“Should you be a Luke or a Han? And how to avoid becoming an Anakin”
Luke had Obi-Wan Kenobi and Obi-Wan had Qui-Gon Jinn (Anakin also had Obi-Wan, but he moved over to Palpatine. But we’ll get into that later). Who did Han have? Who did Han Solo look to for advice and direction? How did that turn out for him?
The entire Jedi system was based on a master/padawan (apprentice) type relationship. But if the force is all around us and the ability to become a Jedi is something one is born with (we WILL NOT be discussing midichlorians here), what is the need for a mentor?
Research has shown that people who availed themselves of mentors were more likely to get their startup business of the ground and more likely to survive the first 2 years in business. Research has also shown that those same people who took the advice of mentors increased their revenue by an average of 106%, while those who didn’t increased their revenue by an average of 14%.
So let’s discuss Han for a moment. It is a well-known fact that Han did things his way with Chewy faithfully at his side. Let’s see where that got him. When he tried to double cross Jabba he ended up frozen in carbonite for somewhere between a year and two (depends which calendar you believe they go by). Then he ends up estranged from his love for over a decade, from his son even longer, only to be killed when reunited (I would have said ‘spoiler alert’, but if you have not seen it yet, I really can’t feel that bad for you).
We all have friends and sidekicks who are willing to agree with every plan we hatch and tell us how much of a genius we are, but how many of us have access to someone who, through years of PERSONAL experience, can tell it like it is?
Do you really know all of the options available to you? Do you know all the right people in every situation? It is possible that your mentor might not as well, but there is a greater chance that they do (or at least a bit more than you do).
If you still feel that a mentor can’t help you, keep in mind that Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Richard Branson (amongst many others) attribute much of their success to their respective mentors.
What about Anakin? Anakin had no intention of being an entrepreneur, he was a corporate man through and through. Research shows that even in an employee situation a mentor has great impact. Those employees with mentors were 5 times more likely to get promoted and generally got 20% more raises than those without. But don’t forget that who you hitch your wagon to is just as important as simply hitching your wagon.
Anakin had the opportunity to keep learning from a Jedi, but chose to go with Palpatine instead. You can argue that his heart was in the right place, as he wanted to make sure that Padme wouldn’t die, but it was necessary for him to be able to recognize the mentor that would lead him down the right path, rather than the one that would turn him into a self-loathing cyborg.
We’ve covered a lot of the ‘why’, and if you want to know more about the ‘how’ check out either www.score.org or www.micromentor.org. Both of these sites are free services to connect you to life and career impacting mentors.