Responding to an article in my weekly e-zine, “John” (not his real name), a brand new network marketer, asked this excellent question. Here’s John:

“Where is the best place to find a mentor? I get the feeling that if I find a person who has achieved the kind of success I want, they would think it’s weird of me coming up to them and asking them to be my mentor.

“And how do I know I’ve chosen the right one? I’d hate to make a mistake.

“Finally, what advice can you give me to help me guard against procrastination and discouragement? Even once I’ve gotten my business started, I’m sure there will be times when I’ll get discouraged.”


John: first, thank you for your outstanding and thoughtful questions. It shows you truly care about your business and are approaching it from a viewpoint of long-term success.

Let’s first assume that when you say “mentor,” you’re talking about someone in your upline. Would that person think it “weird” of you to approach them and ask them to mentor you in the business? Not at all.

One of the beautiful aspects of network marketing is that it benefits your mentor (assuming this person is upline from you) to help you become just as successful as he or she is. Your upline have a vested financial interest in your success. The wealthier and more free they help you become, the more your efforts help them do the same.

Ask the person who sponsored you (if he or she is not the appropriate person to mentor you) who you might approach to be your mentor. Approach that person with humility and appreciation and let them know you would like to learn from them how to be successful in the business.

Also don’t forget: outside the borders of your company it’s a big world out there! There are dozens and hundreds of amazing mentors, including speakers on generic success and abundance principles, such as Brian Tracy, Bob Proctor, Jim Rohn and scores of others, as well as many who specialize in network marketing, such as John Fogg, Randy Gage, Kim Klaver and many others.

Start collecting, reading, studying, and devouring these people’s books and audio programs. One excellent source for this is the Networking Times web site catalog (


The Wall of China

How do you know if the person you choose to mentor you is the right choice? Do your due diligence. Check around, find out who are the best teachers out there. Once you’ve chosen one to learn from, resist the normal human tendency to delay, and take immediate action.

This is not to confuse “immediate action” with blindly rushing into something before you’ve fully concluded it’s a good idea. Do your research, ask questions, seek advice from others. Make your decision—then go.

But how do you know for sure? You don’t. No one does. Fortunately, you don’t have to. If you feel you don’t have all the facts before moving forward, relax: that will never happen. It’s impossible. If you plan on waiting until you have 100 percent of the information before taking action, you’ll probably never take action.

The fact is, we can never (or practically never) be 100 percent certain of anything. There are always things we simply cannot know in advance. Fortunately, we can know enough to make credible and intelligent decisions.

I call this my “Great Wall of China Principle.”

In my live seminars I often ask, “How many of you have ever been to the Great Wall of China?” Usually, at least one or two hands go up—but regardless of the size of the crowd (and these are sometimes groups of many thousands), it’s rarely more than one or two. The overwhelming majority have never been to the Great Wall of China.

Then I ask, “How many of you believe, without any question at all, that the Great
Wall of China does in fact exist?” And all hands go up, every time.

Now I’ll ask them, “If you’ve never been there to see it for yourself, how can you be so positive?” And everyone starts laughing and shouting out answers.

“We’ve seen it on TV!” “We’ve seen pictures of it in National Geographic!” “I saw a story on it in Newsweek!” “We studied it in school!” I know someone who visited it!” And even, “Well, that person over there raised his hand—why would he lie to us?!”

And they’re right. There is an absolutely overwhelming amount of logical evidence, a preponderance of evidence, that the Great Wall of China exists.

It’s the same when making a decision as to whom you should choose as your mentor. You can compile the evidence you need to make a worthwhile decision that is most likely the right decision. Then, it’s up to you to take action.


The Secret to Getting Started: Start

Imagine how far you’d get in your car if you waited until every single traffic light in the city turned green before stepping on the gas. It’s just not going to happen. And it doesn’t need to. One green light is all you really need to get started; you’ll find the others along the path.

Procrastination is something that affects all of us (me included). How do we get past that? Simply by taking action.

People often make the mistake of believing that we need to feel ready before we begin. Not true. Sometimes you need to begin, and then you’ll feel ready. Simply take that initial action.

After that, the key is to have such a strong desire to succeed and such a strong belief in what you’re doing that you’ll be able to stay persistent and carry on during those times you feel like quitting.

Good luck, John. I know you can do it!


BOB BURG is author of Endless Referrals
The Success Formula.