One evening in November last year, I was skimming LinkedIn for interesting articles, when I came across a post by Mark Smith (aka nz365guy), calling out for any last minute expressions of interest for his 90 Day Mentoring Challenge. I’d been aware of the Challenge for some months, as I’d seen it advertised here and there on Social Media, and had seen several people I knew and admired posting about what a great experience it had been for them. In fact, one time, when I was feeling a bit brave … I’d even started to register my own interest … and then not submitted it.
After all, I reasoned with myself … I was probably a bit too old for mentoring and not really ‘good enough’ anyway.
But this particular evening … I must have been wanting to shake things up a bit, as I remember submitting my interest with an almost audible ‘so there!’. Needless to say, the next morning I was more than a little anxious when I received a response from Mark Smith, inviting me to provide more information about myself and my reasons for applying.
True to form, I felt completely intimidated … and the email sat in my inbox unanswered for over a month.
I was most definitely in awe of Mark at that point, having seen him speak at several events in person and of course having heard his legendary podcasts. To be honest, although I still think he’s pretty awesome, I now know that he’s such an approachable and totally down to earth person, there was no need at all for me to feel anxious!
Anyhow, Christmas and New Year came and went, work was busy, family life was hectic as ever and I’d pretty much not thought about the 90 Day Mentoring Challenge until one day in January, when I received an email from Mark following up on my interest in the Challenge, and inviting me to complete the registration.
I felt at the same time a little embarrassed and a lot annoyed at myself. Before I could talk myself out of it, I replied with complete honesty about my reasons for wanting to join the Challenge. Mark responded almost immediately, welcoming me to the programme and encouraging me to take the first steps to join the group. Ok, so now I felt like even more of a numpty … but considerably less anxious and actually really excited about the start of the Challenge!
I watched the introductory video and psyched myself up for the first session by joining the participants group on Facebook, and to my surprise there were a whole bunch of familiar faces in the group!
I learned that our group was quite a lot bigger than I had imagined it would be, I think around 100 of us from all over the globe. We would be divided into Northern and Southern Hemispheres for the purpose of our group mentoring sessions, but we were essentially one super-large super supportive group of like minded people on the same learning journey.
I was also really surprised to see that although there were some MVPs, and quite a few rising stars in the group, most of the participants were people just like me, ordinary consultants hoping to learn how to navigate a career course more effectively, become more involved in the Community, and start ‘paying it forward’.
Not wishing to spoil the experience for any of next years participants, I’m not going to go into the detail of how the Challenge works. Suffice to say, we received some mentoring and were set some tasks … and there was a lot of work to do in our own time. I would not recommend this Challenge to anyone who is not prepared to put the time and effort into making the most of their experience.
But for anyone who is prepared to throw themselves into it, Mark is an exceptional mentor. He shares the full breadth of his knowledge, experience and expertise totally selflessly. He seems to have boundless energy, and a genuine interest in helping everyone reach their full potential.
From my perspective, the way Mark reinforces each of the mentoring sessions with additional self study and application is also exceptional. After examining each key area of focus, Mark helps you find the right learning resources and then (and this is the key part) sets you on course to build the practical and experiential skills you will need to keep pushing yourself to the next level in each area of learning. To be honest, I don’t think I even realised the extent of what we’d learned and how we’d learned it, until some months after the end of the Challenge!
Aside from having made some wonderful friends among our group, a lot of what I have taken from the 90 Day Mentoring Challenge has been about discipline, and accountability, about setting goals and having the confidence to push through any barriers to achieve those goals.
I know that I will be a life-long learner, that I will go at my own pace, and that my path will be one of my own choosing. The 90 Mentoring Day Challenge has given me the confidence to decide my own measure of success and achieve it, and the determination to help others achieve theirs.
Looking back, I can’t believe I was ever reluctant to take part, I would do it again in a heartbeat, and can’t recommend it enough!
#NeverTooLate #WeRiseByLiftingOthers #90DayMC