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Liberating New Widsom: on The Gentle Art of Mentoring

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Do you wake up every morning thinking there must be more to life?

Perhaps it takes an iron will for you to drag yourself out of bed each day. Maybe you feel an immense burden on your shoulders as duties mount up and become so overwhelming that you just want to run away and hide.

It might be a sense of impending catastrophe hanging in the air, a hunch that humanity is facing tough times, yet feeling powerless to do much about it. You might be a woman struggling to find a voice in a world designed by men for men; a world in which 'male' is the default mode. Or possibly you've just seen a post by your teenage daughter on social media criticizing your generation for creating a world she has no desire to inherit...

Of course, it might be the very opposite of such dystopian torment. Perhaps you're about to invest half your wealth in a high-tech startup and need to be sure that the risk is worth taking. Perhaps your business is growing at such a pace that you need new ideas on how best to integrate fast-paced entrepreneurial activities with operational units dedicated to governance and compliance. Or possibly you've been elected president of your nation and need uncommon advice that's not forthcoming from other sources.

Whatever the cause of your angst, you're not alone.

The impression of being out of your depth, a phony, or not up to the task for which you're being paid (known to psychologists as imposter syndrome), is quite commonplace. A suspicion that the tasks you do are pointless, or that you are undervalued as a person is also widespread. Whether it's just a new appointment, a promotion into a much more expansive role, or a complete career change, public expectations of incumbency in such an uncertain world invariably weigh heavily on the shoulders of anyone unaccustomed to the position in which they now find themselves.

Couple such sentiments with a vague malaise, geopolitical tensions, propaganda from the media machine, along with feelings of despair about what's in store for our species, and one has a recipe for depression, or far worse.

If you have ever encountered such feelings, and occupy a position of influence or power, then you've probably discovered the invaluable support you can get, and the qualms you can assuage, by having an adviser to turn to for help. This is the domain of the consigliere; the trusted confidante; the mentor – a unique partnership between two people. So, what is mentoring exactly?

Defining Mentorship

The context for understanding and organizing society and its various institutions has changed – and is continuing to do so. The speed of technological innovation, discernible shifts away from the industrial smokestack era of production, subsequent changes in the nature of socio-economic systems, and the impact of entirely unforeseen global environmental priorities, have seen to that.

The industrial economic world-system of the past three hundred years, in which the field of management was gradually forged, is rapidly and necessarily giving way to renewal. Enabled by digital networks and collaborative technologies, picking up speed from the exigencies of climate change and the rise of China, and saddled with a global population exceeding eight billion people, new ways of 'knowing' are shaping global relationships founded on more ecological tenets than their industrial forebears.

But these new tenets also demand that we approach the task of evolving civilization and its institutions from alternative ontological perspectives. Many of our most life-critical systems are failing. Meanwhile, managing, structuring, learning, governing and working are being transformed in quite fundamental ways; ways that would have been unimaginable even a decade ago. The World Wide Web, electronic commerce, an itinerant workforce, pervasive digitization, and an ability to communicate with anyone on the planet almost instantly, has created a highly networked society embedded within an 'experience' economy of ever-changing tones, modes and dynamics.

Those of us who comprehend the principles of this new world and are able to let go of the knowledge and habits that brought success in the industrial era, will flourish. However, it's likely that those who continue to conform to the industrial axioms of the past will become more and more frustrated before failure ultimately overtakes them.

Enter the Mentor

Roles, responsibilities and tasks as traditionally imagined within the industrial paradigm became obsolete years ago. The experiences and expertise that qualified people for the top job in the past, have become the very things that disqualify those same people from knowing what to do today. Enter the mentor.

Truly significant people move in an entirely different space today – transcending ego, deeply conscious of systemic issues, able to consult, mediate, network and navigate.

In particular they possess mastery in:

  • The ability to 'see' what needs to be done at a particular time and the ramifications of doing it (or not doing it);

  • The energy, courage and focus to undertake what needs to be done, and to collaborate with others to do it; and

  • The capacity to create the conditions in which what needs to be done can be achieved with as little effort and as much freedom as possible.

There is nothing more harrowing for any person than having the imperative to act without the knowledge or means to do so. Bespoke mentoring occurs in the moment and is designed to suit a variety of derived needs. Proteges come to appreciate that their mentor is the difference between success and significance.

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By providing the most strategically comprehensive, yet totally candid advice, confidence for action grows, personal aspirations are achieved, and exceptional performance is mastered - and sustained.

Insights Never Imagined Possible

Mentors ensure that their proteges gain insights they never imagined possible, and breakthroughs that astonish them. Mentors bring greater clarity about what matters into the lives of their proteges, radically speeding up their achievement schedule, focusing on how they can live their life more effectively, and greatly increasing the likelihood of success by pulling past and future into a potent present.

Exclusive and intensely transformative, mentors help their proteges transact meaningful change, bringing greater fulfillment and happiness in their wake to many others who fall within their sphere of influence.


Dr. Richard David Hames

Dr. Richard David Hames, based in Bangkok, Thailand, is a senior statesman in the field of strategic foresight, is the founder of the Centre for the Future and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art & Science. He is currently the Chief Strategist at Eternus, a private impact investment firm. His mentoring clientele includes heads of state, leading CEOs, and many of the world's most innovative entrepreneurs.

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