Most successful people I meet have one thing in common: they have mentors. They describe their mentor as someone who has made a difference in their life and taught them things that helped them reach a higher level of success more quickly than they could have on their own. Whether it was a friend, a relative, or someone they had never met in person, the impact of this person was undeniable.

In today's home-based business environment, it is no different. There are many up-and-coming stars among Gen X and Gen Y who are achieving extraordinary levels of success in their network marketing or direct selling companies. At the same time, many of them are headed into uncharted waters, financially and in terms of lifestyle, that could turn into a powerful storm they do not know how to navigate. Finding themselves in a situation they have never been through, their lack of experience could become a stumbling block to securing their future—unless they seek out a mentor.

A mentor can help you in a unique way by bringing three gifts to the relationship:

1. Experience. A mentor brings experience to the table and can help you learn from mistakes. Most successful people have made a lot of mistakes themselves. The mentors in my life have proven incredibly valuable by showing me where the land mines are and how to avoid them. Had I not had mentors, I would have gone over a lot of bumps in the road that would have slowed me down or made me quit network marketing altogether. How valuable would a mentor be if he or she saved you just one mistake that could have cost you years in income?

2. Wisdom. Mentors can give you acces to wisdom and insight gleaned from their years of experience. They can help you avoid paths and actions along the way that may seem worth trying, but in reality simply do not work.

3. Navigation. A mentor offers a compass to help you navigate through treacherous waters. Someone who has been in the business for five years or less cannot have access to that kind of compass on their own, because it only comes from years of accumulated sweat equity, failures and other learning experiences. This is one reason why mentors are so valuable. Their experiences and heard-won knowledge act like a GPS system that guides you through the detours and hazards you would otherwise be almost sure to hit head on.

Younger people simply cannot know the correct path through many of the difficult situations that inevitably occur in this business. I believe one reason for the high attrition rate often found in our profession comes from not understanding how to navigate through situations that can destroy your belief and positive mindset. A mentor can help you navigate those challenges.

I distinguish three kinds of mentors:

1. Personal Mentors. These are mentors who know you personally and work with you one-on-one. They do not just teach you, they pour themselves into you. They commit to you for a season and transmit their emotion, experience and wisdom so that you not only learn but are lifted up by their personal attention.

2. Group Mentors. These are the mentors who work with groups, whether through phone calls, webinars or live meetings. Mentees don't receive as much personal attention, but they can learn much from these kinds of mentors, as well as from the other members of the group who share the same issues and the same hunger for success.

3. Third-Party Mentors. These are the distant mentors you learn from through books, CD's, DVD's, webinars, videos, blogs and other online tools. We sometimes underestimate the influence third-party mentors can have in transforming our lives with their experience, wisdom and navigation.

The reason you need a mentor can be summed up in one word: acceleration. A good mentor can put you years ahead of the typical network marketing learning curve. Mentors can accelerate the success of your entire organization, as you will naturally transmit their teachings to your team as well. And this will all accelerate the development of your confidence, as everything you are learning changes how you see yourself and the possibilities in this profession.

I have had some amazing mentors in my life. When I started in this profession, Tom "Big Al" Schreiter was a great third-party mentor through his books and audios. He has since become a great friend, as well.

In the nineties, John Milton Fogg was a great friend and mentor through Upline magazine and his book, The Greatest Networker in the World.

Michael Clouse was an amazing mentor when I started speaking and training in network marketing. His wisdom and help was invaluable.

My dear friend Zig Ziglar, the late Jim Rohn and his partner Kyle Wilson have all helped shape my speaking career through one-on-one coaching. I cherish the private meetings I was privileged to have with those legends, and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to them.

Talking on a regular basis with someone who has the experience you lack and is willing to share that experience with you is a gift that keeps on giving. Are you ready to be mentored and to learn from that powerful relationship? Find yourself a personal mentor, a group mentor and some third-party mentors, and watch it dramatically accelerate your success.

DOUG FIREBAUGH is a veteran networker and coach
to networking professionals. With over twenty years
of experience in direct sales and network marketing,
he has been blessed with winning numerous awards
and helping break records in performance by training
networkers on how to maximize their human success capital
that lies within. Doug also is Executive Producer
Networking Times TV.