4 Tips On Finding The Mentor You Actually Need

When you’re going through shit, who do you turn to? When things get hard and you need direction, who do you turn to? Do you have someone who will listen and also tell you the hard truths? Do you turn to anyone at all?

In a culture like this one, it seems like our ancient “community” instinct — to seek help or guidance from our elders or mentors — often gets hijacked by the latest book, podcast, or Instagram guru who’s promising something faster, easier, or somehow “permanent”. I’m sure you’ve seen the ads.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned working in this industry, it’s that those things are not nearly the end of the story. For example, knowing what the “Five Steps to Getting Over Your Ex” are and actually doing the work are two very different things!

But there’s something else we bump into when we move past just “knowing” something, and it’s much, much deeper. It’s in this mysterious, numinous space — the place of felt, integrated, embodied wisdom — that elders and elderhood tend to live their entire lives. It’s only from this embodied space that you can begin to truly integrate and metabolize everything you’ve learned.

In my opinion, accessing this space requires some guidance, the same way you’d hire an experienced guide when climbing a mountain or search for a business mentor who understands everything including failure. I’m proud to say much of my education has been through the guidance of elders and mentors. And like all good students of wisdom, I still seek these people out as often as I can. Every time I do, I come back with priceless gifts.

So, I want to share with you how to identify people in your own life who embody the kind of wisdom you need in the moments you need them most


Take Stock

Have a look at the people in your life who seem to have attained a wisdom you might not have or understand. Who’s already in your network? Secondly, ask yourself: is there someone in your life you could be learning from differently? Start defying the default way you categorize people.

I’ll use my own life as an example. One of the first genuine elders I encountered was one I’d hired as a singing teacher, back when I was training my voice in university. He was a deeply intelligent person, but I’d categorized him as “just” a singing teacher. When I hit rock bottom, he morphed our lessons into talks on Buddhism, Jungian psychology, neurolinguistic programming, and a lot of brutal honesty about where I was at and why.

In my case, he defied what I thought he was, so I want to save you the trouble and ask you now: defy your own judgment of people when seeking an elder or mentor. There could be one in your contact list already.


Consider the Crisis

Elders and mentors have a weird way of showing up in your life exactly when required. Or, they may have been in your life for a while, but their words will only land when they match the crisis. Generally, this means that a good time to seek out an elder is when you’re going through a major transition. Things like…

  • Moving cities or changing careers
  • Relational breakdowns (recurring conflicts or sexless marriages, for example)
  • The 2020-21 Special: returning to the workplace (or abandoning a toxic one)
  • Grief, loss, and death
  • Spiritual questioning or spiritual crisis

You do have to search, but you often won’t have to look too far; the combination of what you need to hear and what you’re going through will (in a sense) allow you to notice potential mentors/elders. It’s similar to how someone who’s hungry is primed to see food.


Understand that Timing is Everything

In the case of elders, you don’t always need their help. That would defeat their purpose. So, when should you seek elder support? The honest answer is this: when you feel the call and know you’re open to that kind of guidance.

It’s a similar case for mentorship. What may be encountering in your relationship, business, or personal growth is a hurdle that you are required to leap over. If it’s an issue that seems to happen over and over again, then it may be time to seek out the lived experience of a mentor.


Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

How do you approach someone like an elder or mentor? First off, assume positive intent. The kind of wisdom you get from someone in this position will most likely kick your ass psychologically, but it will come from a positive place. It’s like a storm that brings rain to a desert.

Secondly, be clear and direct in your ask. In my experience, someone who carries elderhood in their veins will be direct as well, since they have given up the need to “beat around the bush”. And, if they can’t help you they probably know someone who can. 

Finally, in Western culture, we have a weird entitlement around learning. We want to be taught “our way”. Assume a real elder or mentor likely won’t give a shit about your comfort zone; they’ll teach you the way you need to be taught. I’m speaking from experience!

The wisdom you get from an elder will almost always feel like a shower in glacier water. It likely won’t soothe you, it may even anger you. But it will also feel like the sanest advice you’ve ever heard.


What’s The Difference Between Knowledge And Wisdom?

It’s no secret that the times we are in are…chaotic. Many of us are at an important crossroads: we can go back to sleep and forget what we’ve seen or we can answer the call and start making change now.

In this post, I want to give you a deep dive into a critical component to answering the call to change: wisdom. 

So, let’s start with the basics: What is wisdom? How does it differ from knowledge? And why the hell should you care?


Wisdom ≠ Knowledge

I believe one of the reasons many of us struggle through hard times is because we over-prioritize knowledge at the expense of wisdom.  This is true in our collective culture, our relationships, our professional lives, or our spiritual growth.

We love statistics and facts (knowledge), but we don’t take the time to metabolize what we’ve taken in (wisdom) due to lack of guidance or fear. We understand what needs to be done but struggle to really live it or see how it’s connected to other parts of our lives.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with knowledge. It’s a critical component of our lives and our healing. It’s just not the end of the story.


Linear Versus Holistic

Knowledge is good for separating and dividing things into classes and categories, and has a fairly linear nature. Wisdom, however, has a feeling of wholeness or naturalness. Wisdom understands everything as interconnected and “inter-consequential” — that’s…probably not a word, but hey.


Wisdom is Embodied

In my definition, knowledge is strictly intellectual. It’s the facts. The science. It’s our conscious mind doing what it does best. But wisdom? Wisdom is the result of embodying your knowledge. Of turning experience, thinking, and feeling into something you are for the rest of your life.

A good example of all this can be found in the fact that I recently became a parent. I can’t tell you the number of books and articles on parenting I read, the number of people I listened to about fatherhood. The advice, the warnings, the facts. A lot of knowledge.

But until I became a father — until I experienced the mystery of becoming a parent and just how wild that is — it was just knowledge. None of what I read or listened to prepared me for that! And every day, what I learn is being transformed into lived experience.


Wisdom is Irrational and Mysterious

I mean mystery in the sense of “unknown” but also “unknowable”. The intuitive side of wisdom often seems irrational to the conscious mind. For example, when your gut kicks in and says, “something’s up” or “this isn’t sitting right”, even though everything seems fine.

You might never know exactly how or why your instincts kicked in, but the voice saying you should trust that instinct, that’s a form of wisdom talking.

The nature of wisdom is something philosophers, writers, and more have been talking about for a long time. To help us navigate our radically shifting work, I think it’s time we began reaching more for wisdom from one of the foremost cultural sources of it: elders.

And by elders, I don’t just mean “old people”, but rather people willing to embody and share wisdom.

So! I’ve got homework for you. I want you to reflect on two things:

  • What knowledge have you been working to metabolize? To embody?
  • Who might be able to support you in this area, or has already metabolized that knowledge?

These two questions have the potential to begin a journey towards real, embodied wisdom.

10 Life Lessons Every Man Should Learn In Their 20s

In this article, I feel really privileged to share with you some key insights and “aha” moments that I learned before I say goodbye to my twenties in August 27, 2015.
You and I live in a world of cause and effect. Every action has an equal reaction. The choices we make today, especially in our 20s, will determine what happens later on in our lives.
Whether you’re on your own and moving forward with your career or still with your parents and figuring out what to do, I want you to realize something. If you’re not mindful of how you spend your time, it’ll be gone before you know it. It’s easy to get lost in the transition from not having any significant responsibilities to facing the “real world.”
You may not see it immediately but at some point, you’ll have to face the consequences the decisions you’re making today. Your 20s, also knowns as your “defining decade,” matters and you should make the most out of it.
Here are some of the most important lessons every man should be aware of in order to become successful later on in their lives.
10 Life Lessons Every Man Should Know In Their 20s
Don’t Stay In A Job That You Hate
With the amount of time you have to invest in building a career, make sure it should be something you’re really interested in. You’re in a perfect time in your life right now to figure that out because you’re still young.
Trust me when I say this: the pursuit of more money doesn’t satisfy any longer once your basic needs are met. I encourage you to go ahead and take more risk while you don’t have a lot to lose.
If you’re working a job you hate, it’s your responsibility to do something about it. Until you find what you love to do, keep looking.
Life is too short to settle.
You Don’t Have To Go To School
We live in a time where there’s nothing you can’t find online. Education has changed and the way we process information is significantly different from before.
Unless you’ve chosen a profession that needs formal credentials, like Law, Medicine or Engineering, you don’t really need to pursue higher education to have a successful career.
If you feel like you’re sitting in class, twiddling your thumbs and bored out of your mind, that setting may not be right for you.
Figure out what kind of work energizes you and find resources to study about it. Go to conferences and connect with other people who already have results that you want.
If you’re learning something you enjoy, you’re much more likely to put all in. People pay for results, they don’t care about your credentials.
Pursuit knowledge rather money.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
Here’s the greatest life hack of all time: the quickest way to change is to surround yourself with the kind of people you aspire to be like. Who you’re around with all the time will have a significant impact on how you turn out to be.
When you act in integrity with the vision of who you want to become, not everybody is going to like you. As hard as it may be, let go of relationships that are not supportive of your goals. Find new ones that will.
Your environment is stronger than your will power. Constantly put yourself in situations where you’re around people who will celebrate your successes, no matter how small.
It’s Okay To Stay Single
I’m going to make an important distinction right here so pay attention. There’s a big difference between being alone and feeling lonely.
Being alone is a choice that you make to do what you want. It’s about learning how to and be in good company with yourself. The feeling of loneliness stems from a place of lack where you feel incomplete. When you come from this place, you’ll seek out acceptance from others to validate your self-worth.
Your 20s should be spent on figuring out your identity and defining your core values. Focus on activities that will increase your self-esteem. Know who you are and what you really want. Other people can’t do that for you.
Gain Wisdom From Travelling
You’d be surprised how much you’ll learn a lot about yourself when you’re taken away from your daily routine. When you travel, there’s a feeling of anonymity that you experience when you’re in a new environment.
You can show up as whoever you want. There’s no one to tell you otherwise. Travelling is a great way to reinvent yourself.
Go ahead and give yourself permission to become who you aspire to be. Travel to places you’ve always wanted to see, connect with people who you look up to and lead your life in a direction that’s right for you.
Define Your Own Purpose
What you’re meant to do in your life isn’t something that you find behind a bush or underneath a rock. It’s something you decide for yourself. Take more risk, especially while you don’t have a lot of obligations.
If money wasn’t an issue, what’s something you would love to do? What’s a topic you would enjoy learning more about?
The moment you’re in alignment with your purpose, you’ll do remarkable things as a by-product. You’ll feel so immersed in what you do that sleeping becomes the worst part of your day.
When you’re leaping out of bed because you can’t wait to get to work, that’s when people begin to take notice.
It’s hard not to because passion is very contagious.
Avoid Comparing Yourself To Others
The best way to feel like you’re not good enough is to keep looking at what other people have. Success in life is very subjective. Everyone has their own definition of what makes them happy.
What’s the point of being alive if you just want to be like everybody else?
Learn to play your own game. Set your goals and work hard at achieving them. Spend your days in a way that inspires your future self.
Self-worth comes from being thankful for what you already have. Whatever you appreciate, appreciates
Invest In Yourself, Not On Things
Nothing in life is permanent. Material assets can be easily taken away.
When you focus on the internal, you’ll get external abundance as a by-product and more. Wealth is a mindset. It’s a shift in your perspective that will cause you to do things differently.
Invest in your personal development rather than things that are temporary. Knowledge and experience can never be stolen.
Make Mistakes Often
There’s something transformational that happens when you go through experiences in your life that push you out of your comfort zone.
When you get close to the edge, you have two choices: you can either take a leap of faith and step into your higher potential or you can step back and make room for others who are going to.
Integrity is a habit that you have to consciously decide on a daily basis. It’s a choice that you make to honour the truth of what you think is right for yourself.
But first, you have to sit through the discomfort of uncertainty for a period of time and trust in the process. Wisdom only comes from circumstances that challenge you.
Character is forged through pressure and hardships. When you’re going through tough moments, be thankful! View challenging situations in your life as an opportunity to grow.
Broke And Poor Are Not The Same
Being broke is a temporary state that people go through in their journey. It’s when they pay their dues to get the skills and experience to become successful.
Being poor is a permanent state of mind. It’s a way of thinking that limits people from achieving abundance because they don’t think there’s enough for everyone.
The path to success is never linear. As you embark on your journey to self-discovery and self-fulfillment, you’ll go through tough moments inevitably.
Never wish for things to be easy because it won’t be. Instead, ask for strength to be able to endure and persevere. Those who come out on the other side are rewarded with more.
Being broke for a while is not a bad thing. As long as you have a plan and are taking massive action to create value for other people, success is inevitable.
Myke MacapinlacAbout Myke Macapinlac 
Myke Macapinlac is the Program Director of Social Man Project. His mission is to help shy men become socially confident so they can create the dating life they deserve.
If you would like to learn a proven strategy to meet quality women even if you feel like you’re not good enough, save your seat by visiting www.socialmanproject.com
Connect with Myke on: Facebook or Twitter


Which Statement Best Applies To You?

Click the button below.