Do you or have you ever had have a mentor? Like the Force, mentors can be good, beneficial, helpful, instructive. Or, mentors can be a force on the dark side.
Aside from parental and familial influence, if I had to use my hand to count all the mentors I’ve had in life, I would end up with a few fingers left over. Good mentors are few and far between.
Perhaps it’s a matter of trust. Who do you trust to teach you what you won’t learn in a class room or on the job? Perhaps it’s that mentors are a dying breed, long ago placed on the endangered species list, but filed under an obscure name.
Where are the mentors?
Perhaps a valued mentor is a myth. After all, in Greek mythology, Mentor was the son of Alcumus, a friend of Odysseus. When Odysseus left for the Trojan War, Mentor was place in charge of the palace, and his son, Telemachus.
A few thousand years later and Mentor shows up as the lead character in French writer Francois Fenelon’s “Les Adventures de Telemaque.”
The modern use of mentor is a trusted friend, counselor, or teacher, usually someone more experienced. It’s been recorded that Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great.
If there is something I miss when looking back on decades of life and business and family, it is the lack of a mentor, a trusted counselor. Therein lies the problem. Trust.
I grew up in an era of “trust no one over 30” which was soon extended and abbreviated to simply trust no one. In varying degrees, trusting no one is a common art. For example, we are required to trust that the driver of an automobile coming in the opposite direction will stay in his own lane. Yet, we have air bags and seat belts. You know, just in case.
Trusting people today is difficult. Mores change quickly from generation to generation. What was once utterly wrong is now acceptable. Suspicion reigns in many personal relationships, and certainly so in business.
In an era when nearly everyone is out to get what they can, who is left to give what they have?