Letter 039: Become the Mentor
I love heroes—all of them, and everything about them. I love their journeys, their stories, and the trials they face, big and small. Most of all, I love watching them accomplish their quest—and the part that comes after: the question, now what?
See, here’s the secret about becoming the hero—you only get to slay the dragon once. Yes, there’s space for sequels, new adventures, and so much more progress. But the quest that you’re currently on will one day be through—and then what?
The truth of the matter is that while you can be the hero of your story forever, you can’t be the hero of every story forever. Each and every quest must one day come to a close in order for the next quest to begin. If you set out to start a business, once you have started your business, you can’t just go back and start 100 more, abandoning each one along the way. Each of your endeavors would suffer, because you kept moving on from them. In fact, trying to relive the same quest over and over is one of the least heroic things anyone can do.
See at the end of each quest, every hero has to make a decision of what they want to become. They have to mature from being the person who can save the kingdom from a great threat to becoming the person who can be an actual king—because running a kingdom requires a lot less dragon slaying and a lot more discipline, order, and the facing the greatest challenge of all: accounting!
Which leads me to my favorite choice, of what heroes can become when their first adventure is over: the mentor. They can take all their skill, hard-earned wisdom, and insight, and instead of using it for themselves and their own quests, they can use it to help another hero out along the way. That’s the real truth of the matter—I might be The Mentor, but depending on the day, the circumstance, or the conversation, you might be The Mentor too!
So no matter where you’re at on your quest, no matter what sequel or series or origin story you’re writing, think back—to the things in life you’ve already accomplished, the peaks and valleys you’ve already endured. Who is there now? Who needs a mentor to show up at just the right time, or a note of encouragement, or a sharp knock on the door to remind them of what they could become if they could just find the courage to set out? Well—that might be the next part of your own adventure. And I can tell you—it’s an adventure very much worth taking!
May the road rise up to meet you!