Importance of Mentorship and Role Models in Bodybuilding and Fitness: Part 2

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Why You Shouldn’t Actively Search for Mentors

A major mistake many individuals make when they first think about bodybuilding/fitness mentorship, is that they try to force the issue and actively seek out someone to guide them. Studies have actually shown that when people are assigned mentors, like in a formal mentorship program, they don’t develop the same commitment and connection with those mentors as they do in more organic partnerships that come about of their own volition.[1] 

This helps drive home the point that you should not search or go out of your way to find a mentor. It is rather more prudent to simply chase your ambitions and let whoever crosses your path possibly become your mentor. Again though, do not force the issue, it will be much more worthwhile if you wait until you find someone who you just naturally click with. Thankfully, odds are you’ll come across many possible mentors by just simply going to the gym regularly and bonding with other people there.

If you notice that you and another gym member with a physique that you admire really seem to have a deeper connection, then don’t be afraid to take time out of your day to talk with them personally and enlighten them on your fanaticism. You’ll be surprised how rewarding the right kind of mentorship can be, especially if you commit yourself to the relationship and keep in touch daily. Don’t overlook the value that guidance from the right people can provide.

You’ll Know When the Right Person Comes

Most people will still likely go out of their way to find a mentor after reading this chapter, but that’s understandable. Just beware of forging a connection with someone that really won’t last, as that may actually be detrimental in the long run. You will undoubtedly come across certain individuals who may seem like they have your best interest in mind, but at the end of the day they really are just looking out for themselves. Sadly, bodybuilding and fitness can be a highly selfish journey.

When the right mentor for you comes along, you’ll know because you can genuinely see it in their eyes that they care about your passions and goals. In fact, when you tell your mentor about the things you want to accomplish, they will likely share those same avid emotions. This is because your mentor is someone who has experienced their own journey to success and knows how great it feels.

Naturally, they want to help you achieve success because they know you will one day pay it forward to someone else in need of guidance. That’s pretty much the circle of mentorship; help others so that one day they can help others.

They Offer a Different Approach to Things

One thing almost everyone will encounter on their path to success is figuring out the best way to approach things. There certainly is no specific one way to do everything, especially in the fitness realm; this is why role models can be a great source of change when it is needed. Don’t get too caught up in a specific training routine or diet that you have planned, especially if you know there are other ways to go.

Be smart about how you approach your goals, and note how those you look up to went about their plan. Don’t be afraid to try new things and learn from what you discover on the way.

Furthermore, if you have absolutely no idea how to approach a goal, or how to accomplish it, then having idols (as discussed in Part 1) is a great place to start. Do research and learn more about their life history and how they reached the point of success you want to attain. For example, if you find former Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler inspiring, then take the time to watch documentaries about him or do research on the internet looking up his biography and methods.

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A quick search for “Jay Cutler bodybuilder” on Google brings up a bounty of details about his life and his motivations growing up. Many people don’t know that he was raised on a farm and had already grown to over 220lbs of rock-solid muscle by the age of 18. That’s just one example of how a role model can show you that there is no one way to the top. Hard work is definitely great, but being smart (and sometimes, unorthodox) about your approach is also necessary.

Take-Home Points

Now you have a more in-depth understanding of how role models and mentors can positively influence your life. One thing to remember is that you will likely find superstars who have both positive and negative qualities, but you can still learn from everything they do, good or bad. Humans are not perfect, so never treat role models or mentors like perfect entities, because they’re not. That sort of thinking will only tear you down because you will feel inferior to others.

That being said, do use role models and mentors as a liaison to greatness. If you wish to be something more in this life, something better than average, then you need some kind of guidance. Mentors and role models are there to help you when the going gets tough and when obstacles arise. Use them as your supporting cast to help you get back on your feet.

Last but not least, always have a vision in mind and remind yourself of it every day. Your exemplars should inspire you to reach that vision, and your mentors should help guide you on your journey.

References:

 

  • Heimann, Beverly, and Khushwant KS Pittenger. "The impact of formal mentorship on socialization and commitment of newcomers." Journal of Managerial Issues (1996): 108-117.

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