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On mentoring and learning

If I were a better businessman then today I would be posting something related to advertising the Instant-Take Suite (now 7 days away).  But that’s going to be the only link to it in this post.  If you enjoy my content, it means a lot when you make a purchase or share (not just like) it.

So instead of advertising myself, I’m going to put my heart on my sleeve a bit and write about some topics that I feel extremely strongly about.

  • Mentorship/Menteeship
  • You do have something to share
  • You are already doing these roles

On mentoring and being a mentee

This is going to be a bit of a native ad for the audio mentoring project.  I don’t apologize for that.  Go sign up.

Now that I’ve told you to sign up, you’ve likely had 1 of 3 reactions.

There’s the potential that you already have signed up for either role.  In that case, I thank you.  You’re doing your part, and whether you feel it or not that is appreciated by a considerable number of people.

There’s the potential that you’re not planning on signing up, probably for an external reason.  Maybe life’s legitimately busy, or you have prioritized other things.  In this case, I respect that and also ask you just as a courtesy to really evaluate if you can fit in being a mentor or mentee.  I believe you have a lot to offer in either role, and it would be a shame to lose you.

The last reaction is the one I’m most concerned with.  It’s the one I’ve seen and heard the most often.  It’s also the one that makes me the most frustrated, and honestly, sometimes downright angry.

There’s the potential you’re considering signing up, but you’re afraid to.

Maybe you don’t know which role to choose.  Maybe you feel like you’re not quite a mentee, but also don’t know enough to mentor.  Maybe you feel like there’s probably already a lot of other mentees and you’d just be taking up space.  Maybe you feel like if you mentored you’d only give someone bad advice.

Let me be very, very clear about this.

All of those things are excuses, and there is rarely a good excuse not to face your fears.

If I’m going to be brutally honest about this (those who know me well, know I’m really good at that), when you give into those fears – you’re making it all about you, when in fact, it’s all about others.

Let me put in a more polite and uplifting way…

In either role, you have so much to give that if you don’t, it’s depriving people of your wisdom.

Giving in the role of a mentor

First, as a mentor trust that the AMP will put you with someone who you can mentor well.  There’s a high likelihood of that.

Otherwise please realize that even someone who is young and new has something to share with everyone.  Matt Tracy and @ktarrantaudio have discussed this subject with me in the last two days.  Matt had a great point he shared with me – there is literally no information too small to share with the community.  This was reiterated by Katie only a day later.  Let me explain.

Pretend it’s your first day with audio, and you just learned what a DAW is.  Guess what?  There’s someone else who thinks audio is neat, is interested, and has no idea what a DAW is.  You can share with them, which is a small form of mentoring.

Additionally, even if someone’s said something before – the world is missing your voice.  I guarantee you all of the information I’m sharing right now is in other places.  But it’s not in my voice.  Some of you need to read the words I’m writing here to get over your fear and sign up or share elsewhere online.

So trust me – there’s someone, at some level, that is ready to be mentored by you.  They need the information you have (yes, that information you think is little and useless), they also need your voice and your heart.  If you don’t contribute, they’re missing out.

So please go sign up.

On being a mentee

If you know very little, sign up to be a mentee – don’t even think twice about it.

There’s no guarantee that you’ll even get paired with a mentor, so you legitimately have absolutely nothing to lose.  There’s no such thing as too many.

Additionally, I hope you realize that even if you do know some stuff, there’s still no problem in asking for mentorship from someone who is more experienced than you.  I don’t speak for the AMP specifically here – but in general.  Don’t be intimidated to ask for help from people who know more than you.  You’re in fact flattering those who you ask because you’re instantly showing them that you respect them by asking!

So again, please go sign up.

You’re already both

Now time to blow your mind.

If you’re talking to other audio people then you’re already mentoring and being a mentee.

Are you learning?  Hi, you’re a mentee.  Giving someone your opinion (aka advice)?  Oh hi, you’re mentoring.

“But, that’s not formal mentoring/menteeing!  That’s different!”

No, it’s really not.  If you’re thinking it is, then you’re doing it wrong.  As a mentor, you’re going to learn from your mentee.  As a mentee, you’re going to teach your mentor too – and of course vice-versa.  You’re going to talk, and share, and listen, and it’s going to be awesome.  If in the minuscule chance it’s awkward, then at least you’re giving your best and you can stop.

So just to really mess with you – you already do both.  You already are both.  You probably already have been both today.  Plus – you were probably good at it.

So please, for our sake.  The sake of the people who are not you (this includes me).  Share everything you know, ask every question you have, and please get over yourself and being intimidated.

I really appreciate the interactions people had at GDC this week because everyone is currently comfortable sharing that they’re afraid.  Now I want to stab that fear to death because it’s only holding you back.  When it’s holding you back, it’s also holding the rest of us back from you.  Which kills me.

So instead, remember that the game audio community – those who you actually consider peers.  We’re all just teddy bears.  Seriously.

Much love, all of you.

Copyright 2016-2017, Adam T. Croft, all rights reserved.