Mentor or Hero - Either Way, Take Action
You know we love Seth Godin over here at Live in the Grey. Today, we wanted to share Seth’s thoughts on the value of mentors and heroes and how it relates to one of our favorite parts of the Live in the Grey philosophy, “Actions trump intentions.” Check it out:
Mentors provide bespoke guidance. They take a personal interest in you. It’s customized, rare and expensive.
Mentorship works for two reasons. Certainly, the person being mentored gains from advice and counsel and even access to others via introductions, etc.
But mostly, it works because the person with a mentor has a responsibility to stand up and actually get moving. The only way to repay your mentor is by showing the guts it takes to grow and to matter.
Interesting to note, then, that the primary driver of mentor benefit has nothing to do with the mentor herself, nothing beyond the feeling of obligation the student feels to the teacher. Whether or not the mentor does anything, this obligation delivers benefits.
We can simulate this by living up to our heroes and those living by example, even if we never meet them, even if they’ve passed away, leaving us nothing but a legacy to honor and live up to.
Like a custom made suit, a mentor is a fine thing to have if you can find or afford it. But for the rest of us, heroes will have to do.
Heroes live their lives in public, broadcasting their model to anyone who cares to look.
The internet has created a long tail of heroes. There are tens of thousands of musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, social leaders, politicians (okay, maybe not thousands of these), coders and colleagues to find and emulate. WWHD. What would my hero do?
I find heroes everywhere I look. I find people who speak to me over my shoulder, virtual muses, who encourage me to solve a problem or deal with a situation the way they would. This is thrilling news, because there are so many heroes, so freely available, whenever we need them.
For all the people out there using the fact that Jeff Bezos (or Jacqueline Novogratz or Husain Abdullah or Chris Anderson or Anne Jackson) won’t be their mentor as an excuse for inaction, there are a dozen who realize that their example is enough.
It’s been our pleasure to introduce you to many of our heroes through our Live in the Grey community features. Seth’s point is awesome as it reminds us that finding and learning from the lives of these great influences only benefits if we take action!