Webster's defines a mentor as a "wise advisor, a teacher or coach". How important is it to find a mentor? Can you be successful without one? I am sure that you can be successful without a mentor, but the importance of a mentor should not be discounted. A good mentor can shorten your trip to success and keep you in the game when times get tough. As I look back on my life, aside from my parents, there were three people who made the difference in the direction that my life took and without them I am not sure I would have had the success that I have had.

When I left high school teaching and entered the investment business, the gentleman who was the office manager at the time became my mentor. He was the most successful person in that office and I realized quickly that if I could do what he did, I could have the same success. Jerry was a great mentor. He taught, encouraged and when necessary gave me the constructive criticism I needed. He taught me the investment business, but more important, he taught me that I could do what ever I put my mind to. He also led me to mentor number two. I will tell you about him later.

What I made a decision it was time to leave the investment business for network marketing I found mentor number three. This time it was Paula Pritchard. Paula had already been very successful in the network marketing business and was willing to teach and encourage me. Again, just as I had with Jerry, I did what she told me to do and achieved the success I was seeking.

What did these two people have in common? Jerry and Paula were both successful in the business that I was attempting to learn. Both were good teachers and willing to take the time to work one-on-one with me to help me achieve success. Both were as interested in my success as they were in their own. I chose them because they had a track record of success and they led by example. They never asked me to do anything that they were not also willing to do.

What if there is no one in your upline that has had success, is willing to teach you and leads by example? Where do you find a mentor? Well that brings me to my mentor number two.

My second mentor was not someone I knew personally in fact, I never met him. He however had as great an effect on me as almost anyone else in my life. This person's influence in my life came through his personal development training tapes. He was Jim Rohn. The day that I completed my paperwork to join the investment business Jerry handed me two cassette series. One was Jim Rohn's "Seven Secrets of Wealth and Happiness" and the second was Brian Tracey's "The Psychology of Achievement". While Brian Tracey's series gave me information that I have used through the years, it was Jim Rohn's series that changed my life. It put me on a track of personal development and growth that continues today, 20 years later.

I encourage you to look for a mentor. Begin first with your sponsor and upline. Look for someone who has already been successful, who is a willing to teach you, who does what they tell you to do and who has business practices and ethics with which you are comfortable. If there is no one in your upline that has these characteristics, look elsewhere in your company. You may not get personal one-on-one attention from someone outside your line of sponsorship but you can still learn from them. If you cannot find someone to work with in your company, then you will need to look elsewhere. Find a network marketing trainer whose credentials you can check and who has a good reputation. Use them as your mentor until you find someone that you can work with more closely.

A mentor is a light in the darkness, an arm around your shoulder when things have not gone well, the kick in your rear when you deserve it and a pat on the back when you have achieved your goals.

Kathy Robbins began her career as a high school teacher but found the income potential lacking. She left teaching to become a Financial Planner - a very successful one.

While Kathy was very successful in the investment business, she had little time to enjoy her success or the freedom to travel. At that time, one of her clients was Paula Pritchard, a successful network marketer who suggested Kathy try network marketing part-time. Eight months later, having replaced the income she was making in the investment business, she left that industry for good and became a full-time network marketer.

Kathy has reached the top position with a number of network marketing companies and participated in the expansion of those companies into Europe. She is known as one of the best trainers in the industry and has consulted with network marketing companies in operations, sales and marketing and expansion.