Finding a mentor; the 3 people who had the biggest impact on me

My first mentor: “take the path less travelled”

When I migrated to Australia in 1991, I first reached out to other immigrants I knew who had arrived in Australia earlier than me. Two former university friends were here, one working in a Chinese restaurant and another in a supermarket in Chatswood, Sydney. Their advice was to get a similar job and start earning some income, since I had limited savings.

This didn’t strike me as the path I wanted to follow, to I went to find a former acquaintance I had made when I was first working in Australia as a young diplomat. I asked this acquaintance how to get a foothold into Australian society as soon as possible.

He didn’t give me specific advice like – go back to study, get into IT etc. Instead, he gave me three pieces of advice:

  1. Don’t follow the crowd – walk your own path
  2. When you’re faced with a decision that you’re unsure of what to do or choose, listen to people with experience or results in that particular area. Don’t simply listen to those around you.
  3. Find a way to earn an annual salary of $100,000 as soon as possible; this was an income ‘bottleneck’ that was hard to achieve back in 1991.

With this advice in hand, I took a very different approach to establishing myself, my career or finding a job. What I discovered was the only way I could earn a higher level of income (without the traditional approach of further study for many years) would be in sales. So I took a job in insurance sales; a job which ultimately delivered the income goal, but also gave me great experience that set me up for the rest of my career.

My second mentors: “change the way you think”

During my time in insurance, I had two colleagues/friends who opened my mind to new ideas through some great book recommendations and helping me learn beneficial thinking such as starting with the end in mind, being result oriented and learning to write down goals etc.

Both of these books –“The Richest Man in Babylon” and “Think and Grow Rich” are still classics today and I continue to recommend them to friends, family and colleagues.

The book “Think and Grow Rich” was a Christmas present from one of these colleagues in 1991. He said it was a “million-dollar” book, which I thought was very exciting and read it quickly over the Christmas holidays. From this book, I learned about the importance of the “subconscious mind.” Many people fail to succeed because they don’t really believe in themselves within their subconscious mind. It’s a powerful concept that has been a great influence on me.

My third mentor: “harness the power of property investing”

My third mentor I first met working in insurance, he was a colleague of mine and also very ambitious. We didn’t meet again for seven years, until by chance I learned he had joined the property industry and I went along to a seminar he was running. I’ve talked a lot about this experience – the seminar that changed my life! Firstly, I was shocked to learn that we had both started out the same – however in the space of seven years, my former colleague had far surpassed myself in the wealth he had been able to build; which he had achieved through investing. With his help, I started investing in property too, and bought seven properties in one year, and ultimately, also decided to join the industry myself.

Funnily enough, my accountant at the time didn’t approve of my decision to purchase seven properties through the guidance of my new mentor. His thought was that house prices in 1998 were too high, and it was too late to be buying. While he might be great with finance and tax, I decided at the time that he wasn’t an expert in real estate, and my new mentor was; given his proven results. So I didn’t listen to my accountant – if I had, my life might have been completely different!

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