James' Share

Your life is as good as your mentor’s life

We often say that knowledge is from school. We rely on schools to build careers and even life. Most of the time, we mix up school and education. Education is something that you could learn anywhere, not just in school. You could get educated by yourself, with friends, with books, with coaches and what I like most, with mentors. Henry Ford, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell, etc. didn’t finish college but they learned much more valuable lessons outside of school. I don’t want to minimize the value of school. However, if you want to get financial freedom or success in anything that you might dream of, school is not the best place. After all, how many teachers in school are successful enough to show you the way to success?


Personally, I like learning from mentors. Mentors are like superheroes of our childhood. When I was a child, I loved Superman, Batman and Spiderman. I still love them today. They are a catapult to inspire you to do extraordinary things. With mentors, it is very similar. Mentors are the one that you admire and you would like to become like. Mentors are successful people who are proof that we could do exceptional things.

If you want to become a tennis player, why you don’t learn from the best tennis player in town? All successful people have mentors and that includes Jeffrey Gitomer, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, etc.

Mentors are generous people and they are easier to approach than you think. They love to give back to others and they would like you to become successful, too. All you need to do is knock at their doors. Now, not all mentors will accept you but they might accept someone else. It is like finding a job. You have to knock on many doors and allow yourself to make mistakes in order to get the next job.

I once approached Rémi Marcoux, the founder of Transcontinental (now TC Media). His secretary asked me to write a letter why he should accept me, and I did exactly that. What a mistake! Everything on earth is about relationships, not about how good your letter is, especially when I am not a good writer and I am a total stranger to him. Moreover, at that moment, I had just read “Conversation with God”. My heart was filled with love for humanity and my letter sounded like God’s words. When I shared the bad news of his refusal, my wife told me that I didn’t say what he wanted to hear. She was right. In order to know someone, you have to understand that person; you got to have a relationship, have something in common, a good referral, 5 minutes on the phone or even better, a meeting in person. I had none of that and I tried to win someone’s heart.


It was a costly lesson but I learned the hard way. It didn’t stop me from looking for a mentor. I was so lucky to get connected with Danny Macdonald, the co-founder of Groupe Age3. After a good conversation in person, he accepted me as his disciple. Danny is dynamic, open-minded and generous. He is very busy with his company and he could have said no but he didn’t. Neither did he ask if I was smart, if I had any health issues or if I was a successful entrepreneur. If he did ask, I would certainly have failed because I am not brilliant, I have sleep apnea since a young age and I am still a learning entrepreneur. All I have is a heart that bursts with desires of success and to be helpful to others.

Personally, I like learning from real experience. It is not theoretically “that is what you could get” but “here are the concrete results”. I learned so much from Danny. One of the things that Danny teaches is about humility and he is humble himself. With over 1400 employees, he is a down-to-earth person. He opens up his heart and shows the opportunities in real life. Time spent with Danny goes very fast as I have so much to absorb. He makes complex things simple and pushes me to go further. His lessons are very valuable.

Your mentors help you to become who you want to be or rather, you become them, in your own way. You might have more than one mentor. If you had many teachers in school then why don’t you have several mentors? A mentor could be someone who is older or younger than you. As long as you want to learn, age is not a barrier.


Put your fear and ego aside. Just step forward and someone will lend you their hand. Don’t forget, mentors are those who are altruistic, generous and are willing to give back to others.

Like we say, a hummingbird looks for the sun and it always finds the sun. A vulture looks for the dead and it always finds the dead. If you look for a mentor, you will find a mentor. If you stay in your comfort zone and keep doing the same things, you will continue to do the same things and get the same results.

Once you get the chance to be mentored, you too, have to give back to others. You have to become a mentor and transfer that knowledge and experience to someone else. There are people who might need you just as you need your mentors. After all, the best way to learn is to teach. New skills will become your second nature when you repeat them.


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