Did you have a mentor growing up?

A lot of us had parents, even if it was only one—but could you consider your parent a mentor?

As a man, even at my age, I understand the importance of mentorship. Men especially need strong male role models.

When I was a kid, my dad was a horrible mentor.  I actually used to call him my anti-role model.  I used to tell everybody, “When I grow up, I want to be the exact opposite of my father.”

As men, we need strong mentors from the beginning.  Moms should never mentor us, but our dads should fill that role.

But the problem is, most men that I know have come from homes where their dad wasn’t a great mentor—and these men actually had their fathers around! Nowadays, most marriages end in divorce, and for some socioeconomic groups, the father is never there to begin with.

When a man is not mentored at a young age, he’s constantly searching for guidance throughout his adulthood, and this neediness, this desire to be led doesn’t translate well when dealing with women.

And that’s why men that do not have strong male role models in their life growing up often have trouble with women later in life.

A mentor actually gives you the confidence that you need. A mentor can teach you things about women based on their own successes and failures. A mentor can accelerate the learning curve, and keep you from making some silly mistakes early on.

My dad was not that guy. He was no mentor.

His dating advice went something like this:

“Hey Dad, I like this girl, man, she’s really pretty.”

“Son, don’t look at your feet.”

That’s it.  That was my dad’s advice. It’s a wonder my mother was even with him in the first place. (I guess he was able to look her in the eye when all the other men were busy looking at their feet.)

Through sheer will and determination, I was able to undo a lot of my early programming and finally have success with women. I had to overcome shyness and fear, but the David Wygant underneath all of that finally came through. I learned to express myself.

Now I’ve been coaching for over 14 years and people look at me as a mentor. It’s quite surreal to see young men listen eagerly for my advice, and run off into the world using what I’ve taught them.

I feel like Archie Manning, watching his sons win Superbowl after Superbowl, even though his father never had time to play catch with him.

I just appreciate the large circles in life—you never see where the line is going until it circles back. And then you realize how complete everything is, or how complete it’s becoming.

I never had a mentor in my life, but perhaps it was just to show me the importance of having one, and to make sure that I respect the responsibility of being one now.