Finding your Oogway
I had fits of laughter watching the big fat Panda struggle to keep up with his accidental ‘Dragon Warrior’ title but I still remember something extraordinary from the movie.
Yes, the wise tortoise.
Without Oogway’s guidance, there was no chance that an indolent, slacker panda who did nothing except dreaming about learning Kung Fu could have become the Dragon Warrior.
I remember the scene when Po was rejected by master Shifu and mocked by Furious five. With his self-confidence shattered, he decides to quit and tell Master Oogway about it just when from the thin air, Oogway appears and says-
Oh boy! How I wish I had my own Oogway constantly reminding me that I am more than what I think. That if I believe in myself, I can do it. That I just need to work on it, one more time. Wouldn’t it be great if we all had someone to show us the right path; help us become a better version of us? Help us find our destiny, you know.
Wishful thinking, I know.
Mentors like him are often portrayed in the fantasy world of movies and storybooks. Like the Yoda. Or the badass Gandalf. Or my favorite, Albus Dumbledore.
Even in real life, we know of great mentor relationships and the phenomenal impact they had on the course of history. Imagine Alexander the Great if Aristotle had not mentored him. Imagine Oprah Winfrey as just another woman without Mrs. Duncan guiding her. And Henry Ford without Thomas Edison.
In fact every famous entrepreneur, athlete, writer, musician, business leader, singer, spiritual leader, art director- they all have accredited a great mentor to their success.
So my point is- we all need mentors. Especially in the corporate world. We need them because mentorship done right could have a tremendous impact on our career trajectory. Good Mentors are one helluva sounding board. They help you get unstuck. They uplift. They help you get some fresh perspective on things.
But, please, don’t jump at it because I said it. Before you seek out to find your master Oogway, you need to figure what you want to achieve. Pull out your inner intellectual Simon Sinek and start with why.
Depending on your profession and your experience, your reasons might differ. Do you want someone to help you abridge knowledge gaps? Do you want to change your career direction? Or you need someone to help you unlock business opportunities? Or build a business strategy?
Once you have your Why, go to What should you look for in a mentor
Foremost, Trustworthiness, and Experience (irrespective of their age). To quote some examples, I would say pretty much like the Kabir Khan of Chak De. Or like Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid. Or, like Jedi masters from the Star Wars universe. *Yes, I am a movie junkie*
Also, figuring out things like- if they have the time to mentor, have a genuine interest in your growth, can give constructive criticism and be hard on you, are a must. Without these, you would be become like Wolverine – always looking at the moon with longing, but never having it in your reach.
Feels like you cracked a jackpot? But let me break your heart. I lied — Finding a good mentor isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s like wandering through a maze and looking for something you can barely describe. However, some smart industry people have figured out How to Find a Career Mentor. Take help, if you need.
Even in the popular saying, “when the student is ready, the master appears”, requires the student to be ready to walk that path. But, nevertheless, take that road. Be on that journey to find a good mentor. Trust me, when you find that person who will say these words to you “I would love to help you”, that moment will be magical.
I hope you are ready and your Oogway appears. And whispers in your ears-
More power to you. And, to the ladies out there- wish you an empowered women’s day!
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