I’ve been blessed to have a great friend — but an even better mentor — by the name of Bill Cook. He’s the man who taught me most of what I know when it comes to property management, creative deal structuring and running a real estate investing business. And to this day, he challenges me to be better.
You may be asking how Ashley and I earned the privilege of having Bill and his wonderful wife, Kim, be our mentors. Well, it wasn’t by accident.
Ashley and I, like most aspiring investors, didn’t know what to do in order to become successful. We did know that if we sought out successful people and mimicked them, our success was sure to follow. So, we went to work looking for the best investors we could find in our area. And it became very apparent that Bill and Kim where those investors.
One night up at their ranch, Bill and Kim were holding an investor meeting. They talked about how they were going to have to do a sit-out the following day, and they were not looking forward to it. I immediately approached them and asked if I could come and help.
Bill’s response was, “No. We already have a guy, and I can’t afford to pay you on this.”
I told him I didn’t want to be paid; I just wanted to be around them so I could learn.
“You’re telling me you’ll come work for free?” he asked.
I emphatically answered, “Yes! I just want to learn from you guys.”
Bill tried to deter me with how hot and sweaty the work would be, but what he didn’t know at the time was that I was accustomed to exactly that kind of work.
So, when I showed up and cheerfully outworked his paid employees, I really made an impression on him, and he agreed to be my mentor.
That was almost a decade ago, and he’s still pushing me to do better.
Take the other day for instance:
Bill dropped by for a visit at a property I was working on in Cartersville, which he knew wasn’t one of ours. As he came in, I was putting in a storm door on the back porch. Bill leaned against the door frame, crossed his arms and said, “Wow Joe, I remember when you used to be a real estate investor.”
I laughed off this friendly dig at my obligatory entry into manual labor, and we visited for a while. He left, and as I turned to go back to putting up the storm door, the magnitude of what Bill had said hit me right between the eyes.
He was exactly right. I was doling out valuable time being someone else’s contractor instead of pursuing the goals Ashley and I had just spent weeks writing out. And he was kind enough to call me out.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron is sharpened by iron, and a man sharpens the face of his friend.”
That’s what good mentors do: they sharpen your face. Sometimes it doesn’t feel good when they step on your toes, but remember, they’re doing it for your own good.
As you think about that, consider Proverbs 12:1:
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”
It’s easy to buck when your mentor calls you out on something. But if you do that, according Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, you’re being stupid.
Don’t be stupid.
And if you think you have a mentor, but they haven’t stepped on your toes lately, that person is more of a friend than a mentor, and you should consider a change. If you want to excel, you need someone who loves you enough and is strong enough to sharpen your face. And I’m very thankful I have that in Bill Cook.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.