When You Start To Compete With Your Mentors

Monday, August 15, 2016

Michael Phelps and Joseph Schooling 2008 (left) and 2016 (right)  |  Photo via Darren Rovell
By now, you've probably all seen the story of Joseph Schooling, a swimmer from Singapore who, as a kid, idolized Michael Phelps. Phelps served as an inspiration and unofficial mentor for him — pushing him to be better. Then last week, Schooling swam against him in the 100m butterfly race, taking home the Gold, with Phelps receiving the Silver.

I am a huge advocate of having mentors — I don't know where I would be in my own life if not for the men and women who have inspired me, held me accountable, and shared their hard-earned wisdom with me, both officially and unofficially.

That said, as you grow in wisdom, as your talents and skills improve, as you continue to educate yourself and produce the best work you can, you will come to a point where you will go up against your mentors for jobs, awards, or other opportunities.

There is absolutely nothing wrong or unfair about this.

Successfully competing with people you hold in high esteem has as much do with your mindset as it does with talent. Once you get to the level where you are competing against people who were mentors, you will have to give yourself permission to do so. If you don't, you will self-sabotage and you won't succeed.

Notice that I said give yourself permission, not get permission from your mentors. You don't need permission from them — your goals belong to you.

Great mentors will always cheer for your success. If they don't, it's time to reevaluate their right to speak into your life.

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