Mentoring with CEO and Entrepreneur Stephen Gillen – Episode 64

So today I’m joined by Stephen Gillen, and he is the CEO and executive producer of Shooting Stars Events.

Recently, he was nominated by the UKs peace ambassador for the 2020 ‘Sunhak’ International Peace Prize.

Nathaniel Schooler 0:39
Stephen Gillen is a globally successful entrepreneur, Stephen Gillen is an award-winning international public speaker and film-maker. He is a successful author, director, and producer. His documentaries have been viewed in over 140 countries worldwide. There has been wide global media coverage on his work and life journey. On the 29th May 2019, Stephen had the great privilege of being nominated by the UK Peace Ambassador for the ‘Sunhak’ International peace prize and works closely on many innovative, global & humanitarian initiatives. One of these is on the board of UniPharma, a global pharmaceutical company which is the exclusive producer/distributor of a new revolutionary medical device, whom Stephen is also Ambassador, that is set to alleviate the suffering of and save hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide in the open wound industry.

So we’re going to talk about mentoring to start with welcome, Stephen.

WARNING — AI Transcriptions Below May Cause Grammatically Correct People Serious Stress and Lack of Sleep!

Stephen Gillen 0:44
Hi. Hi. Hi, Nathaniel. Thank you for having me. Yeah. It’s a great joy. My pleasure.

Nathaniel Schooler 0:50
My pleasure. So where do you start with mentoring? I mean, this is, let’s start at the beginning, right? Because there’s a bit of confusion, isn’t there between mentoring, tutoring, coaching, and that kind of thing? So how would you distinguish between mentors, coaches, and advisors as well? Because they’re sort of interlinked?

Stephen Gillen 1:12
Yes. I mean, that is a great place to start, you know, is to get the specifics of this, and what is the difference? You know, because this translates really into everything that we do as people in the exchanges and the communication that we have, really, but the roles for this are quite defined. And they’re quite specific, you know, in the sense that a mentor really is a long term kind of expert, who would school support and pass on knowledge and expertise to the protege or mentoring in a specific subject. So that would be there. Whereas a coach is more short term and more loosely based array of different stuff, which would be brought into that arena.

Nathaniel Schooler 1:57
Okay. So a coach would be more sort of someone who would come into your life and help you get over a specific problem that you might have. Where a mentor is someone more kind of longer term on the whole? That’s right.

Stephen Gillen 2:11
Yeah, that would be the way to look at it.

Nathaniel Schooler 2:13
I’ve personally, I’ve had all sorts of different coaches over the years, and, from people who sort of specialize in neuro linguistic programming, you know, all sorts of different people to help me to kind of evolve as an individual, you know what I mean? And it’s amazing, the kind of problems that you seem to just absorb in your brain that stop you from achieving things, they just hit you, you know.

Stephen Gillen 2:43
Yeah, I mean, look, this is a fascinating subject. And, you know, I have wonderful, wonderful stories about there, in, you know, in the sense, I mean, on my entrepreneurial journey, years ago, I’ve been, I’m drawn to one story of one of my first mentors. Now, you know, he was aged 40 at the time, you know, and it sold his scaffold in company, him and his partner at the time for 13 million pounds. So they had 50. So this was someone who really done it at a really, you know, early age, and there was a really wonderful person, obviously, very shrewd, and business, you know, and when I walked through that door using years ago, he, you know, he, he, he looked at me, you know, we had a few exchanges, and he said, Stephen, okay, I only want you to change one thing. I said, Okay. What is that he said, everything really was right. Of course, I understood it in a intellectual sense, then. But really, there was many, many layers to what he was actually telling me at that point. And I really realized now, he was, of course, correct. And that was people places and things is the shortest way to translate. But really change it not, you know, will change a percent. And that’ll do and we’ll look at the rest, you know, and this comes with a matter of experience. And that’s more of an internal journey of discovery, that this is what a great mentor will do. He will show the door. And sometimes he will keep giving you the information with great support. Sometimes maybe even taking you kicking and screaming through the door.

Nathaniel Schooler 4:16
Yeah, and sometimes kicking you when you’re down to make you realize what you’ve done very much. So yeah, because it hurts, doesn’t it? The growth hurts, right? It is sometimes really excruciating, Lee painful,

Stephen Gillen 4:28
Oh, he was great. You know, you know, I’m so fond of him, you know, because he was so great. You know, there was another one of his cry one liners, and that was, you know, we’d be discussing something. And his message, you know, was was just not getting folks would say, okay, Stephen, you can be rich, or you can be right, which one? Is it? Right? You know, you getting that right here between, because, of course, I didn’t have the experience or really couldn’t see what he already knew. So he’s would just cut to and say, okay, you can be rich, you can be right, which one is it? And I mean, that is fine. If I would say, Well, you know, I want to be rich first, and I can concentrate. But it’s not like that, you know, this is just how your mind we’re translating. Because what actually happens is, the different levels of the journey forges into the people we need to be and give us the skills for the next challenges that we’re going to face. So just by taking the steps, when you actually come to a place where you would visualize that person that you would want to be in a lot of respects, you realize that you are in many ways always have been. And even more, I slightly find your way back to yourself. But it’s the journey that forges us. And it’s the challenges and the adversity that have the most impact on that.

Nathaniel Schooler 5:50
Yeah, it’s it’s I don’t know, from personal experience, I found generally pain is the biggest teacher. And it’s like, people can only tell you so many times. Yeah. But you some people just have to make those painful mistakes to make that sit in their head somewhere, you know, it’s difficult to know, um, it really is a journey

Stephen Gillen 6:13
of human human internal discovery. To know and this is quite fascinating, but very simple and very true. The answers are quite simple. What if they would soon complicated are applying them? It’s a complicated bit. Because its internal, you know, we have many different ways of programming. Some they’re unhelpful, some that are unwitting, some that are not, it’s unraveling these to find the right answers if you want, or a formula that is conducive to really meteoric forward progress in, in what you see and what you aspire to be a really good mentor in knows this stuff. Unable to take that journey quickly.

Nathaniel Schooler 6:58
Yeah. But it’s not just for entrepreneurs, right? This is for anybody, wherever they are in their career, right? Like, you could be, you could be working within the NHS, or you could be working in a business. And you still need someone who you can talk to who can advise you, you know, what you what you’re doing wrong, and

what maybe you’re doing right, because we all need a bit of praise to i a mentor, isn’t there to just kick you all the time?

Stephen Gillen 7:26
Now, definitely not. You know, and that’s a wonderful question. Because Another important part of a really successful mentors job is not having them our answers and being able to translate that knowledge in a medium that really goes into the person that he’s taking on the journey behind him or her behind them. But it’s, it’s having a real in a connection with that person on a really human human playing. Where we are human beings, right, you know, we make mistakes. So this is a really important part there, that there’s, you know, there’s a real common common respect, understanding, you know, and clarity of clarity of goals and targets there, you know, and as far as cohesive together, right, so that’s based on respect and trust as well, for a minute. So right.

Nathaniel Schooler 8:25
Yeah, it’s it’s certainly an interesting journey. There’s no doubt about it. There’s no doubt about it. But I think what you were saying a minute ago about finding someone that’s actually been where you want to go, right, yeah. I mean, they don’t necessarily have to be in the same industry as you. But they, but they got to a certain stage, whereby, you know, maybe they’ve got 50 years experience as an executive. And they have the time as well, because it takes time to I mean, I have a mentor who I work with day to day, right? And he’s, he’s got like, nearly Yeah, like 50 years experience in business or whatever. And he kicks my ass. Right. But but that’s because that’s just how I learned as an individual, some people don’t need that hard.

Stephen Gillen 9:14
Very, very much. So, you know, look, you know, this is the real wonderful jewels about this subject, is that, you know, I mean, I’ve, you know, I have global companies, that will really produce, they’re doing really well, that’s about people, by the way, as well, it’s, you know, it’s always about the right people, or law ships sailing in the right direction, with a really beating heart have good energy and good purpose. And we know where we’re going. And we really assess what we’re doing on the way that we get there. But it is about people, you know, and even within that dynamic, there’s a constant mentoring kind of model, because we’re all specialized in different areas. So you know, again, it goes back to that really human resources, trust, even love and admiration at some points for join, a join a joint effort, effort towards something really good, which is progressive.

Nathaniel Schooler 10:11
Yeah. So yeah. Well, you may not I mean, your mentor may not be in the same business as you. They may just decide that they I mean, they may decide they want to help someone like, I suppose it just depends on their motivations as well. I mean, because a lot of this knowledge, if they don’t pass it on to the next generation, it’s going to die, isn’t it? So? Yeah, those motivations, I think it’s important to understand what their motivations could be, when you start looking for one that’s going to help you to narrow down the potential person, because you might think, Well, okay, I need a mentor. Right? So, am I gonna have to pay them? Or are they just doing it? Because they want to spread the knowledge? Or are they a family member? Or a friend? Or are they in the same business? So all these questions I think you need to ask, before you start looking for one you may have one that you don’t even realize is a mentor?

Stephen Gillen 11:04
Yeah, that’s a really good question in and we should clarify that, you know, you know, if the listeners in the sense of look, you can just go and pay someone, right? That’s really clear, you know, and you, you know, on whatever agreed terms. Yeah, that may be it, that’s the exchange. But what you find what, you know, I’m in my experience in this, and I mean, I’ve met unbelievable people, I remember, it’s unbelievably rewarding, and it is about development at what stage of development you’re at. Because you’ll find this you kind of refine and experience and expertise and you stay, you know, then you’re on to do innovative stuff, and it becomes global and your network widens, and the portal opens to so much. So it’s a, it’s a constant growing, you find that on that journey, that there are points that you really want to transmit this message and pull people up.

Okay, right, I get it, which is really interesting. You know, and I’ve heard this from many people. I mean, remember, I was with Stella McCartney CFO. Yeah, you know, she’s the global CFO of you know, of that group, Stella, and she was saying just the same thing. And it’s just, it’s a funny dynamic, because you find that the real, the real, say, like someone like that, even me, for instance, I have one, I have one person that in LA, I mentor, yeah, now I’ve, you know, there’s no money exchanged there. It comes down to time, because my time management is absolutely crucial. Because there are even, you have to rest. And, you know, there’s a lot to manage.

But that time is unbelievably quality of time. And it’s a very pure message in the sense, there’s no money exchanged. But but that’s a funny one, Nathaniel, because I was always in business, one of the things I always learned was, the exchange was very important in any in any relationship to forge really healthy, long term relationship. Now, that doesn’t have to even be fair, but you know, I realized it has to be through things is that all parties need to be heard really hard, you know, they need to really be valued within that process. And they really, really need clarity of purpose, and they need to agree. Okay, so the exchange is absolutely okay, whether it’s business or personal. So this relates to a mentor. So there are two different ways that this happens. But you find that you can pay, like I said, or there are many kind of people who get to a real peak of development, their heart opens on what they want to do. They have this unbelievable, like, willingness, and it’s kind of incumbent upon them, and they get wonderful joy out of it as I do, by just helping for helping sake, but you’re going to pick the right candidate for that. Yeah. It’s not going to be anyone or everyone who turns up. No.

Nathaniel Schooler 13:56
Yeah, but you might not even know who that is like, and they’re not so but they may not even give you that information until they see you’re ready for it. Like one of my mentors. Really good friend of mine. Yeah. Yeah. And, and he’s been giving me advice for years. Yeah. And I took it and I and I learned how to use computers, right. And then I learned about software. And I learned about more stuff, right? And then, and then it’s not all what it come and hang out. And we’re going to mess around my 3d printer. And I teach you about it. And, but he generally loves that he like he absolutely adores it, because he doesn’t need the money. He’s not in it for the money. He just wants to have fun, and have a friend to hang out with, you know what I mean?

So it, then it breaks your barriers down? Like, how do you look at friendship as well? Like? Because there’s never one sided relationship? Yeah. Because even if you’re giving someone information, and if they’re receiving it, and they’re grateful, then you can see the change in that individual. And then that makes you feel happy. Right? Like, because it’s a joy to watch someone change and take their life in the right direction. Yeah, it’s a joy. Yeah.

Stephen Gillen 15:02
Yeah. I mean, look, you know, I mean, I can speak from my experience of it. And, um, you know, there’s definitely a science to where a person is at a certain level of development in their career, specifically business, I can speak for that for me. I mean, I was a very successful business and life coach on the way through of my journey, and that was about people. And that was about giving, you know, obviously, I brought that through into, you know, where I built those global companies. And, you know, we do many things, and it’s a real privilege.

But you know, I suppose the one prerequisite in that whole thing is that it’s outward facing, and it is about others. And it is about giving, but not in a silly way. I mean, that has to be to the right people in the right way at the right time, then it’s really, really effective. But it is giving and it’s looking to add benefit. So a mentor is always looking to do this. So this is kind of a really important dynamic, if one is thinking about, you know, having a really good mentor, but it is about that human contact as well. Yeah, doesn’t necessarily mean that the you know, the mentor, he has to be whoever it has to be, as you said it just in a funny kind of way, kind of fits in the right way at the right time. Does that make sense? Yeah.

Nathaniel Schooler 16:22
Yeah, it does. I think I think that that person has to be ready to be to be to be mentored as well.

Stephen Gillen 16:29
Yes they have to be open to the message

Nathaniel Schooler 16:32
like ego is the biggest problem with self development. In essence, we’re talking about self development, aren’t we really, mentoring is a bit more, it’s a bit more of a business standpoint. But it all starts with self development, doesn’t it? Like wherever you are in your career?

Stephen Gillen 16:49
I mean that’s a really good question. And I was considering that, because there is a real magic in this part of it. You know, and I was thinking about, you know, the listeners of what would be the best way to approach the subject there was looking for someone, for instance, yeah, yeah. And they really needed a bit of help, and they wanted someone who was really good, or they could rely on new and a really clear purpose, you know, a lot of work behind them of expertise, that, you know, and they could be, they could be confident and give themselves to that, let’s say, you know, well, it would be look, you know, you know, one of the things that it can’t be bluffed, in a sense, or people have certain development or expertise have is they can see what’s real and what’s not real, let’s say.

So it really is about being your authentic self. At that point, definitely not trying to be something that you’re not, because your mental would see right through, that would be the first thing. And that, you know, that is not the basis of, you know, being really, really authentic, and sometimes show the beauty of it is sometimes people that is all that they’re really bringing, because they may think they’re really, really got a good business idea, or it’s really together.

But really, when you talk to someone of real experience, who is levels and levels ahead, they know a lot more, because we don’t know what we don’t know. So they’re not seeing what you’re seeing, you have to remember that they’re seeing as if they’re standing on a mountain, and you’re really somewhere else, and you have all the struggles of getting over the rocks, let’s say. So you don’t see what it is further up that mountain, you know what the other side of the mountain looks like they do. Right? So this is important thing. So really is about being authentic, because when you have a real, you know, the basis, I always find of the relationships that really worked for me is really being real, transparent, you know, and yourself warts and all that, you know, because you can work with that as a person and burn it. People of expertise have very clear ideas about behavior. They know what to do and what not to do.

Nathaniel Schooler 18:51
Yeah. But also, it’s actually, you if you’re looking for mentee, yeah. You you would actually think that yourself, when actually you get to know a lot of people, right, like we both know a lot of people yes, but you will see certain individuals and you’ll see talents that they have, which you think actually, with a little bit of help move, this individual could just fly. Yeah, you know, and you you watch them sometimes for years. So career, certainly till the point where they actually realize that, you know, you’re the right person for them to help them to get to the next day. Yeah, yeah. And I think I think a mentor is someone that actually will be your mentor for life. Like I don’t, I don’t I don’t see it as a because you know, like a coach or an advisor.

Stephen Gillen 19:40
Yeah, like this difference between? Yeah, there is no channel, what what you’ve said, there is a really excellent way to say it, because that is definitely the truth that there are indications of something in an area that is that is noticed, let’s say. But where that can be a real positive, people have to understand that can also be a negative, because there can be behaviors, that certainly from me, if certain things keep coming at that I know real blocks, obviously that’s concerning for me, you know, and then my head start sinking too Well, I haven’t really got the time to surmount that.

So this is what people said, because it’s about the progress. People are very progressive, and they want to know, it’s kind of like that thing in lifelock. People are really prepared to help you and you’re prepared to help yourself. Yeah, it’s a real translation of that in a business sense.

Nathaniel Schooler 20:35
You made me think about something really important. That’s what I think is really important is when you are being helped by your mentor, right? You’ve got to learn to take criticism, and you’ve got to take it on the chin, right? Because it’s like, otherwise, it’s not going to work.

Do you know what I mean?

Stephen Gillen 20:51
Look at you know, really so many big people out there, I mean, Elon Musk, just to say one, you know, as I said, you know, I’m it’s well documented, and it’s public. But you know, you know, even him he has a system where he will actively go out and seek constructive criticism. Yeah, some people will wait for it to come. Yes. Unbelievably clever. Yes. This is where the answers are. It doesn’t set a mic for people to say, Oh, I don’t really agree with that. I think he goes out on whatever needs to be done at actively seeks it. Now there’s a good indication what needs to be done, because here lies unbelievable tools. And again, they are internal. They are internal first to be translated into the hour.

Nathaniel Schooler 21:38
So when you mean internal, it’s like certain personality problems that people may have, or hang ups that they’ve got, which they need to work through. And they need to say:- “Well, okay, I’m going to take that I’ll take it on the chin. That’s correct. And I’m going to do something about it.” And then they need to change. Right?

Stephen Gillen 21:54
Yeah, I mean, look, for me, this is probably the most valuable bit of content I could give anyone in a little bit, is in the sense look, you know, we spoke about this is, you know, and I’ve talked to many other people, other CEOs and old school directors who have a wealth of experience behind them. So this is not just my opinion, it is widespread. And, you know, it has an authenticity to it, because it had been reinforced many times, is that the things that got me forward on my business journey, were not so much the clever business breakthroughs, but the internal breakthroughs as a person moved me forward quicker than anything else.

Nathaniel Schooler 22:32
Okay. So what you mean, what you mean by that is potentially your restricting how successful you are? Or how good you are at something by by telling yourself the wrong thing in your mind? Is that what you’re saying?

Stephen Gillen 22:45
Definitely, I mean, I’ll give you I’ll give you example, you know, and I’ll amplify an example. But it is, you know, we are our own worst enemy, really up to a really sad to play, I’m sure many people will agree with that. But that really trans I try, like, since the literal sense, for instance, look, you know, as a business coach, you know, I used to meet certain business owners, they may come in this, hey, you know, I haven’t, you know:- “I’m earning 600 K a year, it’s just it doesn’t, you know, I’m doing all this stuff, I’m really busy. I’m, you know, trying all these different business formulas, and, you know, CRMs and all different stuff and trying to do, but you know, what, I just can’t get to that million pound.”

“Yeah, I just can’t break this cap of what I’m doing in my business.”

You know, this was fairly fairly normal. Now, you know, there will be different factors to it, but one of them you could guarantee is, well, I would say, because it’s kind of, because that’s because it, you know, it comes in steps, okay, you know, you can’t see the next step, you know, the million pan is there, but over the browser, that hill will be the next one. And it goes up like that. But really what it was, is inside, you know, subconsciously, really, they had an inability to save.

Now, this could be programming, okay, which used to go all the way back. And it’s, you know, it could be many things, but it could be employees, Nathaniel, you can have a nice house, and it can be all right, you can have a nice this nice. And, you know, I can be all right for you your door. Right? But really, you’re not meant to be with a big boy. That’s not you. Yeah. So that would be a subconscious block. Yeah. And you know, when we would do work with that, and take that away, guess what will happen? Yeah, definitely. Say, so it’s not really what it seems.

Nathaniel Schooler 24:30
For all these people out there that don’t care about the million power. Yeah. Right. Because there are many of them, then, yeah, just today, one is a happy life. They want they want health, they want friends, they want time to themselves. They don’t have to work 14 hours a day, seven days a week, like entrepreneurs, for sure.

Until they have a you know, not a breakdown, but burn, you know, that’s, so for those guys, I think it’s about picking someone who, or more than one mentor, right? Who is happy, healthy, and perhaps in a position where you want to get to right, in your job or career. Is that fair to say?

Stephen Gillen 25:07
That is that is very fair to say. And of course, look, you know, we are individuals. And in that sense, what that means is we see on one different things, and then that sends it back that we have different needs that attain to what we see and what we wish for all the responsibilities that we may have at that given time, but they family or whatever, right?

So it’s very much about that because one person is different to the next person. But um, yeah, you know, our mentor, you know, needs to be someone who has a proven track record, and clear experience in what you would like to be in a specific area.

So you know, you know, if it was business, then, you know, certain industry that a mentor in the industry had a proven track record, who you felt really comfortable with. And there was a synergy on a human level with would be what you want, but that would translate into any area that they would want to mentor in. Right. But it has to be fun.

Nathaniel Schooler 26:09
It’s got to be fun for both. I mean, not all the time, because not everything, there are hard. There are hard science. Yeah. But in general, it’s got to be mostly an enjoyable the spirit, you’ve got like the person, oh, you’re

Stephen Gillen 26:22
gonna you’re not going to pick? No, but this is what I’m talking about the synergy with the human contact bit. Because if that’s not right, it would never work anyway. But when that is right, this is probably I would say is the most important part of it. Okay, that’s the first part that needs to be so so you’re very, okay. So compatible. Alright, so the long term.

Nathaniel Schooler 26:44
So for someone who’s looking for a mentor, right? Yeah, what advice would you would you give them to wrap up?

Stephen Gillen 26:51
What I would say first is I would say, look for people, for any of us, you know, and I still do this today, when we’re looking at something or we aspire to something that we want to improve on be very clear of what that is, be very clear, because what you want is certainty.

You know, you don’t want faith Allah to go more than that. Faith is already in us. certainty is better. If you have a real clarity of purpose and a certainty, say, like:- “I want to lose so much way, or I want to move my business and make it global, or I want to start doing merchandise, or I do this, but really, I want my branding to be more visible and I want X amount of customers, any kind of tangible!”