Mentors aren’t for everyone. Here’s why…
I’ve said it before, mentors are great.
Mentors allow you to see what is possible within your industry…
And influence the decisions you make. But…
You could be sitting at a crossroad, and thinking “what would my mentor do in this situation?” could lead you to make a quick decision.
You can mirror the steps they took along the way, avoid making some of the same mistakes, and even reach a protege status.
But there’s a catch: not everyone benefits from having a mentor.
For instance, I don’t have a mentor that I turn to on a daily basis.
I haven’t had one in a while, actually.
Sure, there’s people that I admire, but no mentor.
And this was done deliberately.
Back when I had a mentor, I was super focused on doing things one specific way, because that’s how my mentor had done it.
In my mind, it made sense.
“Be like the mentor, do what the mentor did/does, and achieve the same success.”
But after a couple of years of doing this, I realized that I was…
Things weren’t about how I felt, or wanted to do.
Nothing revolved around my own creative vision.
There was no authenticity.
Instead, things were all about mimicking someone else.
And the rebellious person inside of me had enough of it.
“What are you doing?” I asked myself one night.
“You’re successful, but not because you’re anything different or original. It’s a poorly created image, a rehash of someone else’s amazing talents.”
And that’s when it hit me: where was my talent?
These days, I am successful from my own merit.
And I’ve come to realize that some people, including myself, learn better from experience.
I had to dive headfirst into the deep end without any lifeguard on duty in order to truly experience what it means to be in business.
And in doing so, two major things happened:
For one thing, I failed a lot.
I mean, a lot.
I failed so much that I debated going back to my mentor with my tail tucked between my legs.
The other thing that happened?
Well, I learned.
I actually learned more on my own than I did during two years working with a mentor.
That’s not to say that my time with a mentor wasn’t fruitful, or great…
But it’s just not the same.
For some entrepreneurs, having a mentor is the best thing since sliced bread.
They don’t mind being someone else’s clone.
And once they’re established, they are capable of taking all those lessons and reapplying them to new product lines and services.
It’s easy, the work’s been done.
The reputation is built.
The customer loyalty is there.
And more than all of that, they’re essentially just taking those same steps taken and using them toward something new.
But the backbone is already there, in place, waiting.
But that just wasn’t me.
For me, I wanted to to try things out, and see if they worked.
I wanted to stop reading so many guides, and stop working with the mentor, and start experimenting.
So, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.
And when I did, it took a little while to get my footing, sure.
There were months where I definitely had to eat Ramen, college-style.
But then something happened: I took a week off to just think about myself for a while.
Rediscover who I was to try and implement some personality into my brand.
And it was amazing.
I wanted more of a work-life balance again.
For years, I’d been all about my work, all about how much work I could line up in a day.
But when I finally let loose, I began enjoying it all more.
And it made people flock over.
There’s really no clear path to achieving something great. You just need yourself, a computer, and the willpower to see through your project to the end.
Whether it’s an indie game project, a side business, or just about anything you want to accomplish in your lifetime… you need to find your own path towards success.
If you enjoyed reading this post, it’d be amazing if you could share this so that others can find it as well.
About Daniel Doan
I’m a growth marketing consultant, the developer behind SanctuaryRPG and Overture, and the Co-Founder of Black Shell Media. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram! If you’re looking for more essays on growth marketing, game development, and productivity, you can check out my blog.
I’m always looking for more opportunities to put my growth marketing skills to work, so feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in working with me.