The Hero’s Journey in Paris (11) By Peter de Kuster Meet Your Own Midnight in Paris Heroes : Cafe de Flore Having to do everything yourself limits your growth and your career. Control freaks struggle. If you plan to write, design, direct, produce, act in, edit and publicize everything, you miss out and you burn uot. Even the most creative person can only be in so many places at once. More important, you can only be expert in so many different things. Spread yourself thin, and things start falling through the cracks.
Meet your own Midnight in Paris Heroes!! The difference between successful creative heroes and unsuccessful creative heroes comes down to this: being in the company of other creative heroes. It is wonderful, intoxicating and addicting to find people who believe in you and want to see you do well. It is the antidote for your inner critic. Sometimes you can’t see how special your work and your talents are, and
you need people like the heroes in Midnight in Paris to support you. You need their feedback. When your heroes believe in you, they can push you beyond what you think is possible. Creative heroes help each other. There is an energy produced by creative heroes that you can tap into without taking away from anyone. Try to be around as many positive, creative people as possible, no matter what field. You’ll feel energized. Hanging with others in your own field can be helpful too. You may get their overflow business, learn new techniques, find others to take care of your overflow or share responsibilities on a big job. Mentors have been there, done that. Their experience can take years of your learning curve. They can teach. Point out the pitfalls. Attach you to their own network. They encourage and support you when things are tough. A mentor will not only point you in the right direction; they can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel or open up vistas of possibility you never imagined. Look for a mentor who has something in common with you. And hwen you find a mentor, you do have to do your part. A mentor will help, guide, encourage. You must do two things:
Do the work. A mentor’s reward is seeing you succeed. Don’t make yours feel that his or her time and energy have been wasted on you. Shut up and listen. Take notes. Accept your mentor’s criticism and suggestions and try to use them, even if you don’t always agree (and you won’t always agree). A mentor is not God, but just someone who’s already gotten where you want to go. Creative heroes and their mentors Throughout history, creative people have relied on and benefited from having a mentor. Here are some past and present creatives and their mentors: Student Mentor Aristotle Plato Monet Manet Leonardo da Vinci Verrochio Dante Virgil Woody Allen Hemingway Peter de Kuster Ernest Hemingway The bottom line in Cafe Flore is this: as long as you keep your ears, eyes – and mind open, as long as you’re willing and able to learn from mistakes – yours and others – you’re using the mentorship – heroes – demo’s -‐ rolemodels – testdrive your dreamjob – concept to your advantage. There really is no downside.
Rolemodels Whom do you most admire? What do they have that you don’t? How did they get it? What steps did they take? Can you contact them? Can you ask them to make a testdrive in your dreamjob with them as mentor? (you’ll be surprised at how accessible many people are, and how receptive they can be). What would you ask them if you could? If you can’t reach them, you can still pattern yourself after them. I have done that my entire career. Joseph Campbell, Tom Peters, Benedikt Taschen, Richard Branson are my heroes and rolemodels. I love to read how people got where they are. Learning from others’ success helps you formulate your own hero’s journey story to follow. Success does leave clues. Read biographies as if they were the Bible. Highlight passages that inspire you. If they can do it, so can you. These are ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. One warning: don’t lose your uniquess and don’t compare yourself to your heroes. Don’t get down on yourself because you didn’t make it the same month and year they did. Your success is your own,with your own story, timing and happy ending. You may discover that you don’t want what your mentor achieved after all. That might even be the most valuable lesson you learned from them.