Are You Really Too Old and Established to Have a Mentor?

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I have been sitting on this story idea for a very long time. It keeps getting tossed between “yea, I really want to do it” and the ye olde rubbish pile. For some reason, I just can’t figure out how to make it fit into the YouTube channel, even though it feels important to me. So let’s try it instead with words, shall we?

Here’s the original story pitch:

How do I envision this? Not terribly serious, but still so. I think the hook/intro (and the title/thumb) needs to start with me sitting in front of camera one talking and there is this older (wiser and rueful) me sitting just out of frame. I’m talking to myself, quick cuts between the two and it looks like we’re in the same studio. Grumpy me is a nay-sayer. Pompous even. The real me is trying hard to be open. It needs to be really funny, not just a split-screen schtick.

The entire video can’t be like that. I see me banishing the old coot out of the studio and show him getting up and the sound of a door slamming. Then I share how everyone needs a mentor, regardless of age, position, whatever. Talk about The Boys. Talk about the channel and what I’m hoping to do … be a mentor as well as a mentee.

Periodically the old coot needs to knock and shout through the door and have me react. Or roll my eyes and not.

Keep it fun with undertones of motivation. Need to find some fun stories to put in. How to show this and not tell this becomes the harder part. Thinking I can do things alone. Being the tough stubborn type. Finding out that having others … even younger others … opens up so much more.

I think the thrust should be a connection. I’m in the same boat as the viewer. Wondering if I need help and how to do it. Looking in all the wrong places for love, etc. Somehow need to link mentorship (right up front) with someone who guides you. Not business, but life.

Remember: Mentorship is not simply a hierarchical relationship between mentor and mentee. Mentoring can and should be a web of connections.

THE BOYS

Let’s take these in order. I mentioned The Boys. Up until now, everything I’ve started in life has pretty much been me. As in, I just do it. Sure, I watch, learn, and listen … but I never ask. When I started on my motorcycle journey, my education came from direct riding and watching what others did. There was never a mentor-mentee relationship there. Same with career, relationships, you name it. But all of that changed with “The Boys”.

I was invited to join a weekly group that focused on being a struggling YouTube Creator. Which sounds like a bunch of pre-failures trying to not fail, I know. But each of us has different strengths. Each of us either is in, or has tried, other formal avenues to learn growth. So every Wednesday night we get together and chew the old fat. And it’s been surprisingly helpful.

Now is this a traditional mentorship? Nope, it sure ain’t. But every Wednesday at 8pm I enter the call thinking I’ve got a handle on things, and by the time the call is over, I actually do have a much better grip. It’s not that we tell each other exactly what to do … or even if I take their advice to heart to the letter. But something happens every week where I get this a-ha moment when something small clicks. Something that I probably already knew, but never saw. And to me, these guys are most definitely my mentors. Not because they’re better and more experienced, but because they can (and do!) help me along my own chosen path.

Older and Wiser

I think we have this expectation that mentors are always a) older men, b) focused on business, and c) older men. But I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Perhaps the business world has embraced the idea of mentorship fully because it helps. So why not normal life as well? And here’s the crux of my original story … what does age have to do with anything?

We assume … we, meaning people of a certain age … that once we hit a certain birthday we are no longer the mentee. We can only find an underling and take them under our wing. Share our hard earned knowledge and life experiences. Mold them … yadda yadda yadda. Well … No.

As most of you know, I’m (gasp) 60 years old now. The age where my gray (ok, maybe white in places) hair earns me the right to offer advice, and thus never seek it. But that’s a false-ism. And a big one. Maybe back in the days when men wore hats that was possible, but the world changes poles several times a day in these modern times. You can’t always rely on old facts and sage advice because the times, they have a’changed. If folks of my age demographic want to not only survive … but to thrive … we need guidance. And that may come from places we wouldn’t normally look.

It’s a Brave New World

A lot of what I’ve mentioned thus far sounds like technology. As in, we older folks need younger folks to teach us how to use TikTok and operate things like ATMs to get cash. (And why don’t they have tellers anymore? In branches that closed at 2pm and never opened on the weekends so that we were completely inconvenienced? What’s happening with the world these days???)

Ahem, sorry. Got side tracked there for a bit and turned into my father.

Technology has changed us, absolutely. But just as large a phenomenon has been how the world reacts to that change and progresses. So while a lot of what we considered truisms are still true, our body of truth is now a lot larger. And it isn’t always old-school reasoning that can decipher it.

Mentors are less guides these days and more sounding boards. I’ve come to believe that while it’s sometimes a senior-junior relationship, more often than not it’s just peers. And even more frequently, it’s both at the same time, constantly flipping around. Are we of a certain age “too old” to have a mentor? Hell no. In fact, it’s imperative that we do … just not in the same way we’ve always viewed them. We need to seek out voices from all over the spectrum, without regard to age, socio-economic status, or any other qualifier. Someone, somewhere has an experience that we can learn from. And when combined with our own history and thinking, can turn into something even greater.

Now granted, this is a hard concept for 60 year old dudes like me. We stubborn types. Who were brought up to never ask for help. To struggle until one magical day some wise, older, and gray-haired executive brought us under his wing and we suddenly knew that we had finally paid our dues and the promised land was now within view … if only we could heed his wisdom and not fall from the path.

Those days are long gone, if they ever were a real thing. It really feels like so much of a Hollywood trope to me anyway. Once I personally started daring to ask questions of people, regardless of our ages, everything changed. For the smaller problems whose solutions eluded me. To the larger decisions which would affect the very nature of my being.

“Am I Really TOO OLD and ESTABLISHED to Have a MENTOR?”

Not even close.

There, I finally did the damn story! LOL! But do I want to throw a shout out to Gene, Nick, and Pete … my YouTube partners in crime. And I highly encourage each and every one of you to find people and groups to interact with. For they are your Mentors, even if the relationship isn’t labeled as such.

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