Mentoring My Younger Self

Understanding how I can stealthily help people level up in a practical heroic way.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately and something dawned on my recently that was effectively in front of me for the past decade or more but I was so close to it that I couldn’t see it and make sense of it as a whole. Only by slowing down and stepping back recently, did I finally see the entirety of what was right in front of me.

For a while now, I’ve been marvelling at Tiago Forte’s Trojan Horse approach to levelling people up psychologically hidden within the wrappings of productivity. In effect, he entices people with something very practical that they need right now in their lives but the side benefit is that it has the power to change the way they perceive their world and themselves at the same time. Thinking about this, I questioned how I could take this same approach myself.

My problem is that I’m an explorer at heart and so I always want to be crossing the next horizon after I think I’ve explored an area enough. If you look at the trajectory and journey of my life, you can see this. Initially I was fascinated with The Future of Work but then over time I wanted to explore how Social Innovation and Social Creativity related to it. Then after that, I took the next leap to exploring Vertical Growth (aka psychological development) to see and understand the progressive arc of ongoing Social Creativity and Social Innovation (of which The Future of Work is just the next step).

So from my perspective, currently on Vertical Growth, I’m thinking how can I get people interested in it. Now I realize this is the completely wrong approach because it’s focused on where I’m at. Instead I need to help people where they are at. And interestingly enough, it’s really about helping someone like my younger self in 2001, who was out of a job and frustrated at the way work worked. In effect, I need to be the person now that my younger self wanted to meet back then, to help mentor them to make sense of what was happening to them and how to move forward.

Hilariously enough, all I really need to do is map out and package what I know in the progressive order I learnt it myself and share it with people in that same order because that’s how they’ll progress to being interested in the same things on their own journey. So right now, many people are losing their jobs and they’re just looking for a way to adapt to the times. That’s the practical need and starting point where I can meet people where they are at right now.

Again this is hilarious from my perspective and knowledge that I know now because it perfectly fits in with Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. I’m the mentor I was looking for when I heroically had to “level up” back in 2001 to adapt to the times then. I wasn’t lucky enough to have someone to show me the way in person though, so I had to do my own questing and questioning to find my own way, gaining most of what I know from what I read.

As an introvert though, this worked out for me because I loved spending my time reading and exploring new things anyways. If I was an extrovert though, it would have been brutal though because to make sense of things I would have wanted to talk it out with people. Yet there was really nobody I knew who was seeing, experiencing, and making sense of the same things I was at the time. So I couldn’t really talk to anyone back then. But as an introvert, I could talk to myself, which is what really begins the transformation, as you begin to relate to yourself and identify with yourself in a completely different way.

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