Gurus, Experts, and Mentors. Oh, My!

I have spent a long, varied, and quite interesting (at least to me) life exploring the wonders that this Universe offers, sharing with others and, to the best of my ability, attempting to help others along their own journeys just as so many have attempted to help me. I still have a little time left, I expect, and I hope to use it to continue the journey of learning, sharing, and helping. Along the way I have discovered some amazing things, some wonderful people, and my share of gurus, experts, and mentors.
Now, although I playfully embrace the term Wizard (or the Wiz) in my branding, I certainly have never thought of myself as a guru. Some people do refer to me as an expert in a few of the fields in which I dabble. A good friend conveniently reminds me that an “ex” is a has-been and a “spurt” is a drip under pressure which effectively knocks me off any high horse I might aspire to mount. I do refer to myself as a mentor as it is a basic enough term meaning, generally, someone who imparts wisdom to, and shares knowledge with, a less experienced colleague. Note that there is nothing in that definition that says, or suggests, smarter, more intelligent, or better than; just that the mentor shares a greater experience and the wisdom and knowledge that comes with it.
There are, I think, some people who do have Universal gifts which they can share, even at a young age. I know a few of these people. They are rare, valuable, and, should you find one, be sure to make them a fast friend; one who will be there with you forever. I see a lot of wannabies (want to be’s), both those who think they have gifts to share and those who think they have expertise to share when, in fact, they have neither. I listened to a professional marketer the other day talk about perceived expertise and, basically, how you could fake it ’til you make it which, of course, is a path to disaster — both for the doer and for their clients or charges.
I also believe strongly in the power of the sub-conscious mind and, whether you call it prayer, group-think, or mass hysteria, the ability, indeed the strength, of a small number of people to come together and influence Universal events. You don’t need to believe in this, yourself, for it to work. After all, you don’t need to believe in gravity either, but don’t go stepping off any high buildings or you will see it work!
“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” -Napoleon Hill
That quote comes from many years ago. Some reading this today will, I am confident, think it old hat or not cool. I am, some would say, widely read. Certainly in the area of self help, motivation, and business success, I have read both greats of the past, and the contemporary, names like Dan Kennedy, Brendon Burchard, Brian Tracy, Eben Pagan, Alan Weiss, Jack Canfield, Frank Kern, Rich Devos, Charles Paul Conn, Mark Victor Hansen, Seth Godin, Tony Robins, and several more who don’t come to mind at the moment. I guess that old phrase, “He’s forgotten more than most will ever know!” might apply.
The thing is, it’s not how many of these people I have read, it is what I have found in reading them. It may surprise some to learn they all say exactly the same things, only in slightly different ways. There really are only a handful of truths that are delivered up over and over again by the people presenting themselves, or being accepted by us, as experts and gurus.
Brendon Burchard is a good example. Probably the number one expert in the field of positive motivation as it relates to business building, especially in the professional experts arena, provides some excellent material in his books and videos. His presentation skills are also powerful and allow him to deliver his message in a way that holds attention. Brendon delivers. That’s always a good thing.
Although times have changed, and we are now in a digital age, other than current technology references, nothing in Brendon’s presentations today is any different than the training presentations I received in the 70’s and 80’s from the likes of Rich DeVos, Jim Janz, Bill Laing, Mark Victor Hansen, and others. In fact, when I first saw Brendon’s excellent Total Product Blueprint, I said, “I know this stuff!”
If we go back to the originators of the concepts of mastermind, positive motivation, and self help, we find a handful of individuals many now think of as greats of the past or, certainly, foundational. For those of you looking for serious motivation and real understanding, first go back and read, or listen to, some of these greats. Indeed, two of them, Napoleon Hill (quoted above) and his own mentor, Dale Carnegie, are excellent places to begin. Below is a video featuring the author of Think and Grow Rich, a link to that book, and another to The Dale Carnegie Leadership Mastery Course. You can thank me later.




3 Responses to Gurus, Experts, and Mentors. Oh, My!

  1. Mark A Michael January 15, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    Yes, most of the material out there in the personal and spiritual development has been around for quite a while. sometimes it takes hearing in a different manner for it to click with different people. At one time recently I was hearing almost the exact message from 3 different sources, including Think & Grow Rich.

  2. Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. January 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    You have specified experts/gurus only in the path of self-development. And, in that path, you are correct, the vernacular is remarkably similar. Because the rules to guide us to be better have really not changed since the first person walked upon this earth.
    The difference, in my humble opinion, is (a) are we finally ready to absorb the message and (b) to which tone do we respond best.
    (In the sci/tech arena, and even in the financial sectors, there are more possibilities to find one’s solitary path than in self-development, more because the path continually grows and diverges as we accumulate knowledge. I’m not so sure that the path is as wide-open in management- but because we have failed so spectacularly and only began converting the process to a “science” in recent decades, there is some room for differences still.)

  3. Viviann January 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    When I used to teach ESL in the classroom overseas I often found that I could be teaching the same material to many different classes. No two classes learn the same away. I would inevitably have to alter my strategies so that I could hopefully reach my students. I did not always succeed. Different strokes for different folks.

    Thank you for your observations Steve. I enjoy your input here as well as when we meet and you clarify my questions for me so patiently and succinctly. 🙂

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