Musing: Why Mentorship Is The Difference Between Normal and Exceptional

A quick phone conversation with this week’s Featured Muse, Wendy De La Rosa, inspired this week’s personal essay. We talked about success, community, and most importantly, mentorship. Here’s how we can all find success and achieve personal growth.

There’s a pervasive idea that successful people are just born – that they have the all the raw talents and traits from day one, and just spend their lives refining those innate skills. It can seem like average people are precluded from success, especially the kind that so-called geniuses might find.  We may even think that people who are not succeeding aren’t talented enough, or they aren’t working hard enough.

We see this belief system reflected everywhere: teachers invest more time in the high-aptitude, high-performing students, and movies glorify that troubled genius archetype and “average” characters are imbued with disappointment (think Little Miss Sunshine). Just dig around in your brain a little bit: how many things do you think you’re bad at? What about good? And why?

As I was talking to Wendy, our Featured Muse, last week on the phone, we started into this topic of success. I’m reconstructing fragmented quotes, but here is the gist.

“In the Latino and African American communities,” she said, “we don’t really believe that to be successful, you have to be born successful. You have to mentor average people in order for them to become successful and exceptional.” 

At this moment, I experienced what this week’s inspiring, successful Brené Brown called a “perception enhancement” – I thought about something I had intuitively felt in a whole new way. It’s normal to be normal. To become exceptional, it’s far more important to be willing to learn.

We don’t have to be perfect – again, Brown’s courageous vulnerability springs to mind – we just need to be able to acknowledge our weaknesses, define our goals and lean on people who can help us achieve them. In short, asking for trusted guidance is one way that normal people are able to become exceptional.

We absolutely believe this idea here at BYOM. We can achieve greater through mentorship, through community, and through collaboration. Even if we never expressed it as such, this is one of the core reasons why we started this platform. Not only do we want to share the stories of young people who inspired us, we wanted to help others be inspired. Ultimately, we wanted to provide open lines of communication between our readers and our Muses, so that if anyone had questions about pursuing a dream, they had a peer to talk to. It’s peer-to-peer mentoring, but it’s mentoring nonetheless.

With that in mind, we want to invite you to ask questions of our Muses. Feel free to pick their brains, and ours as Editors. Please, please share the lessons that you’ve learned so that we can learn with you – we may even publish it as a guest post!

Lastly, we want to thank you again for joining us on this journey. We’re part of a wave of entrepreneurs sparking positivity and empowerment, and are so glad that we’re in it with you, our wonderful readers.

+ What do you think? Let us know, and share your story!
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