I recently met with a retired businessman who I contact often for advice. It’s safe to refer to him as a mentor who has provided a ton of guidance for many years.

I would first like to share that seeking advice from others was not easy for me in my younger years. I used to think all the answers needed to come from me. I knew my career and business better than anyone, so it would be a waste of time to ask others for their ideas and direction.

Big mistake!

Here is what I discovered …

  • It is true, I have a good handle of what I want to do in my career. However, I am too much in the weeds and unable to see the big picture.
  • When making personal decisions, I am either too optimistic or too pessimistic about difficult situations I face.
  • When facing problems, it’s easy to blame others. I might erroneously think I’m making all the right moves, but other people are failing to do their part.

There are many other reasons to seek advice from a mentor, but these are my big three.

Pursuing Success

Now in my 50s, my career goals have changed. There was a time when everything revolved around increasing my annual income. Of course, it’s important to have the money we need to subsist and to enjoy life.

This makes sense.

However, there is a point where the pursuit of wealth can be counterproductive to a healthy life.

When I raised this topic with my mentor, he made the following comment …

The success program is easy, but people are complicated.”

From the way he delivered this message, I could tell he had practiced this advice for many years.

A slight smile formed on his face, and silence ensued.

After about a minute, I nodded. It landed!

The best decisions are often easy to identify, but it’s natural for me to complicate things. There are many times when I justify my actions by stating that it is imperative to exploit ALL opportunities. I have worked too hard, and I cannot leave any stone unturned.

The Next Move

Based on the unbiased advice shared by mentor, I decided to take my career in a new direction. It’s true, my income will remain steady for the foreseeable future, and it will not grow exponentially.

However, the upside is I will have more time to spend with my faith and family.

I’m sure I’ve heard this advice in the past, but I was not ready to implement it. In fact, I remember a friend discontinued working for an organization where he earned more than $250,000 per year because the extensive business travel took him away from his family.

When he shared this story with me, I thought he was crazy for making this career change. He accepted a job in town that paid less, but he could attend all the family functions. There’s hardly a Sunday I do not see the family at mass.

Today, I’m the one making this crazy decision … and it feels right!