Mentors Make A Difference

mentors make a differenceHaving a solid set of mentors in life, I believe, is critical to all mastery and or success. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes and their roles my significantly vary but mentors make a difference.

Some mentors may only serve to set an example for you or give you an example of what you can actually do if you set your mind to it. For many years, I had Lee as a mentor who was an accomplished ultrarunner. Though he and I never trained together, it was Lee way back in the day who inspired me to take my running to an entirely new level.

Then you have mentors who are more actively involved. Not only do they set an example, they are also there to teach and actually lead the way for you. As an entrepreneur, these are the types of mentors that I seek the most right now and wish I had more of.

And then there was last night… I have been working the past few weeks on Aspen Mountain on the snowmaking crew. I wanted a job that I could work a few days (nights) a week that would make me some extra money, allow me to learn something completely new, get me up on the mountain and outside and also get me a full season pass as part of the deal. This job allows me to work on my life coaching business on the front end of the week and work on the mountain the second half. It all works out greatly.

But the biggest challenge I have had in this job isn’t the mechanics or the science of making snow, no… it’s the snowmobile – and every night on the job I am usually getting my butt kicked by the sled one way or the other. I am working hard to get better, but it takes time to build a solid base of experience.

One of my mentors on the hill (really everyone I work with is awesome and patient with me as I learn) has been great at gradually raising the bar for me when it comes to my snowmobiling skills. Last night he threw me a curve ball that I was not expecting, but being a good mentor and teacher, he knew exactly what he was doing.

We had just finished setting up one snowmaking gun and had gone up the road a bit but instead of turning around and coming back down the road, he turned left off of the road and down a ¼ mile steep embankment (Upper Snow Bowl) and well… I followed and stayed in his track.

To be clear I was not completely sure what we were getting into and my adrenaline went through the roof as I saw the slope that I was to go down and it went even higher as the sled started to skid and pitch side to side as I was descending.

Of course, this set up a situation that I was not expecting… Upper Snow Bowl crosses The Summer Road and then continues into Lower Snow Bowl. Well, given the speed that that I had built coming down Upper Snow Bowl, slowing down enough to make the 90 degree turn right and head back down the road was NOT going to happen. I had to commit, go over the road and descend Lower Snow Bowl.

My system was FLOODED with adrenaline now as I could see my mentor’s sled stopped a few hundred yards away at the base of the slope in a wider/flatter area where the hill ran out. Still committed to making it down, and subsequently not dying, I kept at it all the while controlling the sled as it struggled to grip on the slope. I made it down, pulled up next to him and I know he could see the grin on my face even with my helmet on. Oh…. Let me add one thing… ALL OF THIS HAPPENED IN THE DARK!

As jacked up on adrenaline as I was, I had to give it to him for as I put it, “pulling a fast one on me,” and getting me to go down the hill and after we got back to the shop I was laughing and told him as much.

Mentors make a difference and in this case, my teammate knew exactly what he was doing when he headed down the hill with me following, forcing me into a position extremely outside of my comfort zone. He knew the risks were safe enough but more importantly he knew that I needed to learn that myself by following him and actually going down the slope on my own.

Mentors can set an example, teach, share their knowledge and experience, but sometimes you just need a mentor to lead the way, especially if it is a path that you would not comfortably take on your own.

What mentors have you had in life that have helped you significantly and how did they help you?

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten 13 November 2015

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