One thing that becomes obvious to anyone who tries to work through the goal-setting and life-planning exercises mentioned in my book Release is that it takes time. Un-rushed time. And, as it says in the book’s Foreword, “In much of the world today there is no rarer commodity.”
One of the best things you can do to jump-start your life planning is to take a retreat. It’s not as scary as it sounds, and could be one of the most beneficial habits you form.
So, pasted for you below, taken from the upcoming Release Life Planning Manual, is a short summary of how to do a retreat. If this stirs you to do your first retreat, please let me know how it goes. And if you have other retreat tips, please share them below.
1. While it is possible to benefit from a half day or a day away by yourself, there is a significant gain in benefit if you can take two nights away. This gives you a full un-rushed day for reading, writing and reflection.
I just completed a small contract in which I hired a man from Pakistan via UpWork to do some work on my website.
He was fantastic, and did the initial job, which would have taken me two days and it still would’ve been wrong, in 90 minutes.
I then decided to do some work on a different website, and there were suddenly glitches. I know enough about such things to know the problem was with the webhost, not my freelancer, and we worked through it together. He spent 3 hours on the task (until after 2 am in his time zone) and then refused to bill me for it because we didn’t achieve the objective!
I gave him a substantial bonus when it was all over to thank him for his hard work and the great advice he gave me about the site.
Then he said a couple things which both encouraged me and made me wonder.
I hope you have become convinced through these last few posts that having mentors is an essential part of your personal growth plan.
Here are 10 Commandments of Mentoring from Stanley and Clinton in Connecting: The Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed in Life:
Relationship: You will have differing depths of relationship with your mentors, but all relationships require effort to maintain.
Purpose: Mentoring is not random. It is for a very clear purpose or area of your life. Be clear on the purpose of a mentoring relationship.
Regularity: Once a week is ideal. But whatever the frequency, discuss the expectations ahead of time.
Accountability: Give your mentor explicit freedom to hold you accountable in your growth area.
Communication Mechanisms: Especially be clear on how you want negative feedback to be communicated.
Confidentiality: Rather than assuming your mentor will know what level of confidentiality you are comfortable with, describe your expectations right up front. A good mentor leans toward very high levels of confidentiality.
Life Cycles of Mentoring: Avoid open ended mentoring relationships. Set a time limit from the beginning.
Evaluation: The mentor evaluates you, but you are both involved in evaluating the mentoring process. Schedule evaluation times throughout the duration of the mentorship.
Expectations: Most of the commandments relate to this issue of expectations in some way. And most negative mentoring experiences are due to unclear or uncommunicated expectations.
Closure: Even if a friendship develops and continues beyond the formal mentoring time, bring closure to the mentoring relationship.
So there you have it: With this and the last few posts, you know everything you need to accelerate your personal growth through mentors.
As mentioned last time, mentors are an essential component of long term personal growth.
I would argue that most of us need mentors in one or more area of our lives all the time. But, how do you know when and where you need a mentor?
You need a mentor when you are plateaued or puzzled in a key area of life.
It may be a personal area of life, or it may lean more towards the vocational or professional side of things, but when you notice a plateau- a sustained lack of growth- or an increasing number of unanswered questions, that is a clue that you need a mentor in that area.