The Care and Feeding of Mentors
Jeremy published an excellent article on finding a Mentor – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16793 OK, you followed the advice and found one willing to work with you. Now what? That is the essence of this post.
“I’m in a hurry, I don’t have much time in my schedule to devote to study or research; the bottom line is this: I want to know specifically, using my Notary License, exactly what you can do to make me rich”.
Believe it or not, that is essentially what several Mentor requesting notaries have asked me. A common theme is that they want the “fast path” to the Big Bucks. They perceive their Notary status as having the deed to a gold mine, if only they could find the exact location of their mine, to pick up the nuggets lying about for the taking. In a similar manner, when I go to the NY State Dept. offices (which administer Notary and Real Estate Broker license tests) I often hear the prospective Brokers discussing the “killing” they plan to make by selling the Empire State Building – “that commission alone will set me for life”.
There is nothing wrong with having high aspiration, but it’s real life that it also requires a large amount of perspiration to “get there”. Delusional can be defined as a false or mistaken belief or idea about something. I don’t use that word to be critical, but rather to stress the point. A Mentor devotes their time, and shares their skills and knowledge; generally without compensation. That is not always the case. I had a request to teach how to process some rather complex documents – it took a full “hands on” day; and I was paid accordingly. However, that is a rare exception.
Most requests for me to Mentor come via email and start with a liberal dose of flattery. OK, it makes sense to say something nice to someone you want to do you a favor. As covered in the above mentioned blog; I really don’t want to create competition “across the street”. So far, that has not been the case. It’s a heavy lift to train someone to be a Signing Agent from “scratch”. So I usually suggest they take a course on the subject and really learn the material. There are several sources for “basic training”. It’s just too time consuming to cover the Venue, ID requirements, Oath, and such. When I was learning to fly an airplane, initially I read about theory, and then flew simulation on my PC, graduating to renting a plane and an instructor. Getting in the plane with instructor and not knowing anything would be inefficient.
The following scenario has repeated itself several times over the past decade. I receive the request, with flattery, to help someone who wants to grow their business. Rarely is there a specific question included, just the general goal of self improvement (scores intent points) and, of course, the desire for more money. That’s fine with me – they are, in my mind, a “contender” wanting to better themselves. So, with my very first email reply I want to determine if they are willing to really WORK for their goals.
I give a “homework assignment” – it’s always the same. I ask that they read my last dozen, or more if they wish; blog entries. Then, citing which blog they are referring to: ask 12 detailed questions that relate to an issue or concept in that blog that is unclear or should be expanded upon. Why? If I’m to spend time being a true Mentor, I have to “know” the person I am working for (yes it’s working for). They have to show me that they really will put “skin in the game” and work for their own benefit. I also want to see their writing skills and get a sense of what they consider important to learn. This dispels the myth that I have a bucket of knowledge that I can simply pour in their direction. As Jeremy mentioned, there is a vast wealth in the blogs, of which my stuff makes a minor, but often useful contribution.
Sad to say: to date not a single “student” submitted their homework – not one! My intent was never to “chase them away” – If I wanted to do that I would simply reply that I was too busy. Beginners: let your prospective Mentor know that you are willing and able to WORK hard “with” them, for your gains.>