creativity-a-mentorThere are times in our lives when we just meet the right person at the right time. When everything that comes out of this individuals mouth is like listening to Bernstein conduct Beethoven’s 9th: it is subtle, yet every note hits you like a ton of bricks. I had the pleasure of meeting one of those people while in Napa a few weeks ago. His name is Rajesh Setty.

Raj is a brilliant, yet unassuming man who shares my passion for growing ideas and  creativity. During our conversation, he spoke very highly of his mentor and how that mentor helped him get to where he is today. Most people I know pay to have a coach or have been a part of some type of mentoring support group. Neither have really appealed to me because they are not who I am. I am a conversationalist and I prefer the conversation be about the other person. So, you can see my dilemma.

Since I was so taken with Raj, I asked him how he found his mentors; I asked whether or not he paid for a high profile coach or someone with a ton of connections. I received a very surprising response:

“On mentors, I have always had mentors and I make it a simple rule to pay them a nominal amount every month although it will not even cover their gas bill for many of them. It is more for me than for them.

I have not hired a coach per se as I have not come across anybody that got me super excited.

Beyond that, at any point in time, I am enrolled in at least two courses where there is disciplined learning.”

See why this guy is great?

There are a ton of generous individuals who are happy to take the time and give you advice or words of wisdom. And we are happy to take it. However, what have we given in exchange for such a gift? Many times, we offer to pay for coffee or lunch. Which is a nice thing, but it will not ensure that you will have that person’s ear again. By paying someone, you acknowledge that their time is worth something and that it is important for you to give a gift or a token to show your appreciation.

We are students of life; ever-evolving and learning from our experiences. By taking a creative class within a disciplined environment, you open yourselves up to two very important things:

1. Strategic Thinking: Creative classes such as a writing class enhance the way you think. Writing exercises force people to think more strategically from a technical standpoint.

2.  Built in Mentors: Professors are built in mentors. Many of these instructors have their own careers outside of the classroom and can help foster new ideas, as well as provide you with the direction you desire.

When we think about how to grow past where we are now, we expect to find the answers from one place. A methodology or a blueprint that will show us exactly how to achieve our goals. There’s no one way. There are an infinite number of solutions.

The key is to be able to identify the root of what is holding you back and then finding a solution(s) that seems right to you. And maybe taking a class or paying someone for their time will help you do just that.

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