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Future Self Podcast | Making Your Future Self Your Biggest Fan

At the Future Self Podcast, we empower every aspect of your life. From business, to social, to personal, we provide blueprints and proven strategies to address the hangups that are keeping you from getting from where you are to where you want to be. Tune in every week for doses of valuable and actionable content from the top entrepreneurs, business executives, attorneys, and more. At the end of every episode you will have valuable action plans that you can implement in your life today to start seeing measurable results immediately. Join us every Friday for valuable nuggets of wisdom guaranteed to make your future self your biggest fan.
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Sep 30, 2016
Behind every successful businessperson or entrepreneur you're all but guaranteed to find a laundry list of high-value mentors that supported them on their journey. By now it's common knowledge that mentors are one of the fundamental building blocks of success, so why aren't we making the acquisition of mentors a priority? This week we’re going to break down my step-by-step strategies for discovering, developing, and retaining high-value mentors. (Because acquiring mentors and networking require a similar skill set, check out episode #9 Ten Things Networking Ninjas Know.)
 
Mentors are important because they offer a unique perspective gained only through experience. They've been there, they've seen it, and they know what it takes to win. Now they are tasked with passing those skills on to you. Good mentors are similar to parents, once you're under their wing it becomes their personal mission to help you succeed. And, when you succeed they feel like they have succeeded.
 
Of the young professionals I frequently talk to, one of the key obstacles I observe between them and success is the lack of a quality mentor. You can learn all of the right things, do all of the hard work, but, sometimes, if you don't know the right people, you're going to have trouble getting off the ground. The problem is, when you're just beginning to grow your network, finding high-value mentors can be challenging. That's why I broke down my proven methods for acquiring mentors. And, if you commit to following these strategies, I guarantee you will be courting your first high-value mentors in no time.
  1. Study Potential Mentors. When meeting a potential mentor, know more about them than they know about themselves. Have they written a book? Read it. Given recorded speeches? Watch them. You need to educate yourself on whatever it is your mentor has been up to. This has multiple benefits, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the person, you'll have a better idea if they are likely to be a good fit, and they will appreciate your sincere interest in them.
  2. Choose Your Mentors Wisely. Not every successful person should be your mentor. Mentors are like any personal relationship, not everyone is suited for each other. The first step in choosing a mentor is identifying people that are living the life you want to live.
  3. Articulate Why You Chose Them. Don't blindly chase "successful" mentors. Mentors should be able understand why it is you decided to seek them out. What is it about them that you find unique and enviable? What do you hope to gain from the relationship? (Hint: none of your answers should be "because you make a lot of money.")
  4. Be Visible. If you want high-value mentors it helps to be in their line of sight. However, getting in the room with high-value mentors can be trickier than it sounds. This is where your personal network comes in handy (your network truly is your net worth.) The larger your network the more likely it is someone can introduce you to a potential mentor. You can learn my secrets to networking success here. Now, if you're the kind of person that is sitting and waiting for a high-value mentor to find you, I recommend investing your savings in the lottery as well. Both are equally viable paths to success.
  5. Lead with Value. Just like networking, it's important to always be thinking "how can I provide value to my mentor?" Learning about them, what they do, and their accomplishments is one form of value. Your network is another valuable resource you can provide a mentor. The larger your circle the more likely it is you’ll be able to connect them with a valuable contact when the need arises.
  6. Do Something, Do Anything. The last thing a mentor wants to hear is that you're "thinking about" doing something, or you "have a great idea" but you're "waiting for the right time." If you want to establish credibility you need to be doing something now. Even if it's engaging in the small steps, you need to be actively working on something, making something happen. 
  7. Target Alumni. These are some of the easiest mentors to court. Alumni come with no-assembly-required personal bonds. You took classes in the same buildings, walked the same streets, cheered for the same team. Use this to your advantage. "I can't believe they closed Boli's Pizza, that was our late night spot!," or "Did you see the quarterback that just committed? Next year is our year!" Best of all, these contacts are the most likely to return your calls and find time in their schedule for you. I've gotten face time with high-value mentors with a simple phone call, "Hi, Mr. Swanson. I don't want to take up too much of your time, but I'm a fellow ECU graduate just starting out and I was hoping I could get 15 minutes to pick your brain?" A week later I'm having coffee and getting career advice from someone with 40 years of experience in my field. Alumni love helping younger graduates, it gives them an opportunity to get nostalgic over the old days while directly contributing to the success of the school's next generation.
  8. Only Ask for Time. It's your first date, so think twice before pitching them on your big idea or asking for a job. Your job in that moment is to a) listen, and b) ask thoughtful questions that show you're serious and that you've done your homework. As the relationship develops it's likely they'll know what you need, and you won't even have to ask. 
  9. Respect Their Time. If they were kind enough to put you on their schedule, make sure you don't waste their time. So, be prepared and don't overstay your welcome. When the time you've asked for has expired, politely say something like "It's been 20 minutes already, I don't want to take up your entire day." If they insist you stay longer, stay longer. However, it's vitally important not to linger. Some people may be too polite to push you out the door, so look for subtle clues: checking their watch, checking their phone, diverting their attention to something else. If you pick up on any of these it's important not to let their discomfort escalate, so try something like: "I know how busy you are, so I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me. I found your insight extremely valuable." Trust me, they will appreciate you giving them the out without forcing them to ask for it. If this first meeting goes well and you feel good chemistry, it may be appropriate at this point to ask for the mentor relationship directly. However, if you're unsure about the direct approach, at least make a plan to follow up with them.
  10. Offer to Pay. High-value mentors get solicited for advice regularly, so one great way to stand out is to offer to pay the check when getting coffee or lunch. You're likely to encounter a refusal, but the gesture will not go unnoticed. After the third such meeting, I recommend picking up the check before your mentor has an opportunity. Sure, the mentor may be far more financially secure than you, but it's the gesture that counts. It's your way of showing you're serious and that you value the relationship. Again, this won't go unnoticed. 
  11. Don't Expect an Instant Return. Like networking, acquiring mentors is a long game. This isn't about getting $1,000 tomorrow, this is about getting a rolodex of priceless friends for life. Friends don't send you ONE good referral. Friends invite you into their circles, friends offer you executive positions in their companies, friends pick you up from jail. If you make friends first, the fortune will sort itself out.
Of all the benefits mentors bring to the table, arguably the most important is helping you identify the things you don't know. By using their roadmap you'll be able to cut down on avoidable mistakes and wasted time reinventing the wheel. If anything, the benefits of a good mentor are understated, because it can be difficult to quantify just how much time and heartache was avoided with one piece of sage advice.
 
Remember, it's not going to fall in your lap. You're not going to stumble in to a networking event and walk away with a million-dollar contact overnight. You may meet a million dollar contact, but that contact is worthless if you don't put in the effort to grow that relationship. If you want good mentors you're going to have to do the work to get them. You have to bring value and consistently build and nurture the relationships.

Content Links

As promised, links to the content discussed in the episode: Khan AcademyiTunes UniversityCode Academy, and Udemy.

THIS WEEK ONLY the Udemy course catalogue is only $19. This deal expires October 5th @ 9am: Sitewide10f4-October-19dollars Promo Code: OCTUDEMY19

You can find me on TwitterInstagramFacebook, & LinkedIn

As always, the podcast is available for download from the iTunes StoreGoogle PlayStitcher Radio, and TuneInYou can also download this episode HERE. And, please, if you enjoy the show hit that subscribe button and give us a 5-star rating in the iTunes store.

Are you thinking about taking the first step? Are you hesitating? Already moving toward your goals? Wherever you are right now I want to hear about it. Send me a message HERE.

 

Sep 16, 2016
Hi, Future Self Friends! Thanks for following us to our new home here at RobertIngalls.com! We're still working hard behind the scenes to create the best website experience possible for you, so expect some significant functional and aesthetic updates in the coming weeks. However, none of that is going to stop us from pumping out fresh and valuable episodes of the Future Self Podcast every Friday. I had planned on discussing mentorship this week, but this post felt more appropriate on the official launch day of the new website. So, instead we'll be back here next Friday with the blueprint for acquiring high-value mentors. On August 29, 2016, my friend and former intern, Joshua Lee, received his letter informing him that he had passed the North Carolina Bar Examination. Celebrating with him that day led me to reflect on the day I received that same letter, exactly five years to the day earlier. I came home that evening and felt compelled to pen the following letter to myself. The goal of the Future Self Podcast is to encourage a daily lifestyle that our future selves will thank us for, so writing this letter as my future self has been on my to-do list since the day the podcast launched. However, until that day, I hadn't been able to find the proper words. For reasons that will become apparent in a moment, I thought it best to wait a few weeks before releasing the letter. Thanks for spending some time with me this week and I'll see you back here next Friday.
Hey buddy,
If my calculations are correct, you'll be getting this letter on Monday, August 29, 2011, the day you found out you passed the North Carolina Bar Exam. Congrats, my man! It's been easy to romanticize Bar study as the years have gone by, but you totally embraced the grind every single day, and you earned every bit of it. You worked harder for this than you have for anything in your life, and this experience is going to set the stage for how you mentally approach difficult situations for the rest of your life. Not to immediately derail the joy train, but it ain't all flowers and sunshine from here. She's leaving soon. She hasn't told you yet, but you have less than a month. You know it needs to happen but that's not going to make it any less painful. It's still going to feel tragic, but, as far as breakups go, it's not going to be protracted or unnecessarily complicated. I would advise you to skip the month of wallowing in self pity, but since you're going to do it anyway, at least go easy on the alcohol and fried food--every pound that goes on has to come back off. Seriously though, hang in there, my man, beautiful things are just around the corner. This is going to be your moment, your time to explore the depths of your consciousness and embrace your true self. Poignant moments are in store, moments that are going to alter the course of your life. Be mindfully present in those moments, they happen fast. You're going to start taking yourself and your personal development seriously, and people are going to notice. Some people won't like it. Stay the course, resistance is part of transformation. You're going to date a few girls, a couple nice ones even, but they won't last long. You have a renewed sense of purpose and you don't have time to dawdle on the wrong relationships anymore. "You'll know when you know." Shittiest, trite love advice ever, amiright? Well, I've got news. In 156 days, on a chilly Wednesday night in February, you're going to walk into one of your favorite bars and see a woman you've never seen before, and you're gonna know. Right now as I’m writing this she's in your living room packing. No, no, no...not that again ;) Your first place together is a cozy little rental, but after three years you're starting to outgrow it. So, next month you're closing on your new home together. Right now she's packing pictures. Pictures from your trip to Fenway Park your first summer together (Yankees won!), pictures from the weekend she took you to Charleston for your Birthday (oyster shooters!), pictures from your Brooklyn adventure eating pizza and seeing the Avett Brothers (I know!!)...pictures of the day you got married. [gallery columns="4" ids="214,207,206,228"] At the risk of spoiling too much, here's the most recent picture of you two... [caption id="attachment_190" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Congratulations! You're having a...Millennium Falcon? Congratulations! You're having a...Millennium Falcon?[/caption] Life has been good to you, my man. But, before I leave you there's something important you need to understand, if you just sit on your hands and wait none of this is going to happen. You have to do the heavy lifting or this will never be your life. This woman will never marry you. This life belongs to a better man, a better you. The kind of man worthy of such a woman. You’ve got exactly 3,744 hours. It's all going to be worth it. Do work. For some added motivation, a few high points you have to look forward to: [caption id="attachment_201" align="alignright" width="300"]Man, if 7th grade us knew what was coming... If 7th grade us only knew...[/caption]
  1. You’re married to her
  2. You play guitar now,
  3. You have a podcast,
  4. You're well on your way to speaking a second language,
  5. You've conducted jury trials (a long way for a kid that was too petrified to give a book report in 4th grade!),
  6. You have an adorable pit-mix named Liberty. She's not so bright, but she's incredibly sweet,
  7. You're gonna be a dad,
  8. You've never been happier.
Sincerely, Your Biggest Fan P.S. - The cargo shorts and ironic t-shirts have to go. Yeah, I hear you, you're totally hip and super unique and all that. They gotta go. So, try to really enjoy your post-Bar Exam vacation, because you're gonna need to get a job asap, you have an entire wardrobe to purchase.
[caption id="attachment_232" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Why yes, Babies Я Us, I think we will. Why yes, Babies Я Us, I think we will.[/caption]

Content Links

As promised, links to the content discussed in the episode: Khan AcademyiTunes UniversityCode AcademyUdemy (or use code CHANGEUP15 at checkout) You can find me on TwitterInstagramFacebook, & LinkedIn As always, the podcast is available for download from the iTunes StoreGoogle PlayStitcher Radio, andTuneInYou can also download this episode HERE. And, please, if you enjoy the show hit that subscribe button and give us a 5-star rating in the iTunes store. Are you thinking about taking the first step? Are you hesitating? Already moving toward your goals? Wherever you are right now I want to hear about it. Send me a message HERE. Udemy Affiliate Link
Sep 9, 2016

It was a short week and it’s going to be a short episode. We do have a big announcement this week though! Beginning next Friday, September 16, 2016, the Future Self Podcast will be permanently relocating to a new home. Initially my goal for this show was to create a resource for clients to find clear and concise answers to their estate planning questions. But, I also wanted to create an equally valuable resource that addressed the very real day-to-day concerns of my average client; a resource where clients could find advice on implementing positive habits and decision-making strategies, and a place for straight-forward tips they could implement in their life immediately to start seeing results.

What I didn’t anticipate was the overwhelming response I was going to get from clients and new listeners. The bulk of the questions and feedback I received focused on goal-setting and developing strategies to take control of their lives. As that happened the podcast began to shift from it's primary focus of estate planning. My primary goal for this website is to provide only the highest quality, relevant content for my estate planning clients. That's why it makes sense now to move the podcast to it's own space where it can grow and take on a life of it's own.

On next week's episode we’re going to be discussing acquiring high-value mentors, and I'll be giving you my step-by-step blueprint for getting and keeping these high-value mentors. So, whether you’re having trouble making the connections you need to take yourself to the next level or you’re just looking to tighten up your game, this is an episode you don’t want to miss. 
 
Sep 3, 2016

It's no secret that having a large social group, or network, is a valuable resource. So, why are so few people actively engaged in building their network?  In this post I'm going to answer that question and give you strategies to start expanding your own network today.

Can you answer YES to any of these questions?

  1. Do you think networking feels sleazy or artificial?
  2. Do you get nervous and overwhelmed when you don’t know anyone in the room?
  3. Do you find yourself not knowing what to say to new people at a networking event?
  4. Do you find excuses to avoid networking events?

You're not alone. Perhaps the most pervasive stigma networking faces is the perception that it's all about getting something in return. Far from it. It's about getting out and making friends. Good networkers understand that the goal of networking is to develop personal relationships with people you genuinely connect with. It's just a happy bonus that our friends are more comfortable recommending us for jobs or referring clients our way. 

As for that anxiety? Even the most adept networkers can get a touch of nerves staring at a room full of strangers. They succeed because they consciously develop strategies to overcome it. A colleague of mine was late for a networking breakfast this week. When he arrived everyone was already sitting and all eyes turned to him. A seasoned networker, instead of stammering in embarrassment, he made a quick joke that broke any tension while he grabbed his seat. I know him well, he doesn’t have some innate natural charm. He nailed it because he’s done it a thousand times before. Networking, like all skills, takes disciplined practice.

I know the idea of networking can be scary, but I also know how vitally important it is to your career. Start implementing these strategies today and soon you'll be crushing that anxiety and making valuable connections.

Link to the full post HERE

Content Links

As promised, links to the content discussed in the episode: Khan AcademyiTunes UniversityCode AcademyUdemy 

You can find me on TwitterInstagram, Facebook, & LinkedIn

As always, the podcast is available for download from the iTunes StoreGoogle PlayStitcher Radio, and TuneIn. And, please, if you enjoy the show hit that subscribe button and give us a 5-star rating in the iTunes store.

Are you thinking about taking the first step? Are you hesitating? Already moving toward your goals? Wherever you are right now I want to hear about it. Send me a message HERE.

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