topic also gives you a common language to tackle the issues at hand.
To assess mentor suitability — the other side of the equation — ask: Do I have the relevant experience and time to make this relationship successful?

First, estimate the level of experience of your prospective mentee versus your own (Gap). The bigger the gap (assuming a basic threshold of experience), the less effort required on your part. It may seem counterintuitive, but assuming a basic threshold of understanding, a large initial gap means that your new mentee will not push you to the brink of your experience. You have a lot more to teach someone 10 years behind you than someone two years behind you.
Now look at what your mentee wants to know (Relevance). If your realm of understanding is a bit distant from the school of experience  the mentee is seeking, the relationship may not be a good fit, and you're probably better off referring him elsewhere and/or recognizing that it will involve more of your time.
Finally, assess the level of time you're willing to put into developing this person. Making sure you have sufficient time to give to a potential mentee is critical to a positive mentoring experience. If you know far more than the mentee, and the expertise he is looking for is in your sweet spot, very little energy may be required. Kristy Williams, for example, approached me through my Dare to Dream blog. She was clear about what she wanted to know and what I could teach her. In guest blogging, and asking me to push back on her ideas, she hit on a dream that she's now off pursuing. Kristy achieved her goal, the effort on my part was minimal; the mentee side of the equation was easily greater than or equal to the mentor side.

Famed founder of Intel Andy Grove recently wrote , "Whenever I hear the words mentor and mentee, I get nauseous." Grove's point is that the ideal mentoring relationship is more complex than a simple equation of "A helps B." Mentoring can be give and take — both A and B teach each other and everyone benefits. Looking at it from a "jobs-to-be-done " perspective, a prospective mentee is usually trying to get the functional job done of advancing his career. For a mentor, there's the possibility that you may end up with a network of successful former mentees who are grateful and eager to reciprocate, but the job that typically gets done, and tends to be the most important, is the emotional payback and satisfaction of sharing and seeing your experience valued.
When I asked Bob why he mentors, he said, "Largely for the pure joy of knowing that because we crossed paths, that person accomplished something they didn't know they could." This is also true for me. When I spend time on a candidate with intense drive, one who knows what they want to know and why they want to learn it from me, it's like investing in a guaranteed asset. Because while I truly enjoy investing in stocks for a living, when I can invest in people and their dreams, it's a payback like no other.

This blog post originally appeared in the Harvard Business Review.
More blog posts by Whitney Johnson 
More on: Coaching , Informal leadership 
Whitney Johnson

WHITNEY JOHNSON

Whitney Johnson is a founding partner of Rose Park Advisors, Clayton M.
Christensen's investment firm, and is the author of Dare-Dream-Do:Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why you will fail to have a great career...unless?

It was a Thursday night a few weeks ago and I was heading to Toronto to my first advisory board meeting regarding The MENTOR+ project. This was a very important meeting  as I really wanted to dissect our next moves and have a game plan over the next few months.

I have had the privilege working with these great mentors/advisors the past number of months. They are generous, kind and brilliant individuals but what has made them so successful is their passion. My mentors at the meeting spent a great deal of time talking to me about options, being flexible and the sacrifices I have to make in order to be successful. Some people would have left this meeting discouraged and given up because of the fear of failing. But what made me feel good was that I left the meeting more encouraged and motivated to keep moving forward. A confirmation that I wasn't afraid even the slightest to fail.

I think about The MENTOR+ project 24/7 and love to talk to individuals who are passionate in helping others reach their highest potential. So it's fitting that I found this TEDx talk by Larry Smith who shares on one of the key aspects of having a great career.

Here's a small bio of Larry Smith:
Throughout his three-decade career at the University of Waterloo, Larry Smith has inspired legions of students to take up the mantle of economics with his passionate and homespun tales of economic wizardry. A renowned story-teller, teacher and youth leadership champion, Larry has also coached and mentored countless numbers of students on start-up business management and career development strategies.


Highlights of Larry's talk and why I want a great career:

  • Good jobs are now disappearing.
  • Good jobs are high workload, blood sucking, high stress, soul destroying jobs and then there are those in between.

If you want a great career you have to pursue your passion but most decide not to do it because:

  1. In order to have a great career people use the excuse that its a matter of luck.
  2. Great careers are made for geniuses.
  3. People with great careers are weird. So nice and normal people don't have passion?
  4.  If I work hard I will have a great career and success. Are you sure? As all the evidence says the contrary.

Passion is your greatest love not your interests. Passion is beyond your interests. 

  • You need 20 interests and then you might find your one passion. 
  • Your passion engages you more than anything else in comparison with all your other interests.
  • You must look for alternatives so that you find your destiny. Find the highest expression of your destiny. Does that scare you? If you settle for interesting then it's a missed opportunity.
  • You will FIND your passion and still fail because your not going to DO IT. 

Larry uses an example of an excuse on human relationships...

  • I want be a great friend, great parent but I will not sacrifice them because of great accomplishments. So suggesting you want a great career sounds somewhat unrealistic.
  • Do you think it's appropriate to take children as a shield? What about if your son or daughter came to you, who is great in math, but says he wants to be magician. You say to them that is tough life, not much money, no security, etc.
  • Are you going to say to them, I had dream to but I was afraid to pursue it? Do you want to use your family and see them as your jailers.
  • Instead you could say go for it son... just liked I did! So the sins of the parent are visited on the children.
  • Many seek refuge on their kids preventing them from pursuing their passion.

Some closing thoughts on "UNLESS":

Many are afraid to pursue their passion because they are going to fail. Instead of saying unless...

Or there are those that say..If only I had? Instead of saying unless...

Enjoy the video below, I hope it finds you more passionate than ever about your career! It did for me.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

WHY do you do what you do?


How come some people or organizations are more successful than others?
Thanks to one of my business mentors for sharing this TED Talk video from Simon Sinek. Very simple wisdom but makes complete sense. Here are some points from the things that I learned and below the video. Enjoy!
  • All the great and inspiring leaders or organizations act the same way.
  • They use the concept of the Gold Circle - WHY - HOW - WHAT.
  • All communicate from the inside out.
  • People don't buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.
  • The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.
  • Nothing what Simon tells you in this video is his opinion but it's grounded in the tenants of biology. He explains the Law of Diffusion and Innovation in detail.
  • Simon weaves it all together with several brilliantly told examples, from Apple computer, to the Wright Brothers, to Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Here is the video, with my highest recommendations (it’ll change the way you look at what you do). 



Social Mentoring made easy!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!


Congratulations to Earl Robinson from Toronto, Canada for winning a copy of THE SPEED OF TRUST by Stephen M.R. Covey.

Watch for a new contest coming in the next few weeks. Get yourself signed up to keep updated on The MENTOR+ Project's social network announcement launch coming soon!


Social Mentoring made easy!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Speed of Trust

The One Thing That Changes Everything
I had the privilege attending an online seminar this week conducted by G5 Leadership with special speaker Stephen M.R. Covey discussing the Speed of Trust and that "trust is a hard-edged, economic driver—a learnable and measurable skill that makes organizations more profitable, people more promotable, and relationships more energizing."


Here is some of the notes I took from seminar. Hopefully you find them helpful enough to check out the book.
The first 3 big ideas:
1. Trust is a economic driver, not merely a social driver
2. Trust is the #1 leadership competency of the new global economy
3. Trust is a learnable competency

Myths
Trust is a soft, nice to have social virtue

Realities
Trust is a hard-edged economic driver
Nothing is as fast as the SPEED of Trust
Not trusting people is more risky
Trust can be learned

4 Cores of Credibility
Character:
1. Integrity - takes humility and even when their is a cost
Competence
2. Intent - what's our motive
3. Capabilities
4. Results

Trust is a function of two things:
1. Credibility
2. Behavior

"It takes 20 year to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it." --- Warren Buffet

The book discusses 13 Characters of Building Trust. Here are six shared from the seminar.
1. Talk Straight
2. Create Transparency
3. Clarify Expectations
4. Listen first
5. Keep commitments
6. Extend trust

I highly recommend this book it's well worth the read and may change your thinking on social mentoring in your organization and personal life. 

Online mentoring made easy!


Monday, March 5, 2012

New Level… New Devil

Dealing with our fears of judgment + building a trusting Mentoring relationship
Co-authored by Greg Johnston and Chris Sherwood























I must admit that I have struggled with feelings of intimidation being around teachers, leaders, authority figures or anyone in a position of influence or power or who may have more knowledge than I.The main reason is that I have feared others’ judgment - judgment of my experiences; my successes, as well as my failures; my knowledge (or lack thereof); my clothes; the cars I have driven... pretty much any aspect of me as a person (or who I am not) or my character. It has taken me years – a lifetime, in fact – to overcome these fears… and at times I still have them.

And yet, with having my own fears of judgment, one might think that I would be sensitive to others who may consider me to be their teacher, leader or authority figure and who may struggle with the same fears. Sadly, I cannot make this claim. At times, it is I who has been the one to judge – something for which I am ashamed to have to admit and something that I find difficult to understand about myself.

Whether knowledge, power or influence actually exists in hierarchies or not, it is the perception that they do and that we may reside on a rung lower than another that is the impetus for such fears. Irrespective of whatever rung we may consider ourselves to be on (assuming that we do), it is the belief that there are rungs and that they do in fact exist in levels that drives our behaviours one way or another… hence the focus of this blog "New Level… New Devil".

What are your thoughts on power and authority? 
 Do you perceive yourself to be near the top of the ladder, and if so, how does it feel being there? Does it evoke feelings of superiority? Conversely, do you perceive yourself to be near the bottom and if so, do you struggle with feelings of inadequacy? Either way, have you ever stopped to think about where you are on your hierarchical ladder and the feelings that you have with being there? Perhaps it is more important to ask whether there is a ladder at all? For if there were no ladder, could we even be capable of generating feelings such as superiority or inadequacy?

Irrespective of where any one of us may be, do we not all need support from others and do we not all have responsibility to serve others who also need our support? If you just answered “no” to the preceding questions and you are not a plumber, perhaps you may answer them differently the next time your pipes are leaking water into your home. The bottom line is that none of us can get through life on our own – an axiom that is simply undeniable.

So that we can be more aware of our actions and the driving forces for them, it is important that we stop to reflect on what our individual experiences are regarding the various social hierarchies that exist around us and how we perceive ourselves to fit within them… if we do at all, perceive ourselves to fit within them, that is. It is also interesting to consider what the impact is on our society with respect to our collective experiences of both judging and being judged. If fears of judgment can hold us back individually, how might we be held back collectively by the same?

Personal Experience
Over the past few months I have had the privilege of meeting a number of individuals regarding The MENTOR+ project, many of whom are or have been Senior Directors within Fortune 500 companies. For people in these positions to succeed in growing their billion dollar businesses, they have to be able to lead large numbers of employees – in some cases hundreds or more. Simply put, these are people who define overachievement, so was little ol’ me intimidated to meet them? You betcha… I was petrified! Would they like my ideas or would they laugh at them and think them to be stupid? Before each meeting, I had to wrestle my fears of judgment to the ground and make the conscious choice to not give in to them. If I didn’t and chose to forgo the opportunity to meet, my fears would have gotten the better of me… and this MENTOR+ Project in which I believe so passionately may have gone nowhere. However, I have had to get to the point of asking myself "What's the worst thing they are going to say? NO?" So, what's there to worry about… in this case, nothing.

However, there are other cases where the answer to the question, “’What’s the worst thing they are going to say?’ isn’t just a simple ‘No!’” In some cases, as in some employment situations, one’s fears of judgment from asking this question may be realized in negative ways and thus, a cycle of intimidation is often perpetuated and at times opportunities for both employee and employer may be lost.

Judgment affects us all… it affects people at both the top of the so-called hierarchical ladder and also the bottom. With judgment comes fear of failure, but also fear of success. What is the solution? Mentoring relationships built on trust. Having these provides opportunities for us to deal with both our individual, but also our collective fears.

So, here are 4 things to consider:
  • With respect to the position(s) you hold, consider where you fit in the hierarchy and how it feels being in that spot. Do you feel powerful or powerless… or, depending on your circumstance, do you feel both? 
  • Reflect back to a time when you felt judged and how it felt to be so. Now consider whether you could be judging someone(s) else. 
  • Do you have any good ideas that you haven’t taken action to implement? If so, what is stopping you? Would sharing your ideas put your well-being at risk? If so, are there other options?
  • Are you in a role with decision-making authority for others? If so, how do you approach it? Do you consider the role a privilege or a right; an opportunity to serve, or an opportunity to be served? 

JUST ASK...because:
  • everyone has the capacity to be a mentor; and 
  • we were born with the inherent need for support (a.k.a. mentorship) from others; and
  • we often fear being open with our real thoughts and feelings; and
  • sometimes our fears are based on legitimate risks to our well being; and
  • none of us exist in isolation; and
  • we have access to information, but so often it is hard to know what is accurate and what is not; and
  • we live in a world where it can be difficult to know whether someone is truly qualified to provide the support we need; and 
  • even if we do know how to tell if someone were qualified, being able to access them could be impossible; and
  • all too often, people in positions of authority use their position to serve themselves and not others and so good ideas are often squelched before they ever have a chance to see the light of day; and
  • collectively, we all – and I mean ALL – suffer from peoples’ unrealized opportunities; and
  • there is a huge need for systems that can help to fill the huge gaps just identified… hence the MENTOR+ Project.

MENTOR+ Project Update
Searching for and pulling together individuals who would be willing to serve as advisors to The MENTOR+ project or as members of the inaugural Board of Directors has been somewhat of a challenging task, but we are making big strides. At first I thought I am never going to get the people I need to take this project to the next level, but as I met with people and discussed with them my passion for this project, many individuals said “YES!”...and of course some said “NO!” I am thankful to everyone who took time to meet with me and especially so to those who have agreed to be involved more formally to help move this project to the next stage of its development. I will be announcing very soon who these individuals are, so keep your eyes peeled.

Please sign up on the website at The MENTOR+ project so you can get updates on the status of our development and announcements on how we are doing. M+ will be a platform where people can be more open, more creative, more courageous, more supported, more helpful, more interconnected, more democratic… more… MENTOR+ more…

M+ will help individuals achieve their full potential and together it will help us all achieve our collective potential. Make the decision today to become a part of breaking down the barriers that hold you back and that hold us all back.

Don't worry about being judged just ASK and move forward!

PEOPLE - PROCESS - PASSION