Teaching the Season Below You

Josh Babcock, January 25th, 2023 | Leadership

Adam Wathan 1 was on a podcast called The Art of Product 2 and he said, “The best teacher is just one step ahead of you”. I had to pause it there to stop and think. So you’re telling me if I’m three months into my marriage and looking to build a strong foundation with my spouse, who should I ask for advice? Yes, it is a married couple that has been together for a few years with the strong marriage you are looking for. They know the playbook.

Choose a Destination and Borrow a Map

Andy Stanley did a message called 5 rules to get you anywhere in life. Rule 3 was “Choose a destination and borrow a map”.

Choose a destination: We are all going to end up somewhere in life. Now we might as well end up somewhere on PURPOSE. Choose your path or others will choose for you. Your intention doesn’t get you anywhere, it’s your direction and discipline. You only get to do your _____ once. First marriage, raising your children, launching a product, and don’t you want to do it right!?

Borrow a map: The word borrow is very intentional here. There is nothing new under the sun so do a little research or start networking. Find out who just went through the season of life that you want to arrive at. This could be from a podcast, book, friend, or someone that you just know of. Then ask them for their map. If it’s in their book or podcast then you get off easy. Otherwise, muster up a well-written email asking them 3 questions. Bonus, if they’re in your area ask them to coffee or dinner too.

Now, don’t actually say can I have your map or can you be my mentor. First, just ask someone a few purposeful questions they already have the answers to. Doing this will increase your chances of them giving you some advice.


The Teeter-Totter Effect

Think of a teeter-totter. You go up, your friend pushes and you go down. On one side you should be the mentor to someone just below your season of life. Then on the other side, you need to be the mentee and get poured into by someone who is in the season above. Once someone has changed your life by pouring into you. Trust me, you will have a soul yearning to pass it on. That’s why being a mentor is just as necessary as being a mentee. You gain a sense of fulfillment by helping others. As my mom always would say, “It’s just the right thing to do”.

The Business Side

Here is the kicker to being a mentor. You start to learn what you are good at and how to teach it well. What excites you? What are you passionate about? What season did you just wrap up? Chances are you either want to or are currently doing something along those lines with your work. Find what you can become the best in the world at then get people to pay you for it. Think of all the books, products, and courses we have taken in our life. The people that are making them are your “mentors” on that particular topic. Now think of a Venn diagram, you must find the perfect middle of a topic you passionately care about but make sure there is a group of people that are passionate about it too.

Vernon Law

Vernon Law states, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.” Find someone that has already taken that test to help you and be willing to help when someone is looking to take the test you already took.