Sunday, December 28, 2014

I hang around people better than me, and you should, too.

     Yes, you heard correctly.  I deliberately surround myself with people who are smarter, more experienced, or just plain better than me.  For almost every part of my life, "I have a guy for that."  Sometimes, I have an organization "for that," instead.  You'll see what I mean...
  • Accountant
  • Counselor
  • Attorney
  • Doctors (I have a whole bunch of doctors on my shortlist.  I have a primary care physician, OBGYN, optometrist, dentist, my kids' pediatrician, etc.)
  • Hair dresser
  • Church family
  • Insurance guru
  • General contractor/handyman
  • Auto mechanic/collision repair
  • Babysitter
  • Pest control guy
  • Plumber
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Photographer
  • Academic adviser
  • Spiritual mentor
  • 2-3 moms older than myself, who have more experience in child rearing, and whose children are a little older than mine.  I follow them on Facebook, and I pay close attention to their behaviors.  They are - in a few words - better than me.  They are women that I emulate.  
  • Study group with students smarter than me
  • Realtor
  • Veterinarian
This is a photo of a couple who has been spiritual mentors for my husband and me.

I'm not an expert in everything.

    For every area of my life, I need someone I can trust to help me make the best decisions possible.  Imagine if I were good at everything!  I would make only the best decisions on all kinds of matters.  It would be like graduating school with an M.D., a J.D., a Ph.D, a license in real estate, insurance, and automatically gaining years of experience in construction, conflict resolution, and an infinite list of other credentials.  That would be awesome, but it's impossible.  Relying on the counsel of highly qualified people and experienced mentors gives me the closest match to my pipe dream of being an expert in everything.  

"Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces."

Proverbs 13:20

It applies for both personal life and business.

    This list gets more exhaustive when you consider all the people on speed dial for business purposes.  I have a go-to list for every conceivable supplier, trade, or other business need.  That's because I am a firm believer in valuing the advice of people who are an expert in their field and cultivating lifelong relationships.  I will never be an expert in every field, but I can make the same smart decisions as if I were.

Don't be a moocher.  

    Finally, here are some keys to successful, longstanding relationships with your mentors and professionals:
  • Approach non-professionals (mentors) with a humble attitude and grateful spirit, so that they feel honored by your gesture of recognizing their valuable life experiences.  
  • Give back to the ones who have helped you, and pay it forward to those who haven't.
  • When approaching a business professional, understand that their time is money and reimburse them according to their set rates.  Don't ask for freebies.