Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New Mentor Needed

Sunday April 13th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

   I speak often of what a tremendous mentor my grandfather was to me – and he was – but there are a few things he never got to that I had to painfully learn on my own. He died when I was only 18, so maybe he just didn’t have enough time to get to them yet. Or maybe he didn’t know at all.

   As great of an influence as Gramps was and still is, nobody knows everything. He struggled in his own life in many ways, and when it was all over he was just a small time hustler. He tried his hand at a few things, but admittedly never was willing to go all in and risk it to get the big prize.

   He played it safe for reasons I guess I can understand, but in retrospect it sure didn’t bring him any lasting happiness. My grandmother never supported his dreams, even though he’d sacrificed his most productive years working at jobs he despised in order to support her and their two sons. 

   He tried to be a good father – at least by his account – and that didn’t work out either. Both my father and uncle had their conflicts with him, and neither had even half as close of a relationship as Gramps and I enjoyed. Maybe that was a grandfather’s “second chance” thing, I don’t know. 

   The reason I’m having these thoughts is that I’m at a place in my life where I don’t know who I can turn to as a mentor figure. Everyone needs a mentor, and I don’t think it ever ends. I’m in a place that few ever get to in life – especially this late in the game. I don’t know who I can talk to.

   I’m still out here wallowing in the mud WAY longer than most are willing to go all in. I wasn’t able to settle for the safe route like Gramps did - and 99% of everyone else. I was committed to it 100% off the bat, and even though I made some horrific mistakes and caught some rotten breaks, here I am still around with a chance to succeed. I don’t know exactly how, so I’d like a mentor.

   Most of my circle of friends have no idea what to tell me. They’re having their own issues with week to week survival, and I get that. They couldn’t help me if they wanted to, and unfortunately that doesn’t do either one of us any good. It’s everyone for themselves, and I find that very scary. I have to move forward with the knowledge and experience I have, and make my best decisions.

   One thing I’m really having a struggle with is short term vs. long term goals. I see where I aim to be in the long run, but I’m constantly distracted by detours I have to take in the short run. I am so discombobulated from all the lumps I’ve taken that I’m having a tough time sorting out which way is up. Then I let the short term distractions eat up all my time, and I have no big plan at all.

   Add to that the fact that I have always been fiercely independent in my business dealings to the point of not letting anyone else in on my plans, that I have nobody to blame but myself when I’m stuck in the position I’m in and haven’t a clue as to what to do next. I need to amend my method.

   But how? It will mean letting others into my inner circle, and I’ve never been comfortable with that. I have always had trust issues, and that’s a big part of being a dented can. Too bad, because if I don’t change it up I am never going to hit pay dirt. It’s humbling to admit, but I was wrong.

My grandfather was my father figure and mentor as a child. I couldn't imagine a better one. I think about him every day - even now.

He was with me from five months old until age 18. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude I can never repay. Instead, I try to pass it on to others.

C. Cardell Willis was my standup comedy mentor. He was terrific just like Gramps. I have helped pass his timeless wisdom down to many.

Now that I'm transitioning into the next phase of my life, I need another mentor to help me get going. Who will it be?

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