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Internet Marketing School of Hard Knocks

Updated on May 28, 2014

Mastermind Group is Essential - Choose Your Mentors Wisely

When I started out, I found a Mentor, that I stuck with for close to 4 years. I was part of a mastermind group, but the majority of people in it were not as far as long in their skill development as I was. I did learn by helping them, but I was hungry for success. My mentor was skilled in some areas, but in reality, I was teaching him more than he was teaching me. He was making more money than I was, but it was at my expense. I was training HIS downline. Not only training them, but tending to their emotional wounds when he would berate or otherwise offend them. You see, he had a need to control everything and everyone. He was intolerant of mistakes - except his own.

He turned out to be an egomaniac, and although I really did know that all along, I didn't really understand the degree of damage that an inflated ego can cause. I also felt a sense of loyalty, moreso to the group, that kept me hanging in there. It took me that long - nearly four years - to develop my own "marketing personality" and cut the ties that bound me. Without a word of exaggeration, the very day after I went on my way, I started making money. Isn't that amazing? I still marvel at that.

That is an experience that I needed to go through in my personal growth and development. That negative influence that really prevented me from progressing was something that taught me more than I could have ever learned from any college course, program or self help book. The University of Hard Knocks really is a fantastic institution!

When I failed to follow his lead, not so much because I thought the business decision was wrong, but more because of the way he went about attempting to force his influence (through intimidation), he turned on me. He made false statements about me to others. He seriously could not stand that I did not do as instructed. It was the single best thing that could have happened to me. I was fuming mad at the time, but today, I am ever grateful for the experience.

His greed and his inflated ego (really masked insecurity) cost him a great deal, and brought me a good deal of enlightenment. It cost him in terms of hard cold cash. I gave that some serious thought... and again learned something very valuable. The cost of the need to be seen as superior, to be honored and adored is very high. It occurs to me that if HE had done some introspection, if he had actually done some work on developing himself, rather than just being out for the buck and the praise, he would probably be a very wealthy man.

When I heard, through the internet grapevine, that he was taking credit for my success, I was again angry. How dare he... but when I considered what that really meant, I actually felt sad for him. How insecure he really must be! It is unfortunate, but he will probably never reach his true potential simply because he refuses to recognize his weaknesses. I realized that he really has taught me alot... mostly what not to do and the high price of an insatiable need for praise and recognition, which is really a lack of true self esteem.

Nobody can every take credit, or blame for that matter, for another person's success or failure. In my case, I became successful IN SPITE OF the years "wasted" teaching my mentor's downline. Whether he taught me anything or not, is quite irrelevent. It was I who did the work. It was I who spent the countless hours in training sessions, reading and studying, and yes, it was also I who made the decision to spend 4 years with a mastermind group that did not provide as much benefit to me as another may have. I am responsible for my own success, my own mistakes, and my own failures.

There really are several morals to this story:

  1. Listen to your gut.
  2. Take responsibility for your decisions, both good and bad.
  3. Don't take responsibility for the actions or inactions of others. If you help someone along their journey, that's great, and it is noble, but realize that they did it - and they would have made it without you - same goes for failure.
  4. Watch the people you are working with. Are they genuine? Do they really have your best interests at heart?
  5. Do you have a huge need for praise and recognition? We all need some form of recognition, its the human condition, but keep your ego in check. Work on yourself and your self esteem. Stay humble.
  6. If you are in a one sided relationship - where you are either all giver or all taker, you need to evaluate the health of that relationship. Failing to do so will not be catastrophic, but it will slow your progress.
  7. Make every experience a learning opportunity and even your failures and bad decisions will be successes.
  8. Always beware of the egomaniac, posing as a world class mentor. They dazzle you with their success stories, but you can bet that any success they have achieved has been on the backs of others, and that they are probably exaggerating...

More what not to do articles coming soon...


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      Cindy Bolley 9 years ago

      Great Post Karen, I know for a fact that all that you say is true.

      What a differnece a mentor can make.

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      Brenda Franzo 9 years ago

      Karen, what a fabulous post! And how true...I love the "IM School of Hard Knocks" concept! Great job!

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      Gayle Fox 9 years ago

      Karen, you have such a great talent for putting your thoughts into words that anyone can relate to. I always enjoy your articles.

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      Lonny Heiner 9 years ago

      This is a well written article and the content is very true of a lot of relationships. Well done Karen!