» Seth Godin on Mentorship

Seth Godin on Mentorship

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Painting by Herbert James Draper, showing the fall of Icarus

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If you haven’t heard of Seth Godin, I would recommend checking him out…especially if you are an artist! He makes so many excellent points when it comes to being creative, authentic, and original without doing what the status quo demands.

He is the one that inspired me to do this extremely challenging 365 project. I wanted to wait until all of the articles were perfect, then I would start. But if I kept waiting and perfecting it, the 365 might not even launch. The best thing to do is ship. If I didn’t ship it would just be a bunch of words on my monitor, and not a gift or tool for others to use and enjoy. So I shipped.

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Painting by Pieter Bruegel showing the fall of Icarus…you can see him splashing in the water by the boat.

I signed up for his newsletter and everyday he’ll right some words of wisdom. Some relates to art, other stuff is more business related. But this recent one that he calls “On the hook” inspired me to share with you because it relates directly to the Canon of Design.

On the hook

Written by Seth Godin

“Mentorship works for two reasons. Certainly, the person being mentored gains from advice and counsel and even access to others via introductions, etc.

But mostly, it works because the person with a mentor has a responsibility to stand up and actually get moving. The only way to repay your mentor is by showing the guts it takes to grow and to matter.

Interesting to note, then, that the primary driver of mentor benefit has nothing to do with the mentor herself, nothing beyond the feeling of obligation the student feels to the teacher. Whether or not the mentor does anything, this obligation delivers benefits.

We can simulate this by living up to our heroes and those living by example, even if we never meet them, even if they’ve passed away, leaving us nothing but a legacy to honor and live up to.”

So, we can take the sense of responsibility found in mentoring, put forth our best and live up to our heroes (Mom, Sister, Da Vinci, Bouguereau, Corot, Degas, Van Gogh…) whoever they may be, while learning from the legacy they’ve left behind.

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Here’s Myron Barnstone at his open house…I was fortunate enough to catch him winking. He would do this during class sometimes, right after a funny story, or a harsh critique.

My mentor, Myron Barnstone, would always tell us an anecdote which was very similar. He would say something along the lines of “once you get to Hell, because all great artists go to Hell…Heaven is no fun, that you will come across a bar…much like the one in Hellertown. Inside you’ll see all of the boys sitting around the table drinking adult beverages….Da Vinci, Degas, Van Gogh, Michaelangelo. And when you walk in the door you’re wondering if they’ll invite you to come drink at their table. If you put forth your best effort and lived up to the high standards they left before you, they will welcome you to join in. That’s the challenge.” So, you have a plethora of heroes before you which accomplished amazing feats…something for you to look up to and strive for if you’ve got the grit to withstand the long and sometimes painful journey.

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I’ll leave you with a couple of great videos by Seth Godin. If you are thinking of buying or downloading one of his books/audiobooks I would recommend “The Icarus Deception”. It’s the one that I’ve found is perfect for artists of all kinds. No, he didn’t pay me to say this. It’s what you do when you find something inspiring…you share it with others…and as an artist, there can never be enough inspiration.

Here’s a great audio book video of Seth Godin’s “The Icarus Deception.”

This one is long and in depth if you’d like to hear more.

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