I can’t imagine where I’d be or what I would be like if it weren’t for the mentors I’ve been lucky enough to have along the way.  Mentorship in any discipline can be a huge advantages for the advancement of one’s skillset.

Whether you’re rock climbing, blogging, teaching, building, quilting, cooking, or nearly any other activity, having a mentor around to show you how to avoid f-ing up, and even more importantly, showing you how to respond when you do f up is an invaluable asset.

Being a mentee isn’t always easy, and not everyone has the ability.  One attribute all mentees should strive to achieve is humility.  It’s very hard to learn when one believes they have all the answers.  I cannot imagine a worse thing for a mentor to hear than “oh I know” over and over again.  In addition to staying humble, a mentee should strive to work with someone they respect.  If there is respect in any relationship, it leads to acceptance, and hopefully an understanding that despite criticism, the intent is to serve one’s best interest.  Having thick skin also doesn’t hurt.  A good mentor will be coming with experience that goes beyond a mentee’s understanding. Someone who balks at every course correction just winds up making the path longer and harder than it needs to be.

Humility, respect, think skin.  

Maybe there should be a mentee mentor, maybe there is?

In climbing, a mentor can teach you how to climb, and more vitally how to avoid dying. But a good mentor can offer so much more than that.  There is a rich history that comes with climbing, one that has always tried to embrace the idea of working in harmony with nature.  Traditionally climbers have supported one another and have been taught to encourage one another’s aspirations.  The best of them will share beta, supplies, food, gear, and most importantly, stories.  There is a strong sense community within climbing that one would be hard pressed to recognize while climbing alone in a gym.

Anyone can figure out how to climb.  With YouTube tutorials and climbing websites, most anyone can figure out how to avoid serious injury.  There are now classes and lectures that would-be climbers can enroll in daily.  These of course are great tools, but with the advancement and ease with which climbers can now learn how to climb, the necessity of the mentor/mentee relationship is diminishing.  

Like all disciplines that once relied on a Mentor/Mentee relationship there is a loss that is impossible to quantify once that relationship is deemed unnecessary.  

Can we function without mentors?  Of course.  Can we flourish without mentors?  I’m not so sure.  “Back in my day” stories aren’t just stories.  They’re pieces of personal history that connect us to the past.  They connect us to each other.  

I would not be the teacher I am today, nor the climber I am today, nor the person I am today if it weren’t for the mentors I’ve been lucky enough to have along the way.  

If you’re new to rock climbing, blogging, teaching, building, quilting, cooking, or nearly any other activity, I urge you to find someone in that discipline who has been doing it longer than you, ask them about their mistakes, their experiences, and the way things were back in their day.  They may be full of hot air, (I guess saying ‘full of hot air’ is a polite way of saying ‘full of shit’) some people are, but they may be filled with lessons that are pertinent to your goals. Lessons that can give you a leg up. Lessons that can change your life for the better.

It won’t always work out, but when it comes to Learning (with a capital L) the payoff will always be worth the risk!


49 Replies to “Mentors”

  1. Humility…. Oh yes indeed! And often comes friendship with our kindred likewise spirits. I just got a new one and need to share some of this. Mentors are the bomb! Nice writing! ☯️🙌

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I was thinking about the mentors in my life. In every case I gravitated toward them because of what they were doing or had done, or WHO they are/were as a human being. Many of my mentors were dead long before I was born but I can look at their work and their thinking and glean a lot from it. Humility is a very useful trait even just for living with ourselves. Very lovely post.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. You’ve been here guiding us on this blog for a long time, your writing on your own blog and the ideas you’ve shared (and embarrassing typos you’ve pointed out to us) have really gone a long way in getting us to where we are and what we are doing today.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. When my kids were younger, I told them stories about stupid things people did. (I worked in a burn unit and saw kids who played with matches, and in a trauma unit where I saw kids who drove and crashed cars while drunk.) I told them “I’m sure you’ve heard people tell you to learn from your mistakes. I’m here to tell you that anyone can learn from their own mistakes. A sign of intelligence is if you can learn from the mistakes of others so you don’t have to repeat them.” I’d say that’s partly what a mentor is for – to say, “I made this mistake. Now I do it this way because of that. Try this instead.” As you well know, some mistakes are just too costly to learn the hard way.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. This is exactly the type of thing I was thinking of when I was putting this together. Kind of standing on the shoulders of giants type vibe. I think your kids must be so lucky to have had you teach them that lesson! It really doesn’t get stated often enough.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I was extremely thankful to have a quilting and life mentor for many years! I learnt young that women ahead on this life journey have a lot of wisdom and information to share. I now try to be one when I can!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I wouldn’t be the artist I am today if it hadn’t been for the friends and mentors who encouraged me along the way. I did the work to get to where I am. I’m self taught, however… when I couldn’t figure something out, having someone around to guide me helped me overcome obstacles that would have taken me far longer to climb! We should all be so lucky 🍀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    I reflected and am grateful to all the mentors who made differences in my life. Those thoughts brought back memories.
    Once again, thank you for your post.
    Namaste 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My most memorable mentor was a woman I trained with when I was a teenager. She schooled me in dressage and life. Love her to this day and still use her ideals

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Heck yeah this is a great piece. And for those in the position to mentor, they should also know that guiding someone helps you learn that much quicker, so it’s a win-win situation, really. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good read, anything on on the positivity of mentorship can produce “thought” which is needed in these trying times. I have had the privilege of having some excellent mentors in my lifetime and, I’m told, been a good mentor to others. I’m not a climber (life in a wheelchair sets certain limits) but I am always impressed with the process. A good mentor will also recognize the knowledge of the mentee, this is very important in “cross generational pollination”. I have decades of experience but much of that experience is based on many societal responses of the day. A positive mentorship relationship should be based on “two way” learning. I’m sure a 1960’s rock climber would find many differences in 2020 rock climbing due to advances in technology, materials, etc. A good mentor may understand the “process” of their subject matter but should also be open to adjust their content based on the more current knowledge of the mentee. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terry this is great. I like that idea of the two-way relationship between mentor and mentee. There really should be wisdom flowing in both directions. These are very helpful thoughts, thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great Post. I agree. In looking and remembering those mentors who have helped me along the way, I realize they have been remarkably instrumental in my life. Again–great post and one needing to be said. Take care. Bob J.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope that one day, I’ll be in a place to share some of the things I’ve learned with others. Mentors are like trailblazers who show us the what lies ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s