I can’t be your mentor without occasionally being your tormentor can I?

I can’t be your mentor without occasionally being your tormentor can I?

I recently discovered Ted Lasso, and started binging the show. It is an adorable show, well worth the time to watch! I heard this in one of the episodes last night. It was used as a throw away line, but the essence was so obviously important and gave me an inspiration for my thoughts for today.

In the course of mentoring another person, we are taking on the role of watching, evaluating, commenting, and collaborating with them in order that they may improve their skills and qualities.

In my life, I am perpetually both the mentor and the mentee, depending upon the topic. As much as I enjoy helping and teaching others, I am insatiably curious and that drives me into new territory all the time. For example, many people are discussing Web 3 as if it is a specific thing.  In reality, it is a lot of things that are happening concurrently as the world evolves. So the only way for me to really understand the term and associated tech and experiences is to research the hell out of it and write my own white paper so that I am forced to learn. Then, with added knowledge, I can join discussions and hope to at least keep pace with others who bandy about that term as if it were a fully defined variable. Those discussions become my chance to find mentors who will take the knowledge I gain and comment on it such that I might have an even greater understanding.

When you are working with someone who really looks up to you and hopes that you will impart some of your knowledge, you must recognize that this assigned duty that they have given you is not just a friendly attaboy role. It is a duty to which you must live up to. This comes with watching how they are learning, and to find tactful commentary on those experiences such that the mentee grows efficiently in the experience. 

There is a gentle art to discussing such topics with a person who is looking up to you. They want so badly to understand some of the things you take for granted. They may ask questions (repeatedly) that appear perfunctory to you and even if you are exhausted and short of patience, those are the moments you must find the extra internal discipline to maintain your presence and be the person they are hoping you will be for them.

Depending on the mentorship, there are tasks you will assign them that they will not like, nor appreciate. In your mind, you know that there is method to the madness. In the Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel how to move his hands using the wax on / wax off lesson. Almost all of us remember this scene. It seemed superfluous to us as an audience. Until later we understand that he has learned how to move his hands in the “cut technique” which is one of the most efficient and effective skills you can learn in Karate. 

Teaching is a joyous experience. I try to spend a portion of every day engaging with someone who wants to learn how certain things are accomplished and working with them to hone those skills wherever they may. 

If you opt to mentor another, recognize that you must be both patient as well as disciplined in your approach so that they have ample opportunity to learn without aggression, but also must live up to a standard of excellence that they must discover deep within themselves.

Wax on. Wax off.

Happy Wednesday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!