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In the Hero’s Journey, one of the most significant stages is the Meeting of a Mentor, that sage advisor who acknowledges, supports, and spurs the hero onward. Luke Skywalker had Obi Wan and Yoda. Bilbo and Frodo Baggins had Gandalf. King Arthur had Merlin. The Karate Kid had Mr. Miyagi.
But a mentor can be more that a wise old man with a flowing white beard. Though the textbook adventure might paint him as such, the mentor can often be found in those we least expect. I’ve talked to many parents whose children have offered them unparalleled wisdom. Sometimes, even the challenge from a would be enemy can spur us on and help us to realize our full potential.
Additionally, few of us are given a singular mentor for we are often on multiple journeys without even realizing it. For each role we fill, we are faced with new challenges and have the capacity to act with heroic abandon. In our roles as parents, employees, employers, artists, athletes, statesmen, we are given abounding opportunities to both accept the help of mentors that we meet and to serve as mentors to others who are on their own hero’s journey.
There is an old axiom that states, “Every man is my teacher and every man is my student.” As we go forth on our journeys of excellence, let us be thankful for those who share their wisdom with us, and let us also be open to encourage others on their paths. A big part of being a hero is being a mentor.
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