Gurus, Guides, & Fellow Travelers (Relationships for Success)
A Guru is someone who has been there and done that.
They have achieved the goal you’re after (maybe more than once) and understand the journey from the vantage point of someone that has completed the whole thing.
They’re wise and can see the big picture.
A Guide is someone that is a few steps ahead of you on the journey.
They can’t give you the big-picture advice and wisdom that a guru can…
But they can give you specific advice on how to take the next couple of steps because they’re closer to the problem you’re experiencing.
While a Guru can help with big-picture things, they’re often too far removed from the concrete problems you’re experiencing to give you actionable steps.
A guide still remembers these problems and can help you through them.
Unlike Gurus and Guides, Fellow Travelers are people that are on the journey with you.
They can’t give you advice on what to do next, because they don’t have that experience, instead they provide additional data about the journey you’re on.
Fellow Travelers are also a great resource for accountability and motivation.
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How to climb a mountain
An easy metaphor for understanding the relationship between the three types of mentors is by looking at them through the lens of climbing.
Let’s say you want to summit Denali in Alaska, the tallest peak in North America.
That’s a hard thing to do (only 50% of people who attempt it actually succeed) so you will absolutely need help to do it.
To do so you may seek the help of a Guru who has climbed Denali multiple times and understands the challenge on a macro level.
They can ask good questions to help you figure out if it’s something you really want to do since it’s dangerous and you should know what you’re getting yourself into.
If they decide that your head is in the right place they can suggest what route to take depending on the season.
Essentially, the guru has years of experience and knows the journey you’re about to embark on intimately, and can give you an idea of what to expect.
In order to improve the chances of reaching the top of the mountain, and do so safely, you can hire a Guide to lead the expedition.
The guide, like the guru, has climbed Denali before, but they’re actually coming on the trip with you.
They will lead the expedition staying a few steps ahead of you…
And since they will be just a few steps ahead of you they can give you specific advice:
“Step here, not there… that rock is loose!”
Finally, in order to improve your chances of actually following through with your goal you decide to find a Fellow Traveler, a friend that will climb Denali with you.
You are able to lean on each other during training for the climb, keep each other accountable, and during the actual climb you can watch each other to speed up learning:
“Oh, the way that Joe is holding the trekking poles is actually way better than the way I’m holding them. I’ll hold them like that from now on!”
Application to business & your career
As you read this you’re probably already getting ideas of what these “positions” could look like as you pursue your business & career goals.
A guru could be someone who has built the type of business you want, or someone who has the type of career you want to emulate.
A guide could be someone that teaches you specific skills you need to actually build that business, for example how to run Facebook ads, grow a newsletter, etc.
And a fellow traveler could be someone trying to reach the same goal that you start a mastermind with for accountability and to learn from each others’ successes and failures.
These three positions, the guru, guide, and fellow traveler are an integral part of your success team.
As the poet John Donne famously said “No man is an island”…
And similarly, people who find success on their own are the exception, not the rule.
Look behind most people who have succeeded in their endeavors and you will find a team of people that helped them get there.
Which one are you?
The other way this can apply to your business & life is by looking inward and asking yourself which one of those roles you can play for other people.
So many people are afraid to sell their services because they feel like they need to know everything before they start.
But you don’t need to be a guru in order to help someone…
In some cases being a guide, someone just a few steps ahead, can be more valuable!
Wrapping up 🌯
As you continue on your journey keep an eye out for people who have achieved the things you want to achieve.
Are they gurus or guides?
Do you know any fellow travelers you can meet with regularly to keep each other accountable and motivated?
The online business/career game can sometimes feel lonely.
Unlike a regular career that has a predefined path, ours is more like hiking in the dark without a map… just a headlamp to illuminate a few steps ahead.
All we have are our inputs:
But the outputs, the successes, are out of our control.
So finding someone, a guide that can reassure you that you’re on the right path, or a guru that has an eye on the big picture for you, or better yet both…
Can be the edge you need to reach your goals!
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