Staying coachable is something you hear a lot in the self help books, talks, conferences and sales meetings. It’s a quality that managers are looking for and it is a good thing to be. It goes way beyond just a specific task or job.
I have often longed for, but never found a mentor. It a seems like that would be a great thing to have. Someone to guide you, help you through without re-inventing the wheel all the time and someone who you could really turn to when things got confusing and hard and say, “Is it me?” and get a straight, hard answer. This is my fantasy of what a mentor relationship would looking like, mostly pieced together from the movies. Big A suggested that some people just are not cut out for mentoring and there for don’t every really find one. Don’t get me wrong, I have great friends who I lean on and get advice from, and they are incredibly helpful on a host of levels. I would be sunk without them, truly. They are involved in my life in a very mixed way. My fantasy mentor is much more objective and in some ways more blunt than a friend could ever be.
There are places you can go to hire mentors and coaches. I am sure that some of them are very good. I wonder though does this become the focus, getting coached, instead of just learning the lessons presented to you.
Life is a great teacher. In the absents of a single mentor I have always tried to stay reflective and analytical about my experiences and then adjust my actions and sometimes even my course. Most things I do, I keep and eye out for what works and what does not. I get feedback from the other people involved. Looking at the big picture and ask, “Is this worth it, am I getting to where I want to be?” Reviewing the smaller momentary interactions, to the actual tasks that needed to get done and done well. I think I “post mortem” just about everything in my life, to a fault sometimes. Every opportunity and action is a learning opportunity, not just intellectually but personally too. This is not to say there are not themes that circle around and come back more often than I would like but, even those are the opportunity of, “Ugh.. got to learn that one better, obviously.”
My discovery has been that if you feel your life is moving in an upward spiral or like a stream, that there is advancement and evolution of any kind, then you are winning. This is not measured against anyone else’s evolution or path, but what you know about yourself without the noise. Heraclitus affirmed that you can never step into the same river twice. It is still a river. It still flows. You are still experiencing it at the same location and vista, but the river has evolved. Be the river.
The great barrier to life is fear. Fear stops everything. All thought, all creativity, all evolution, all feeling and nothing can grow. It is arid and barren.
Another quote I like a lot is, “Fear is excitement without breath.” I like this as an idea. This is true when you are talking about walking into a new situation or a job interview, but I am talking about the fear that keeps you from making the changes, seeing the lessons that you need to grow and do to find happiness. I often visualize that I am in a boxing ring with Fear. He has red satin shorts and a Mexican devil mask. Yes, he hits hard and sometimes, even though it’s my visualization.. he knocks me out and sometimes that is just what I need to get me mad enough to snap out of it. Anger is the other side of fear. If you can get there, that is easier to use as motivation. (Some people say sadness is the other side of fear.. I say take your pansy ass back to hippyland and get outa my face.) The idea is to get on with it anyway way you can. Staying in that pool will not lead to anything good.
A dear friend of mine is stuck and in a cycle of fear, shame and doubt. I wish for them something to knock them out of it and start something new or a new way. Something…
Be the river..
ποταμοῖσι τοῖσιν αὐτοῖσιν ἐμβαίνουσιν, ἕτερα καὶ ἕτερα ὕδατα ἐπιρρεῖ.
Potamoisi toisin autoisin embainousin, hetera kai hetera hudata epirrei
“Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers.”
Bye for now. Thank you