Meet my secret business mentor

Mentorship is a strategy that often catapults a business from being just good to great. For me, mentorship has been an important part of my life since I was a child. Like many of you, I spent much of my childhood developing a deep affinity for Mr. Rodgers. It might have been his unconditional care and constant reassurance that I was unique and special. Or that deep down, even as I child, I knew we had a shared belief in how to incorporate faith into our callings. Whatever it was that drew me to him, he was a role model I’d delightfully watch and listen to every possible day. As my life evolved, different people mentored me. Teachers. CEOs. Friends. My parents, of course. It might surprise you, but these days my business mentor is yet again a character positioned as a teacher for the young developed by Mr. Rodgers. An earnest toddler tiger named Daniel.

Yep, my business mentor is a cartoon tiger.

Business mentor, Daniel the Tiger

With my children now aged two and three I find myself transfixed by the insightful songs and themes that seem to address exactly what a toddler experiences in their day-to-day lives. Funny enough, I’ve drawn multiple parallels to my business in these lessons, as well.

Here are some of my favorite Daniel Tiger lessons — for joypreneurs (and toddlers, too!)

When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good!

Tony Robbins is often heard saying that “80% of success in life is psychology and 20% mechanics.” When translated to business, this means most of the success of a company is based the ability of a leader or set of leaders to see an opportunity from each and every challenge. I have found this to be true time and time again – that when we have a losing mindset, we lose because we bring upon ourselves what we believe to be true. When you have a winning mindset in business, you are so determined to figure out a way to win that you almost always figure out creative solutions to problems.

You’ve got to look a little closer to find out what you want to know.

Want to know the ‘why’ behind a repeating habit you need to break? How to solve a problem that you’ve never encountered before? If there is any data out there that can support your intuitive hunch about something? Look a little closer because the very best leaders know that they are not the end-all-be-all of knowledge and information, and know how to ask just the right questions before jumping to a solution. Business mentor, Daniel the Tiger

If you can’t do it alone, work together.

The truth is, we can’t be great at everything. Studies show that we are much better off spending our time developing strengths, and then teaming up with others to complement areas where we are weak. Being part of a high performing team is the very best way to accomplish something that no one could do on their own. One of my very favorite aspects of franchising is that we have developed a connected, supportive community within our group of owners..

Keep trying, you’ll get better!

When I was in the midst of raising funds for my company last year, I followed up for about the 10,000th time with a national CEO I really wanted on my team. He finally wrote back with this simple reply: “persistence will be the number one reason for your success. I’m in.” No one comes into entrepreneurship, or even life, as an outstanding manager, leader, artist, parent, athlete, friend, or spouse. Everyone is predisposed for greatness in their gifted areas of strengths, but we only reach our potential with self-awareness and a deep-seeded refusal to fail.

Thank you for everything you do.

Thank you is one of the most important words in the English language. Each and every week, I have time blocked to send a gratitude note in the mail. This year, I have been upgrading this weekly challenge to an entire gratitude box. This forces me to take the time to send tangible encouragement and thank you’s, and the responses have been remarkable. It’s amazing how little people hear a genuine, thoughtful “thank you,” and how happy they are when they receive one. Perhaps your business mentor comes in the form of a traditional coach you meet with once month. Or maybe it’s books. Or meditation. Or yoga. Finding mentorship and guidance in nontraditional places is often just as useful as traditional ones.

What people, objects or activities mentor you in your business?

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