Episode 71 – The Value of Mentors (and how to find them)
The December 2016 FX Challenge
For more information on the challenge, and to vote as well as get access to all of the bonuses, and scene files, HDRI, footage and more – CLICK HERE
Episode 71 – The Value of Mentors (and how to find them)
Some of us make the mistake of thinking we can just ‘go it alone’ and not need guidance from others. This episode we break down the importance of mentors, but also how to find them. In addition, going beyond this and starting to target mentors in many parts of our life and career, building a braintrust to help as stay motivated, and give key advice, as well as help us see when we’re [email protected]#’ing up and maybe don’t even know it..
[-[38:34] Mentors are people that can benefit you with where you are in your life or your career. Rather than going at it alone, you can fast track by reaching out to your mentors for advice, whenever you have a question. Mentors can help you along the way.
This Podcast will cover:
- The importance of having many mentors.
- The mindset on having mentors.
- Finding “Your Five”.
- How to acquire different mentors in your life and career.
BUT FIRST: SOME NEWS!
[-37:59] The Challenge: I’ve recently put out some 6k footage, shot on a bridge in Los Angeles, using a Red Epic Dragon camera. Anyone on the inner circle voted on what special effects they wanted to see done with that footage. I personally sorted through thousands of responses and picked out top 10 ideas.
[-36:51] In the month of December, I will be putting together some mega training: 20 hours of going in depth, from start to finish VFX. I want everyone else to come up and vote for the idea. The best idea will be documented. We’ll learn the entire process, start to finish. This challenge will be very interactive!
[-35:45] I will be using the same professional camera Michael Bay used on his feature film 13 Hours, then going out and creating all the visual effects for it, start to finish. If you want to be a part of this, go to the show notes for this Episode 71 (allanmckay.com/71/ or allanmckay.com/challenge) It will be awesome and fast pace; and over Christmas, you’ll have loads of training to get through.
[-[34:29] And of course, I’m will be giving away all the scene files.
HAVE THE RIGHT MINDSET ON MENTORS
[-[34:03] I’ve been wanting to do an episode on this subject for quite a long time. Very early in my career, I never felt like I needed anyone’s help. I raised myself and my career — by myself! I’ve had a lot of success throughout my career, but now I feel that there was so much more I could’ve done, had I had the right support along the way.
[-33:26] At every place I’ve worked, I felt I was the go-to person. (I’m not saying it was so, but I felt that way.) Typically, if anyone had a question, they would come to me. Because of that, I felt that I couldn’t ask questions myself. I, too, wanted to learn and at one point felt a bit disgruntled about it. I felt that I lost out on a lot of opportunities because of my mindset.
[-[32:24] I also had the limited mindset that a mentor was someone who had been doing it for a long time and had all the answers. The apprentice would learn from the mentor. Because of that mindset, it prevented me from seeing the benefits of mentorship. It made me miss out on some mentors who may have been only a couple years older than me. [-[28:42] These days, I’m so happy to ask questions, even if it’s asking a film student. I have no problem expressing that I don’t know everything.
[-31:15] These are bad mindsets to have: That you can only learn from one person and for a long time. “What it comes down to is you can have as many mentors as you want and for as long as you want.” [-[30:36] I’ve recently read two books about Jay-Z (although it feels a bit cheesy to reference them). He’s had a long and successful career and if you speak to anyone in his life, he was always known for having many mentors but abandoning them really fast, constantly switching them up.
[-[29:47] “You look at so many people who are successful (even someone like Mark Zuckerberg), and most of them had someone around to help them.” Now, looking back at my career, I would have sought out more mentors along the way, when I had questions about certain areas in my life.
EXAMINE YOUR OWN FLAWS
[-[28:13] When I was 16 years old, it was my mantra to be the best in the world. Most young people I meet (and I know I’m generalizing), there is some arrogance and not knowing when listen and when to shut up. They’re too busy to one-up everyone at the table. “It’s something that I’ve learned myself: If you listen, you’re going to learn so much. If you’re too busy talking, how are you going to have the opportunity to learn anything at all?”
[-[22:40] At sixteen, I’d been getting so much praise, it got to my head. Having my ego pumped up wasn’t a healthy thing. “I finally had the realization that there was no such thing as the best, but I could take the pressure off and do the best I could do.”
[-26:52] “The more that you’re humble, the more that you’re a sponge for information, why do you need to tell everyone how great you are? Why do you need to talk yourself up? Why not be there and observe and think about what the one question I could ask this person?” “If you want to build relationships, it’s all about asking questions and applying the answers. Asking and applying, asking and applying.” That’s when people will start to want to help you.
[-[25:37] I hope that a lot of people are willing to examine what their flaws are. I know it’s a difficult thing to do to take a look at yourself and see what you need to work on. [-[25:23] When I go to hire someone, I don’t want to talk to someone who thinks they’re the best at everything. First of all, they come off arrogant; but I also don’t know how to place them [within my company]. It makes me think they actually think there is no chink in their armor, in which case you see things in their way — and only in their way. That’s the kind of red flag that’s going to cost you the job.
[-20:08] Just take the pressure off and do the best you can do, and don’t try to outdo anyone. “Just do the best you do can do. And that means making the right decisions that can push you forward, with the end goal being that you’re happy and you’re satisfied with what you do.”
[-19:56] “And that’s where having a mentor can be a very powerful thing, to help you get where you want to go, push you where you need to be pushed, but more importantly to kick your ego down when it’s getting out of hand and you think you’re the shit.” Having someone who can keep you grounded and point out where your flaws are as well, so that if you don’t see them, you can learn to identify them.
FIND “YOUR FIVE”!
[-18:11] Another realization you probably should have is that you don’t need just one mentor, in one life. “There are many different areas of my life that I need to work on. Rather than going at it alone and saying, ‘Okay, great! I’ll read a hundred books on this subject matter,’ I would rather have someone who’s been doing it for 20-30 years and have access to all of their life lessons.” It can be really beneficial.
[-17:19] “Why stop at one mentor? I say, ‘Find Your Five!’” Five chairs under the spotlight: What areas do you need to work on? For instance, I’ve recently hired a physical trainer. His name is Jeff McMahon and he works with successful people who are under high stress, constantly working and don’t have much time. (I’m actually bringing him to a podcast soon.) Jeff is one of “My Five”.
[-[14:51] I want you to think outside the box and find a person to give you access to a lifestyle you wouldn’t typically be familiar with. [-[14:36] Sometimes, that mentor could be at your place of work, someone who’s been giving you advice on how to do things better. You can find someone technical, to help you, lead you, guide you. [-[14:19] Other times, a mentor can help you with things outside the day-to-day grind, to help you with:
- Work / life balance.
- Building a business (to help you build your app, launch your business or studio, etc.).
“YOUR FIVE” — ISN’T FOREVER!
[-13:51] Finding what the holes are in your life or career — is such a critical but such a difficult part. “Your Five” (or any number of people you pick), it isn’t forever. You fix your finances, then move on to real estate, for instance. “You can have access to your mentors’ experience in that area, whether it’s for a few weeks, or for a few years. They can help you step up your game and be the better person for it.” Finding such people has changed my life.
[-[12:14] Rather than going at it alone and wasting time, I can either find people, or I can hire people. “I’d rather hire experts in areas I don’t know much about, to save me time, minimize my risk, get me to where I need to be. There is nothing wrong with that!”
[-[11:35] In mentors, you can have accountability partners. You can call them, say, once a month. You can join master mind or mentorship courses. There are different types of mentorship out there, from career advice to more technical.
[-[09:36] There is also the type of mentor you’ve never met before, but you listen to their podcast, YouTube channel or read their books. [-[09:04] You can have that constant knowledge you get from those people.
HOW TO GET A MENTOR
[-[08:45] Most people who are successful in their career are pretty busy and don’t need to take on more work. [-[08:23] “You want to find a way to approach them and basically train them into becoming your mentor.”
Whenever I meet someone and they ask me an intelligent question, that person sticks out. [-06:40] If I find a person to whom I give a bit of advice and they actually go and apply it, and then come back — that’s the sort of person whom I want to help. They’re appreciating my time and they’re also applying what I’ve told them.
[-[06:07] That is the most organic way of approaching a mentor. Just be genuine with your questions, but do it in a way that’s accessible to them. Be humble and grateful. Send short emails. Long emails are so much harder to get to.
[-[5:35] You can seek out groups of people. You can push each other. “Find the right people and know that may not be forever. Know what you need, go out there and seek it. That way you get the result that you need, and you can either stick with them or move on to the next person. Keep evolving.”
[-[04:04] I have a couple of courses coming up. In one, we’ll be working on head replacements, skin simulations. Really brutal stuff but lots of fun to do! The other one is the final term of LAS (this will be the biggest course I’ve ever done): We’ll be working on a tanker ship driving into the Santa Monica Pier. There will be aerial and people shots, shot on Red Weapon Helium. Half of the effects will be done in Max, half in Houdini. It’s going to be huge!
[-01:49] Of course, the 15-Hour Mega Challenge is also about to start and that’ll take up most of my December. (Find it at: allanmckay.com/challenge) Vote and submit your ideas right now!
[-[1:33] I’ve also just put together a 3-hour Career Intensive Talk in my Mentorship Course. I’m thinking of doing a public Career Intensive as well soon.
“When really what it comes down to is you can have as many mentors as you want and for as long as you want.”
“If you listen, you’re going to learn so much. If you’re too busy talking, how are you going to have the opportunity to learn anything at all.”
“If you want to build relationships, it’s all about asking questions and applying the answers. Asking and applying.”
“And that’s where having a mentor can be a very powerful thing, to help you get where you want to go, push you where you need to be pushed, but more importantly to kick your ego down when it’s getting out of hand and you think you’re the shit.”
“Why stop at one mentor? I say, ‘Find Your Five!’”
“You can have access to your mentors’ experience in that area, whether it’s for a few weeks, or for a few years. They can help you step up your game and be the better person for it.”
“I’d rather hire experts in areas I don’t know much about, to save me time, minimize my risk, get me to where I need to be. There is nothing wrong with that!”
“Find the right people and know that may not be forever. Know what you need, go out there and seek it. That way you get the result that you need, and you can either stick with them or move on to the next person. Keep evolving.”
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