Think about why professional athletes need coaching? To stay on top of their game, they MUST be accountable to someone who knows their strengths and weaknesses. A mentor or coach builds a relationship of TRUST while expecting a positive mental attitude, a physical exercise routine, and a team spirit. Improved performance comes from a person dedicated to a team, and to what the coach demands. Inside an effective mentor/coach relationship, both parties are acutely aware of strengths and weaknesses. Corrections are sandwiched with encouragements in order to increase ones potential spiritually, physically or financially. WHO you are in Christ, is what makes you set apart, for His purposes. WHAT lies ahead will always be a mystery, Trust God, do NOT be afraid. WHEN temptation haunts you, speak aloud God’s word to destroy and banish the voice that is NOT from God. WHERE there are choices to make, make the one that honors God. You will never regret that decision. WHY things happen will never be certain. Hold on to your FAITH in God, and in His plan for you. Before you enter into such a dynamic, growing relationship with almighty God, and/or a special agreement with your chosen accountability partner… it is wise to ask yourself these important questions and write out the answers: Where have I been? Where am I going physically, spiritually and emotionally? IF I do not change my habits, my ways…where will I be in 3 years? In five years? For things to change I must change…my thoughts, my ways, my habits. Denial runs deep, but a good mentor, accountability partner will know IF you are being honest. IF you are not speaking the truth, the coach you choose will be the SALT and LIGHT – and they have the right to call you on your stuff. Taking a moral inventory requires us to be authentically honest with our self and then to our accountability partner. We MUST place our HOPE in GOD and NOT in our mate, our sponsor, our accountability partner. REMEMBER this TRUTH: People will fail you. Your expectations will not always be met. Your heart will be broken by people, NOT GOD. Only GOD is consistently GOOD and only His plan never fails. We MUST choose to TRUST GOD, no matter how often our plans fail. We MUST commit to NOT quit, no matter how many times our circumstances shift away from what we WANT. What we NEED is different than what we WANT. KNOW THYSELF and this….All people will face trials and a CRISIS of BELIEF along our journey. We will be required to make adjustments in our thinking to follow God’s plan to prosper us. People MUST give themselves a check up from the neck up. “EXAMINE MY MIND and HEART O’ GOD and reveal to me anything in my thinking, in my ways that does NOT honor You.” AMEN! The relationship with any accountability partner is based on TRUST. Both must agree that whatever is shared, stays private. All information shared is honored as sacred. Our coach has the right to call us on our hesitations, and our excuses. Introspection keeps our motives pure and keeps us in the growing mode. After all, doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results defines INSANITY. Patience and commitment are critical in order to grow. Remember if you are not growing, your are decaying. Leaders read and they journal where they are physically, spiritually and mentally. Open, honest communication with self and your mentor is essential. It requires sharing feelings, thoughts, new ideas and changes. Select someone you admire and respect and schedule a time to ASK THEM to be your mentor. A “getting to know you” meeting will take at least two hours. One sitting for rapport and trust building is NOT sufficient, but it is a great start. Being straightforward and transparent will be in your best interest. Eventually you and your mentor can write a simple agreed contract which includes regular monthly/or weekly meetings. Prior to this mentor meeting make a list of where you feel you need encouragement and help. This will become a working document for you and your mentor, which can be revised and changed over time. It will give your mentor a guideline and a view of you, providing accountability and a record of your progress. Family members and friends may NOT be considered the best mentors as many have a pre-conceived idea of what you are capable of. Some of our biggest cheerleaders and critics have been family members. If you are looking to develop a model in which to measure growth, make lifestyle changes, or even be transformed by the renewing of your mind and spirit, it is suggested to find someone who is older than yourself and someone who has already achieved what your are hoping to obtain. Someone with the same energy level, someone who shares similar interests, someone who you will look forward to spending time with. Accountability partners can be sought for accelerated learning, increasing faith, improving a skill, or developing a hobby such as, photography, gardening, fishing, golfing, arts, or exercise. Your carefully chosen accountability partner will be there to listen, pray for you, and offer suggestions for a change. You will be the one who will need to keep the communication line open and make changes as they fit in your life. Your mentor will be the one who will question your motives and challenge your complaints. Good questions to be asked are: “How are you going to handle that?” or “What would you do?” “When do you plan to execute your firm decision?” Coaches draw on their past experiences and share their expertise, however, the ultimate decision you make is all up to you. You will always be responsible for your choices, good or bad. Meet together once a month, or twice a week. Decide and agree on the first Wednesday of the month or agree according to what feels comfortable for all concerned. Make it enjoyable and celebrate your growth together.