Mentors & Mastery
You Never Get Anywhere Alone
Several months ago I had a very serendipitous encounter.
I was on a platform called Upwork, which is a marketplace for freelancers. I posted a job description giving a detailed description of what I needed completed.
An individual [we will call Christa] reached out regarding the job post. She said she was intrigued by what I was trying to accomplish and that we should chat. She said she didn’t care about the project contract - just that we should chat. I looked over her profile, did some digital snooping and decided it was a good idea. She appeared to have great credentials/professional history.
That conversation has now turned into a weekly chat for the last 3-4 months. I have found a mentor and a friend in her. She has impacted me immeasurably. She has helped synthesize my wild business ideas into pragmatic steps. She has helped me get through some significant cognitive distortion and self-doubt. She challenges me to think differently about problems.
All this from a chance encounter on a digital marketplace.
Mentors and friends can arrive into your life in many ways. I could have easily blown off the message and believed it wasn’t worth my time. This individual is now a significant part of my life.
If you are offered the chance at forming a deeper relationship with a stranger, acquaintance or colleague - don’t squander that opportunity. You don’t know where it might take you.
The Importance of Mentorship
The mentor-protégé relationship is the most efficient and productive form of learning. The right mentors know where to focus your attention and how to challenge you. Their knowledge and experience become yours. They provide immediate and realistic feedback on your work, so you can improve more rapidly. Through an intense person-to-person interaction, you absorb a way of thinking that contains great power and can be adapted to your individual spirit. Choose the mentor who best fits your needs and connects to your Life’s Task.
Robert Greene, Mastery
Much of my writing takes on a very individualistic perspective. It’s high time I stoked the flame of collective action a bit more.
While I have lost people in my life that I sorely wish were still here, I have reflected recently on how blessed I am. I have a network of individuals that I can call any time of the day who will answer that call. Likewise, when they call me, I will be there for them.
Only a couple fall into the ‘mentorship’ category.
Mentors are the essential force pushing an apprentice towards mastery. Mentors open the gates and do everything they can to see their apprentice walk the Path.
The modern day mentor-protege relationship has both historical and evolutionary roots. That’s why when the right two individuals begin their work, it just feels natural. It feels right.
The Counterbalance to Solitude
There is no real doubt that it is good for one to have appointed a guardian over oneself, and to have someone whom you may look up to, someone whom you may regard as a witness of your thoughts.
It’s amazing how grossly unproductive I am when I withdraw completely into solitude. I think I’m being productive. I think the output of my work is of a high standard. It’s not.
If I spend more than a few days without engaging with others, the quality of my work begins to deteriorate.
There are specific times I need to be alone for a 1-3 hour deep work session. I can do this daily. Outside of that, it’s critical I be able to present my work back to someone. That’s why the Manager-Employee relationship is so important. Unfortunately, it’s the same reason why so many people are disengaged and hate their jobs. In this case - the manager isn’t a mentor, they are a tyrant.
If you find yourself on day 3 or 4 of solo work without any input from someone, try sharing a bit. Try chatting with someone about your ideas, struggles or aspirations related to the work you are doing. Even if they aren’t intimately connected to the work, they could provide you some great feedback.
This of course is made so much better when your work is influenced by the guidance of a mentor. I urge you, if you don’t have someone in your life that fits the role of a mentor, put yourself out there to find one. Especially if you are doing a creative or entrepreneurial pursuit. They are critical on the Path.
It might be difficult for some to embrace a mentor, or even the idea of one. Why? They have not practiced enough humility to believe they need one. If this is you, step out of that arrogant shell and recognize there are people out there with wisdom to share with you. If you are so fortunate to meet one of these people & to form a bond with them, they can only enhance you.
Who is your mentor? Do you think you need one?
Odds are you will be better if you find one. Life is best when shared.
Happy New Year, my friends. See you next week.