Business Coach : The Best In The Business
-Now, have you had abusiness mentor in your life?
-Oh, I’ve had a business coach.
-Can you give me an example of maybe not necessarily the person, unless you feel comfortable sharing their name, but give me an example of the kind of impact a business coach has had on your life.
-I could give so many examples, but I’m thinking right now of a guy. His name was Dr. Keppra Newra Kim. I met him in 1997 at the University of Oklahoma. He was a professor of Intro to African American Studies. He just passed away about a year ago.
He was a big guy. He was 6′ 5″, about 300 pounds
-And he had a huge voice and–
-TD Jakes style.
-He was one of those guys– you know, a lot of times you meet big people. They all other life, they’ve been taught not to be intimidating, so they try to be nice and talk low. That was not him, and he had this crazy haircut, where he had like– I’ve never seen it before– he had locks, but he had it cut close on the size.
-Was this like Al Sharpton?
-No, it wasn’t like Al Sharpton, like dreadlocks down the middle, but cut close on the side.
-Really, that’s beautiful.
-Very intimidating guy. Let me tell you, this guy and his class, and I thought I was pretty hot stuff, right? I thought I was ready to do some stuff, and I raise my and one day, and he called on me, and I said what I wanted to ask him whatever. And I was feeling good about it, and he said, and? And I was like, what do you mean “and?” He said, what does that mean? Because I was just regurgitating some information, thinking I was going to impress him.
He said, well, what does that mean Mr. Sullivan? I didn’t have an answer to that. He embarrassed me. Then, the next last period, when we had an assignment, I get it back and it looked like somebody had bled on it. He just had marked it UP. I got a zero on it, too. I was– can I say pissed?
-You can say pissed.
-I was [BEEP]. I was [BEEP], and I went to him, and I said, now, why are you being so hard on me? He said I’m being hard on you because I see potential, but you’re not living up to it. A business coach will be this way.
-And that guy mentored me, worked with me. My writing skills were horrendous. My diction was horrendous. He worked with me and work with me and worked with me, and just became one of my best friends in life.
-Now, I’m going to say this because I think it’s absolutely critical for anybody. Every entrepreneur, we either learn from mistakes or mentors. Do you agree with that?
-And so I have found that every business coach I’ve ever had in my life, to highlight that, they’ve made me mad. I remember sitting down with one mentor of mine. I used to be, and I’m ashamed to say, but I used to suggest for brides and grooms– I booked weddings. We had a wedding entertainment service, and I would suggest that the couples would meet me for lunch, and I was making them over there at McDonald’s. Nothing wrong against the golden arches, but I mean, that was my suggested spot for affordable meal meeting was McDonald’s.
And I remember looking at him, and he said, you can’t dress like that. you are at the DJ, which was questionable enough, hiring you for a wedding, and then you’re 20. You look young. You’ve got double hoop earrings. What are you wearing, and why are you going to McDonald’s?
And I said, well, sir, I would like to go McDonald’s, but I’ve got to close some deals first before I could have enough money to start going up street to Panera, which, at the time, was Saint Louis Bread– the $6 salad instead of the $0.99. And he says, you’ll never have any money. Just go over there, buy a coffee, offer to buy them a coffee. Just I’m telling you, and it hurt. It was painful.
I kind of went home and I was like, well, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And then I realized, well, he’s a bestselling author and I’m not. His life was made into a movie and man hasn’t. Well, I’ll do it. And that’s kind of how it feels like a lot. So I think that’s something that we all– if you have a good mentor, they’re going to kind of irritate you.
-Absolutely, I can remember another business coach of mine Mr. Carl Williams, who was my ninth grade teacher. He was the first African American male teacher that I had growing up, and I hated him. Let me tell you why; because he wouldn’t allow you to write with anything but a black pen. You had to use a certain margin paper. He was just the worst. But that man became, and in he’s still, a very good friend of mine because he challenged you. He made you better, and he pushed you, and that’s what you want from a mentor.
-Now, let me ask you this here; if I’m somebody right now watching this, and I’ve never had a mentor, or maybe I’m a student, but I wasn’t ready, so the teacher never appeared because I wasn’t ready, and I’m kind of pushing the teachers off. If I’m looking for a mentor right now, where would you suggest that I would go to find on outside of Thrive? Because we’ve created Thrive to be that for you, that virtual mentor. But where would you suggest I would go to find a mentor?
-If you are trying to be in the medical profession, contact a medical association in your area. If you’re trying to be a lawyer, go to the local bar. If you’re trying to be an architect, go the architectural organizations. Whatever you’re trying to do, go to where those individuals are. And like you say, you don’t want to go there dressed inappropriately.
I tell my students, and I tell my clients also, but really my students, I say, you’ve got to understand that life is about relationships, and also life is about uniform. You show up to play the game, and you show up in a proper uniform. And I explained to them, when you go to play basketball, you don’t show up in a helmet. Why? And they say, because that’s for football.
So if you’re going to show up, and you want a mentor, if you want DJs to mentor you, there’s no reason for you have to show up in a three-piece tuxedo because DJs don’t walk around in them, for that matter. And vice versa, if you want to go get mentored by a pediatrician, don’t show up there with a basketball uniform.