Finding Mentors & Mastery
Updated: Nov 29, 2020
The wise stand on the shoulders of giants.
This metaphor essentially means that our time is better spent if we utilize the understandings gained by those that have come before us rather than trying to reinvent the wheel ourselves.
Finding the right mentors is pivotal for each of us to best walk our own unique paths that ultimately help us feel fulfilled at the end of the day and our lives. I say mentors (plural) on purpose here as I think our technology allows us to be extremely fortunate in ways not possible before. We don't have to be in close physical proximity to interact with our mentors in a real way.
We can have multiple mentors at the same time or at different points on our journeys as needed. Ideally, we take the wisdom from each and blend them together with our own gifts, flavors and perspective, then help to further evolve and bring forward our teachers' expertise in a new light.
It's important to keep in mind that we can choose to continue to learn throughout our lives. This continued learning implies that we can seek out mentorship at any point regardless of our age. According to martial arts master Bruce Lee, we need to put in a minimum of 10,000 hours or to do something 10,000 times in order to master a skill. If we are on the path of mastering something it's better to spend many of those hours under the wing of someone who can help us course correct and give critical feedback. Practicing on our own also has its own merit, but practicing under masters is strategic and brings real results. Historically our parents and family members filled the role of first mentor. After spending years with our parents or other such initial mentors, we tend to find new mentors in our 20's, early 30's and beyond. Some seek them out and stress about it, but for most people our mentors will show up when the time is right. These mentors are simply people who are on the same path, just a bit further down the road.
Keep your eyes open. Finding the right mentors can really help to accelerate you on your path.
Some ways to "call in" the right mentor:
Follow your passion then refine what you're into.
Do you want to be an amazing (insert vocation here)? Take lots of classes with different teachers, read books, listen to podcasts. See what and who resonates with you the most. You will see over time what you like and what you don't. You will typically find yourself gravitating to one or a few certain teachers after a bit of exploring.
Take risks, invest your time or resources.
Is one of your favorite teachers offering a more advanced training or something to deepen your skills or relationship? Go for it. Some longterm mentor relationships start off in this way. When you invest either your time in a disciplined way or your resources (often financial) you are taking a stand and declaring in some small or large way to yourself that this thing you are trying to master is really important to you. Until some skin is in the game, you're probably not that committed.
An important distinction: There are plenty of people offering all sorts of things and they will happily take your money. Think critically about who you might pay to help you grow. If something feels off then go with your gut and stay away - however don't let a sense of financial scarcity get in the way of your going for real opportunities that connect you to your passion.
Ask your teachers about their lineage.
A true master comes from a legit lineage and did not get there alone. Learn their story and look into their influences. You might find some gems.
A quick shout out and love to some of my significant mentors:
Mama and Papa G
Aunts, Uncles, Neighbors
20's / Early 30's: