Discover more from The Mmm...Letter
I’ve Known My Mentor For 30-Years
Yesterday, I Finally Met Him
Have you ever advised anyone? I’m hearing a, ‘yes.’ And in the course of your advising, have you ever surprised yourself with the words coming out of your mouth?
Your own suggestions gave you pause. And you thought, “woah, that is good advice. I should write that down.” Meanwhile, your mentee absorbed your words and ran with them.
That advice changed the trajectory of their life, but had a pittance of impact on your own. The notes were pitch-perfect. So how come you didn’t take them?
In this post, I will teach you how to advise yourself. I’ve applied this technique once, and the words that flowed astounded me.
And to put my neck out, I’ll share an entire script, embarrassments et. al, so you can see how and why this method can work for you. If you believe in it.
You Can’t Be Trusted
The mind which produces inspired advice is a stunning bird of prey. Gliding high above the treetops, it sees clearly for miles.
As soon as the session ends, our piercing hawk-eyes spot our reflection in the river below. And in it, not a gracious hawk, but a flightless Dodo bird. Invariably, we crash to Earth.
When we analyze another’s situation and their desires, we see them plainly and without judgment. By applying empathy and kindness, we provide advice and accountability more challenging to contest than the advice we provide ourselves.
Inside our minds, we may second-guess, third-guess, and N-guess until our guesser runs out of gas. But who are you to challenge the opinions of a trusted advisor and authority?
But not everyone has access to someone whom they can rely on for wisdom, encouragement, and accountability. What do you do when all you have is you?
This is fancy language for ‘talking to yourself in the third-person.’
Scientists who experimented on themselves no doubt, discovered that speaking to yourself in the third-person creates a mental distance between you and your ‘self.’
This distance enables you to control your actions, regulate emotions, and discover newfound wisdom.
Okay but Stanley, that’s weird. Yes. And, Stanley, the weirder the better. True.
But experts suggest you do this in your mind, and not out loud like a psych ward patient. And this, to maintain a non-serial-killer relationship with your friends, family, and colleagues.
But, a mentor does more than converse. A mentor listens, appraises your situation, and probes your uncooked assumptions with a meat thermometer.
And a mentee needs consistent access to that mentorship and the fruits of its wisdom. Thus, it needs a matter of record.
Introducing: The Interv-You
Pardon that pun, reader. You can’t unread it, but in a few short paragraphs, it will be a distant phlegmory (phlegm + memory). I don’t miss.
Pull out a notebook and find a clean page. Imagine sitting cross-legged on a comfy, yet firm red leather chair planted in a study. The fireplace crackles.
Seated opposite you is also you. But that you, and let’s assume your name is Megan, has a bevy of degrees mounted on their wall endorsed to one Super-Megan.
Super-Megan looks as comfortable in her $5,000 suit as you do in a pair of college PJs. And behind Super-Megan is a wall of leather-bound books three-miles high. This is your advisor.
Your advisor asks, without malice, “what’s on your mind, Megan?”
Write that down.
Take a breath and summon every honest bone in your body. Re-read the question in your mind, and hear a voice brimming with gentle compassion.
Move to the next line on the sheet and write the first thing that comes to mind.
Relinquish all judgment. If you begin to edit your answer, switch to a pen.
And remember, your mentor is you. Your mentor fails if you fail. Your mentor cares for your well-being. Super-Megan is here to listen and she may not judge you.
Keep Going. The Miracle of Distancing
As the conversation begins to flow, so will your inner-wisdom.
I wrote 6 pages of questions and answers as my mentor grilled me, gently, over the course of 30-minutes.
The conversation came to a natural close when I, the mentee, came upon a sad, but powerful revelation.
My mentor knew he had left me with much to process, and further inquiry would be detrimental.
I fell so deeply into this delusion that I thanked my mentor. And normally, that’s some therapy-demanding naval gazing. But I began to perceive my mentor as a disconnected ‘other.’
His voice differed from mine, more fatherly, more confident. He stated things simply in ways I struggle to. His wisdom exceeded my own. He impressed me.
And what happened next, was revelatory.
Read It Again. And Again
The session cashed out my emotions. All I could do was sit there on my couch stewing in hypocrisy.
A short-time later, I re-read the transcript. Even after my senses recovered, the interview and discoveries within remained potent.
The conclusion I drew from this exercise led to a difficult but necessary discussion with my fiancée. Not only did I apologize to her, but I admitted I was wrong in a big way.
About what? You’ll have to read the whole thing to see. Click here to grab a PDF scan of my first Intervyou.
When To Use This
A great mentor is greater than Super-Megan because they will have domain knowledge of which you are ignorant.
But absent a consistent presence of a mentor who guides you toward your vision, your inner-you can provide value-based insights to steer you along your true path.
If those results sound compelling to you, give this technique a shot.
I would love to hear how it leaves you feeling and what secrets you’ve learned of yourself and of those around you.