How to Mentor Yourself

Because finding a reliable and genuinely helpful mentor is, for all practical purposes, as valuable and as difficult to find as the Holy Grail. Especially in showbiz.



by Nick Douglas

If you’re ever stuck for ideas or advice, and you feel like you can’t find a mentor, here’s how to become your own mentor: Look at everyone else who’s doing a similar thing. Some successful ones, and some failing ones. Find everything they could be doing better. And then don’t tell them. Tell yourself.

Do it positively: Think of every cool idea you want to suggest to these people, everything you’d pitch them if they let you contribute. Blue-sky thinking, upgrades to their current routines, every way they could grow and evolve and mature and really shine.

Do it negatively: Notice every stupid mistake, every misstep, every false assumption, every time that ego or novelty or razzle-dazzle distracts them from doing their best.

Make a written list. Keep adding things until you’ve got sub-lists, corollaries, multiple examples of every flaw or every opportunity. Don’t get obsessed, but pay attention and write things down. You don’t have to memorize the list.

You can write down the successes and good ideas too, that’s great, you should always be doing that. But you need to track all these missed opportunities. You are, of course, writing this list not for them but for yourself.

Have you ever seen a project launch with a manifesto? It happens a lot in media. Some new site launches and talks a lot about what it will and won’t do. Lifehacker did it with our parenting section, Offspring. When you’re making this list, you’re building your own manifesto. Don’t publish it, but consult it. It’s a list of pieces of advice you’ve given yourself….

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