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In business, as in life, we all need people that inspire us.

It may not be something that we publicly acknowledge, or it may be something inside us that quietly seeks approval, or monitors the thoughts of others.

These are people that are our mentors, either conscious, or subconscious.

 Shane Drew has been involved in the sign industry since 1992.
Before that he had a very successful career in sales, winning several Sales Awards before deciding on a career change in his early 30's.
Shane has been writing freelance articles since 2002 and is a sign industry mentor for sign shops both in Australia and Europe, is a regular contributor to Europe's biggest sign industry forum, and is well known in local circles for his passion about the Australian Sign Industry.
Shane is Managing Director of Drews Sign It Pty Ltd, a family business who are supporters of several major charities and not-for-profit organisations.
A recent highlight is his appointment as a Green Guardian for his support of Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, on Queensland's Southern Gold Coast.

I know talking to some of my peers, many follow Dale Carnegie in his views, I know others that follow Lee Iacocca. There are many other motivators of course.

Dale Carnegie is one of the best motivators the world has seen. Although he died in 1955, people still use his motivational messages to this day. They consider his books as mentoring bibles.

Well known for his views, people still quote them today. Views like;

 Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.

 Each nation feels superior to other nations. That breeds patriotism - and wars.

 Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.

 If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.

 It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.

 One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.

 There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.

 When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade.


Iacocca on the other hand is a hard nosed businessman, famous for turning around company fortunes. He is however, a good motivator and a great mentor to those that work for him..

With views like;

 I forgot to shake hands and be friendly. It was an important lesson about leadership.

 I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way.

 I've always found that the speed of the boss is the speed of the team.

 Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can't be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people.

 We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.

Whether we realise it or not, we all have people in our lives that we either inspired by, or find motivation in.

I have been reading comments today from young people who have been motivated by Jessica Watson and her epic solo sail around the world at the tender age of 16. That can’t be a bad thing. She is a good role model to children to inspire them to do something better than being good at Xbox or PS3 games.

The need for mentors or motivators is the reason that Life or Business Coach franchises are gaining in popularity. The huge growth in these industries is positive proof that a lot of people out there need the reassurance of someone with experience. Unfortunately some of these franchised life coach groups miss the mark when it comes to anything other than theory.

Small businesses especially need guidance from a peer because small business can be unique in some respects.

This month I lost one of my own mentors.

John Childs was a man with a strong business discipline, who had built up a great team of ethical workers within his small organisation in the UK, and he had a reputation for his honesty and integrity that is a largely reserved to a bygone era.

Although I have a few mentors that I respect immensely, John was almost a mentor’s mentor. As I get older, I find myself in a mentoring role too, but I’d often email John to see if I was on the right track or get some advice. He was always free with his time.

John was always telling me that I was too soft. As much as I hate to admit it, he was right. Fortunately I told him so before he died. Not that it will make any difference to him now, but I’m pleased I acknowledged his wisdom when I did.

He also had wisdom in abundance. You didn’t have to agree with him, but it paid to give serious thought to his comment before you dismissed it as wrong.

I’ll miss John immensely, along with others in America and Europe that would often seek his advice.

He had a great view on life. He worked to live, not lived to work.

John also had a love of big comfortable motorbikes, and toured whenever he could.

On my trip to the UK last year, John and his wife Jenny made me and my associate comfortable in their home, entertained us, and gave me advice that money can’t buy. I’ll treasure those times for a very long time.

I’ll miss him as a friend, as a peer and as a mentor. But I’ll miss him mostly for his great attitude to life.

The industry needs more members like John Childs, but sadly they are a dying breed.

Shane Drew 

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