From Mentoring to Networking for Success

Apr 1, 2024 | Toolbox

Learn to shift your business success out of neutral into hyperdrive.

By Mike French

At an industry convention recently, I was sitting across from a recycler who has been in business for many years. I asked him how business is, and he said, “Very slow. I’m stuck and I can’t seem to climb out of the rut I’m in.” I then asked him if he would be willing to have some free help from someone who’s unstuck, very successful, and willing to help him advance. He said, “Yes, of course I would!” So, I introduced him to a couple of successful recyclers involved in the ARA Peer-to-Peer Mentor Program. This is the fastest way I know to advance a business. Period.

The concept is simple but sound: find someone who’s further along than you in business, where you’d like to be, and allow them to help you get to their level. They will then come alongside you, examine what you’re doing in your business, point out things that need correcting, and then give you practical action steps to follow. And as you make the changes and grow, they will continue to follow up and help you every step of the way. This process works for every business, no matter how big or small. This is another reason to be an ARA member; it’s a life-changing free benefit among so many others. If you want to take advantage of this wonderful program, just contact ARA to get started.

Networking is a give-and-take opportunity; you help others, and they help you. therefore, make networking a big part of your business success plan.

Why Some People Always Succeed and Others Always Fail

Countless success books, how-to seminars, and motivational speakers across the planet tell you what to do to move your business to the highest level. Most of them share the same information and principles in one form or another, often quoting each other. And, truthfully, what they say for the most part is generally true and works if applied.

But, and this is a big “but,” all of them will work or not based solely on this one critical component, which most don’t know about, but I will get to in a moment. I started this article off with the fastest method I know to fast-track your business. And I’m going to end this article with another one with great potential to also blast you forward. But first, like the middle of a sandwich, I want to insert a vital piece of the success puzzle for all the ideas, principles, and methods, to make them succeed: if you don’t correct this one thing, you will fail one hundred percent of the time, no matter what you do.

Let me explain with an illustration that I call, “The mind can stop an elephant.” It’s about how an elephant is trained to think when it is very small. The trainer will place a heavy chain around its leg, attached to a stake driven into the ground. The baby elephant will furiously fight that chain until it finally becomes exhausted and gives up. After that, it never tries to escape again because it’s totally convinced in its head that it cannot. Forever after, no matter how large the elephant grows, the trainer can restrain him easily with a chain of any size, even with a string! Even though it continues to grow large and powerful and could easily break free, it’s controlled by the powerful,unbreakable chain of its own mind. It’s the same for human beings and explains why different business people achieve different levels of success despite being exposed to the same information, tools, and opportunities. Some will grow and succeed despite any obstacles (they think they will succeed), while others seem to continually snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory (they think they won’t succeed). It works the same way as a governor does on an engine that controls its level of speed. Everybody has a governor within their mind that sets their success level. This explains why all those success-books, lectures, and motivational speakers produce mixed results. There is a Bible verse that puts it this way: “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” This is confirmed by multiple studies that prove that it’s impossible to behave differently than your dominant thoughts.

So, what can you do?

Well, there is some good news! It is possible to reprogram your mind and reset your mental limits. And once you do, nothing can stop you. There’s a great book by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics, and the cost is only about $8.00 from Amazon. It talks about this process and supplies some mental exercises to help you reprogram your thinking. Psycho-Cybernetics is a term coined by Maltz, which means “steering your mind to a productive, useful goal so you can reach the greatest port in the world, peace of mind.” He was the first researcher and author to explain how self-image (a term he popularized) has complete control over an individual’s ability to achieve (or fail to achieve) any goal. And he developed techniques for improving and managing self-image – visualization, mental rehearsal, and relaxation – which have informed and inspired countless motivational gurus, sports psychologists, and self-help practitioners for more than fifty years. A quote from Tony Robins (from Unlimited Power) is: “When the mind has a defined target, it can focus, direct, refocus, and redirect until it reaches its intended goal.”

Utilize Networking Dynamite

Now, to another fantastic, proven success method to apply. It works so well that I call it networking dynamite. Let me explain. To begin with, I have always enjoyed attending industry events and conventions. The speakers and vendors are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Even though I’m usually manning a booth myself, I try to attend some of the seminars and sessions, especially the keynotes and roundtables. Even though they are wonderful, I have often gotten my very best help and ideas in the hallways between things or during social functions. I’ve even gotten help from other vendors.

For instance, for many years, I printed a lot of expensive brochures and handouts to promote my marketing business. Then one day, a vendor in a booth next to mine happened to see all my direct mail samples, which Ihad spread all over my table for recyclers to see. And she said, “Mike, these flyers, postcards, and direct mail pieces you’ve produced for many different auto recyclers are fantastic. They are exactly what people need to see to understand what you produce and will do for them. I have an idea for you: why don’t you print a little colorful sticker to place on each of them that says something like, ‘Your stuff can look this good, too! Call Mike French today to get started!’ Then add your 800 number to them.” This one idea instantly turned all my samples into fantastic self-promotional pieces. From then on, I printed extras of everything my company produced for customers, attached the stickers, and gave them away at every event. This one brilliant idea has saved me tons of time and money over the years. I no longer needed expensive brochures or flyers.

I’ve heard many similar stories from recyclers who got their best business-transforming ideas from fellow recyclers during networking times or between regular sessions. Because this is so productive, most event planners include times for networking. Therefore, don’t miss them.

Always carry business cards with you. Don’t spend your time only with the people you came with or that you normally hang around with. Get to know new people, especially others who are successful. Make it a practice to introduce yourself to others and hand out your business cards liberally (they’re cheap to produce). Then learn to start conversations with good questions, such as, “How’s your business going? Is it up or down?” “What is working well for you?” “What do you do presently in your business that you wish you had known when you first started?” or something very personal like, “In my company, we’re dealing with ______. Have you figured out a way to solve this issue?”

Networking is a give-and-take opportunity; you help others, and they help you. Therefore, make networking a big part of your business success plan. And I bet you will soon discover why I call it networking dynamite – it really is powerful for problem solving, for discovering and developing important business-changing ideas, connections, and friendships. And it may even blast you forward, even beyond what you could ever dream, hope, or imagine.

Mike French is retired after 39 years of business in the automotive recycling industry. He is an author, publisher, consultant, and speaker. Mike is the founder and executive director of the Christian Auto Recyclers and Vendors Association (CARVA) and will be at upcoming recycler trade shows and events. Mike is available to speak at your group, conference, or event. He loves to share inspirational stories that demonstrate how the Word of God actively changes lives. He can be reached at Visit and/or

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