Mentors are critical to professional success — everyone can benefit from the advice of an experienced individual.
Lynne Brick, Joe Cirulli and Frank Lawrence, all veterans and leaders in the industry, have each benefited from the guidance of mentors throughout their lives. Here, they share the best advice they’ve ever gotten from mentors and their insights into identifying the right mentors:
Lynne Brick, co-owner, Brick Bodies and Planet Fitness Growth Partners: We met our mentor at a CEO Club meeting. Dan Pena made his millions in the oil industry during the gas crisis in the 1970s. Here’s what we learned from him:
Joe Cirulli, owner and CEO, Gainesville Health & Fitness: The truth is when I began 45 years ago, there were no mentors. What I learned was more of what not to do, than what to do. Then I picked up a book called “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Dr. Normal Vincent Peale, and I found a new source of mentors. First books, then tapes. That first book led to many more mentors:
I read books and listened to tapes constantly. And in 1996, I came across the REX Roundtables. The entire group, led by Will Philips, became a new source of mentorship.
Frank Lawrence, CEO, The Athletic Clubs: I learned the rotary four- way test, which challenges anything we think, say and do:
And probably the best thing I learned is this quote from James Michener, which helps sum up my life:
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he’s always doing both.”
LB: Here’s what to look for:
JC: Credibility — you have to find people you trust. They have to be people who have already done what you want to do. You’re looking for a guide, and a guide can only be credible if they have already accomplished what you want to achieve. The purpose of a mentor is to give you the path toward success. I have found you want to have a teacher who can help you skip all the mistakes that were made in the past — someone who can give you a beeline toward what you want to accomplish. Trust is so important.
FL: The mentors I’ve had in my life tended to have very similar values to mine, personally and professionally. They tended to, in general, be good people who treated others fairly and worked hard. Those are the people I identified from whom I could gain knowledge going forward.
LB: These are the best ways to find mentors:
JC: It’s easy — find those people who have already done it, and do exactly what they say.
FL: Never stop learning. I’m constantly engaged with those people in my past who were significant to me, and it helps me encounter new people who add value to that.