Mentors

Daniel and Mr. Miyagi, Luke had Yoda, Harry Potter and Dumbledore, Batman had Liam Nesson… actually so did Obi-wan and Face from A-team. Which means today’s lesson is how to get Liam Nesson to be your mentor – OR if you can’t find him, find someone to take his place as your mentor. 

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L​et’s start with the classic blog move, defining the term mentor. This often gets confused with the term coaching. After searching the internet, I found this definition from the website The Balance Careers –

Mentoring consists of a long-term relationship focused on supporting the growth and development of the mentee. The mentor becomes a source of wisdom, teaching, and support, but not someone who observes and advises on specific actions or behavioral changes in daily work. 

Coaching typically involves a relationship of finite duration, with a focus on strengthening or eliminating specific behaviors in the here and now. Coaches help professionals correct behaviors that detract from their performance or strengthen those that support stronger performance around a given set of activities. 

Both mentoring and coaching offer incredibly valuable developmental support. However, one offers high-level guidance for long-term development, while the other helps provide a more immediate improvement in targeted areas.”

For the full article, click on this link

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A​ mentor is a long term relationship that can help us in multiple aspects of our career. This person will not hold our hand through every step of the process – I feel like this is where most people (including myself) misunderstands the role. Your mentor will not help you edit your song. Your mentor isn’t going to sit and watch you play your scales. The mentor helps you to see the bigger picture. This is a seemingly simple task, sometimes I have even questioned the importance of the role. Well, I’ve found my answer in my everyday life. I’m naturally lazy, I’m human, so that makes sense. My mentor helps to keep me honest, my mentor helps to hold me on task and cut out the useless jobs in my day. My mentor helps me to make connections. I’ll put it in bullet point for those that skim through the article (I’m one of those, I feel you!)

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A good mentor will

  • Keep you on task
  • Will tell you the truth.
  • Helps you to determine what you need to improve
  • H​elps to keep you from doing something stupid
  • Narrows the uncertainty in your path
  • Keeps you motivated
  • Assists you with making connections

I​ would venture to say having a mentor is one of the most important things you can have in your life! I love when I say something super obvious. I know you do too, you’re reading this right now! 

Where do you find a mentor? This also seems pretty basic, but I will say it – Go out and do the thing you love doing. If you’re wanting to be a film director, then go out and film things. Go to festivals, actively seek out someone who has done what you are wanting to do. 

I​’ll make a list of things a mentor is not for those glossing over.

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A​ mentor does not

  • Have to live by the same rules as a friend 
  • Have to love what you create
  • Have to give you a to-do list. 
  • Contribute to your art
  • Have to be in constant communication – they don’t have to be involved in every decision you make.
  • Have to agree with every decision you make

Y​our mentor will not come to save you. Your mentor is not meant to do things for you, your mentor is your guide to getting to where you want to go. I know this is all necessary and straightforward, but I know far too many musicians who are wandering around in the dark, and the simple solution is finding a mentor. I will go on record here saying – if you don’t have a mentor, you will not succeed in progressing to the point you want to get to. 

Find someone who will help guide you to where you want to go, find someone who believes in you and will help you move past your faults. Find someone who will help you not waste your time, someone who will help you become who you’re meant to be.

A special thanks to Jim Tegman for that Yoda photo. So hard to find those!

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