Investor Mentors- “My Belt Loopers”

How I built an authentic group of mentors that challenge my way of thinking and stopped me from making stupid mistakes.

David Paul
2 min readOct 7, 2021

My experience in investing has been a roller coaster. Primarily due to my ego. I spent a good portion of my career listening to pitches and waiting for my turn to speak. I was the capital allocator, after all. So obviously, my words mattered, right?

The reason for this need to be heard became obvious. I didn’t feel smart enough to be in the room.

Fast forward to this year. I decided to hang my own banner and start my own firm (DWP Capital- the origin story for later). The stakes were higher. I picked the companies, and I raised the capital. No senior partner to take the hit.

As I started doing all these things emerging managers do, I came to a realization. I was right before — I’m not smart enough to be doing this. I didn’t have all the answers. After all, I’ve made enough mistakes to prove that.

This truth suddenly made me more confident. I had a secret weapon, a superpower. I am incredibly good at is making brilliant people like me. I am relentless in building relationships.

These brilliant individuals in my network I call “belt loopers.” Meaning that they are people in which I could metaphorically hang onto their belt loop. I can draw them in close when I need their sage advice, or I would allow them to drag me into exciting opportunities.

I’ve always had these relationships. We would meet, and I would learn a ton with no specific agenda. It’s different now; the stakes are higher, as I said before. I needed to open the kimono and tell them my thoughts, fears, insecurities, and biases. I needed to give them context to my questions. I needed to be vulnerable. The result of me exposing myself to these people created a level of authenticity that enhanced the relationship.

I’ve got about 7–10 “belt loopers.” I call them constantly to challenge my thinking. I send them decks that I am working on or a thesis that I am compiling. When they challenge my way of thinking, I naturally get defensive and realize they are doing this because they respect me enough to tell me their truth.

I have built an A+ advisory network, and they will forever be in my investor toolkit.