If Only I Had Listened To My Mentor

Our first meeting was on a cloudy June morning at the Stratford Inn on 15th Street in Del Mar. This was in 1991. My soon-to-be mentor was recently retired at the age of 66 and had decided he wanted to pass on what he had learned. Since I was only 26, I was eager to hear what he had to say.

I was surprised when a small, bald man walked up and reached out his wrinkled hand and said, “Hi, I’m Joe and I’m here to help.” We ordered coffee and sat outside at small table and Joe just listened to me as I rambled on about what I had done in my life. He appeared unimpressed.

As an overachiever, I’d already written three books, founded a chain of retail stores, and appeared in the media numerous times before I was 25. I was proud of my accomplishments. Little did I know, Joe was a well respected CEO of a Fortune 500 company and worth over $500 million dollars. Yet Joe sat still sipping his coffee and listening to me with a nod here or there.

When I was finished bragging about myself he spoke, “I’m not hear to talk about your past, I want to know about what you want to do in the future.” 

I explained what I wanted to accomplish in five years and how I thought I could get there by taking a series of small steps. That’s when he said, “You sound like a singles hitter. What you need to do is swing for the fences. You need to hit home runs.”

Today I know we are both big baseball fans, but back then I was questioning his baseball acumen and the analogy as well. What did he mean, swing for the fences? That could mean a series of strikeouts and no success. No, a series of singles would be better. Safer. So I thanked him for his time and went about working my plan of stringing together singles.

As we fast forward to today, Joe is still alive (and we are still friends) and I am 53 years-old. Joe attended my wedding (he flew to Maui to be there) and is now friends with my entire family (he lives two doors down from my mom). Whenever I see him he always asks how things are and I always say the same thing, “Things are good.”

I did exactly what I said I would, I had a solid (and long) career of singles (small successes), but I never did achieve massive success (that home run Joe talked about). I’ve never told Joe this, but I should. He was right.

I wish I could say, “Joe, things are great. Unbelievable. Stupendous.” Simply, that is not the case. Joe must have seen something in me I didn’t see in myself. I should have listened to him and swung for the fences—I could have hit a grand slam instead of series of singles.

Having a mentor tell you what to do is hugely helpful . . . if you heed the advice. The mentor’s role is to share their insights and ideas. It is up to the person being mentored to act on this advice.

If Only I Had Listened To My Mentor

A Novel Idea

Thanks to readers of this blog, my new novel is now done. I asked for feedback on the cover and received a great response—and used the design most readers preferred. I also had two readers of this blog offer to edit the manuscript. Thank you all.

The Splendid Splinter is now available from Amazon in paperback.

The Splendid Splinter
Available From Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/y8t836ev
$10.00 / 130 Pages

A Novel Idea

Your Life as a Book

Have you ever thought of your life as a book or movie? Maybe you should. It’s a chance to look back and celebrate all that was good and look ahead to create what you want.

What brings out the best in you? What would you like to improve upon?

What is something you did that you were afraid to, but did it anyway? What would you try if you knew you could not fail?

Travel Guide
Where was your favorite vacation destination? Where have you always wanted to go?

Children’s Book
What is your happiest childhood memory? What can you do now to be that happy again?

Who is the love of your life? What makes them special?

Career / Business
What was a smart career or business move you made? What is your dream job? What type of business would you start if you could?

Who have you always admired? Why? What would they do if they were in your shoes right now?

When were you in your best shape? How did you do it? What would you like to look and feel like in the future?

What was one of your soundest investments? How much would you like to earn or have saved up?

Memoir / Autobiography
Write out the highlights of your life so far, and the ones to come.

Your Life as a Book


The Super Successful

What do super successful people do that we don’t? Or, to put it another way, what can we do to be super successful? Here is a checklist of the common traits high achievers share. See how many of these same traits you have and decide which ones to work on.

Action Oriented
Able to Sell
Big Picture Person
Delay Gratification
Embrace change
Fearless / Brave / Courageous
Goal Oriented
Idea Generator
Lifelong Learner
Love what they do
Quick thinkers
Relationship Builder
Risk Taker


Report Card

How Would You Grade Yourself?

If you were to give yourself a grade on how well you did last year (or so far this year) in different areas of your life, what would it be? Let’s look at some areas of your life so you can honestly evaluate yourself. Give yourself a grade for the areas that apply to you.


__ Career / Business
__ Friendships
__ Income / Money Matters
__ Health and Fitness
__ Education / Lifelong Learning
__ Parenting
__ Financial Management
__ Self-Promotion
__ Key Projects
__ Spouse / Key Relationship
__ Balance / Stress
__ Family / Immediate and Extended
__ Hobbies / “Me” Time
__ Travels / Adventures
__ Appearance / Image
__ Volunteer / Charity
__ Attitude / Demeanor

Figure out your GPA to see how you are doing overall and note which areas you need to bring your grade up.

Report Card

Remain Relevant

It’s easy to feel like we are being left behind, especially if we aren’t in our twenties any longer. Our parents hardly saw half of the changes we have. Back then, to stay informed they read the morning newspaper, listened to the radio in their car, and watched the evening news–much the same as their parents did. Our kids can get the news from a zillion different places.

One way to remain relevant is to keep up with technology, training, and trends. Another is to use our experience to our advantage. Lastly, learn what the underlying rules are so that even when mediums and methods change (the how), the basics stay the same (the why). Back to the news as an example. A good news story still has a grabbing headline, leads with the best information, and is supported with a photo accompanied by a caption.

Remain Relevant