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The Anti-Guru Movement

By February 16, 2024March 29th, 2024No Comments

Hi All!

Here is my weekly letter discussing mental models, performance, business and entrepreneurship.

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What’s in today’s newsletter?

  • Teaching solidifies your own learning. There’s deep understanding gained when you have to organize and simplify your knowledge to explain it to others. It highlights gaps in your knowledge and provides the chance to see things from fresh perspectives.
  • Being a mentor isn’t about perfection. You don’t need to be a supreme expert. Mentorship is about offering support and guidance to another person. Sharing your mistakes, doubts, and learnings along the way fosters better connection and a stronger foundation for collaboration.
  • Helping others helps yourself. Being a mentor creates a positive energy exchange. You’ll likely discover untapped personal insights and motivation for your own progress. This can lead to unexpected opportunities and valuable connections.

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Mentors? Pfft. You want real growth? Go BE the mentor.

Hey there. Scott here. Today, let’s rip apart some lazy clichés about success (one of my favorite things to do).

You know the drill: “Find a mentor.” “Surround yourself with the right people.” Blah, blah, blah.

There’s this whole industry built on pimping out “gurus” promising secret keys to the magic kingdom. You’ll pay some six-figure mastermind fee to sip bad coffee while some pay to speak “thought leader” on stage feeds you recycled platitudes.

Here’s the newsflash nobody wants to tell you: The fastest way to master something is to TEACH it.

You think mentors got to where they are by sitting on their butts waiting for handouts? Hell no. They learned in the trenches, by DOING. They made mistakes, learned from them, and figured out how to do it better next time. Real wisdom isn’t downloaded – it’s forged in the fire.

Teach it to keep it

Let’s talk about brain science for a second. There’s this thing called the “protégé effect”. Turns out, when you EXPECT to teach something, you learn it on a deeper level. Why? Because it forces you to organize your thoughts, spot holes in your understanding, and break things down in a way that makes sense to someone else.

You think those business influencers got all their knowledge overnight? Nope. They started out fumbling their way through, probably screwing things up just as much as the rest of us. But somewhere along the way, someone asked them a question, or they started explaining their process, started explaining all the things they figured out by doing…and BOOM. Lightbulb moment.

Think about it – have you ever truly understood a concept until you had to explain it to a total newbie? Suddenly, all that fuzzy thinking goes out the window. You have to crystallize that stuff. That’s where the magic happens.

The ultimate hack: Don’t seek, BE

You want a mentor? Flip the script and become one. Find someone a few steps behind you on the path. Offer to help them out. You don’t need to be the ultimate expert – just further along than they are.

Here’s the crazy thing: in the process of mentoring, YOU’LL level up faster than you could have imagined. Suddenly, you’re revisiting stuff you thought you knew, only to see it with a whole new perspective. Your mentee asks questions you never thought of, forcing you back to fundamentals. Boom, lightbulb moments all over again.

This isn’t about charity. It’s pure, calculated selfishness (while simultaneously helping out someone else).

“But Scott, I have nothing to teach!”

This is the #1 excuse I hear every time. I call BS. Every single one of you has something valuable to share. The trick is, it might not be what you think.

Maybe you just:

  • Figured out this crazy productivity hack for squeezing an extra hour into your day
  • Took your dog through basic training without losing your mind
  • Mastered a killer 20-minute bodyweight workout
  • Found a budgeting app that finally stopped you from blowing all your cash every weekend

Think that stuff’s too basic? Wrong. For someone struggling with those things, your ‘basic’ skill is worth its weight in gold. Your secret is the starting point someone else is craving.

What makes you valuable as a mentor isn’t just knowledge, it’s relatability. When a ‘guru’ is on some pedestal, that creates distance. People are afraid to ask the “dumb” questions. You, however, were just in those beginner shoes. You remember the suck, the confusion, the “why the hell can’t I get this” vibes. That makes you approachable.

The Overflow Effect

Here’s the part no one tells you about ‘pouring into others’: it creates this crazy energy loop that comes back to you tenfold.

Think about it like this: Every time you invest in helping someone else, you:

  • Solidify your own understanding
  • Build confidence like a damn muscle
  • Gain clarity about your own path
  • Open doors to unexpected opportunities
  • Form valuable connections with people motivated to grow

Remember the old rule, “Give without expectation of return”? Guess what – the universe isn’t stupid. Your generosity creates this abundance mindset shift. New insights start rolling in. You notice solutions to problems you were stuck on. That side project you had on the back burner suddenly starts picking up steam.

Call it karma, call it energetics, whatever. Helping others unlocks something that directly fuels your own success.

From Talk to Action

Enough philosophizing. You’re a doer, right? Okay then, here’s your homework. This is how you (start) to be a mentor, build a mentoring loop, and start helping others, while simultaneously, helping yourself.

  1. Niche Down: Don’t try to be all things to all people. What specific skillset or knowledge have you been geeking out over lately? That’s your jam. Don’t overthink it – just pick something you genuinely enjoy talking about and feel you can provide a little guidance on.
  2. Low-stakes offers: We’re not going straight for paid mentoring here. Start small. Could you offer:
    • A 30-minute Q&A session in a relevant Facebook group?
    • A mini-training video on a single, super-specific topic?
    • A one-page PDF cheat sheet that breaks down a complex process?
    • Zoom Office hours every Friday afternoon? Pull people in from LinkedIn.
  3. Put it out there: Social media, baby. Tell your network you’re open to helping a handful of folks with [your niche topic]. Let your enthusiasm for the subject shine through – that’s how you attract like-minded people. Don’t worry about looking fancy. People connect with real.

Overcoming your inner critic

Guess what? Your brain’s gonna freak out. Imposter syndrome will throw up roadblocks. You’ll hear whispers like:

  • “Who the hell am I to teach this?”
  • “Everyone else knows this stuff already.”
  • “What if I give bad advice and look like an idiot?”

Here’s how you fight back:

  • “Who am I to teach this?” Flip it: I’m the perfect person to teach this because I just figured it out myself. That fresh perspective is gold.
  • “Everyone else knows this stuff.” Nope. They don’t. That’s your ego talking. Everyone starts somewhere. Don’t underestimate the value of “beginner’s mind”.
  • “Bad advice = idiot” Dude, relax. No one expects perfection. Focus on being helpful, sincere, and open to learning alongside your mentees. That humility builds trust like nothing else.

This is YOUR learning lab

The beauty of starting small is it takes pressure off. This isn’t some permanent contract you’re locked into. You’re dipping your toes, testing the waters, and evolving right along with the folks you’re helping.

Don’t worry about having all the answers right this second. Be transparent about your journey. People love rooting for the underdog. Your scrappiness and genuine desire to help are your winning qualities.

Now you’re wondering, ok – I’ll do it… but I’ve never done this before.

No problem, here’s how to start.

First Interactions: Set the Stage

Your goal isn’t to be some all-knowing sage. No, you’re the supportive guide on the side – here to provide helpful signposts and cheer your mentees on. With that in mind, here’s how to kick things off on the right foot:

  1. Ask Powerful Questions – Ditch the generic “What do you need help with?” That’s too damn open-ended, especially for newbies who likely don’t know where to start. Instead, dive into the specifics:
    • “What’s your biggest pain point with [your niche] right now?”
    • “What’s one small win you’d love to achieve by the end of this week?”
    • “What part of this process feels the most overwhelming/confusing?”

These force focus and get them thinking strategically rather than flailing around in overwhelm.

  1. Focus on Actions, Not Outcomes – Beginners get obsessed with end results. They want to hit some arbitrary number or get that dream outcome NOW. Your job is to bring them back to Earth:
    • Instead of: “How do I make $10k a month?” ask “What’s one concrete thing you can do today to move closer to that goal?”

This creates manageable momentum and prevents paralysis. Progress is your real measure.

  1. Challenge Excuses – Let’s get real: a lot of people are addicted to the struggle. Watch out for red flags like, “I don’t have time,” “This won’t work for me,” and “I’ve tried all that before.” Your job is to call gentle BS. Don’t be mean, but be firm:
    • “If you found just 15 minutes a day, what could you chip away at?”
    • “Great! What makes your situation different?”
    • “That might be true, what else could you try instead?”

Don’t let them off the hook with their self-limiting story. You’re here to crack open possibility, not coddle comfort zones.

Beware of Scope Creep

Early on, set clear boundaries. Are you offering a one-time Q&A? Ongoing email support? Be specific about what’s included and what’s not. Your time is valuable. Generosity doesn’t mean martyrdom.

Also, beware of those who confuse freebie mentoring with therapy. Your job isn’t to fix their entire life. Keep steering things back to specific action within your area of expertise.

Celebrate every damn win

This is HUGE. Most folks spend an unhealthy amount of time fixating on what they haven’t accomplished. Flip the script. When they share even the smallest victory, go BIG – shout their praises, share their wins, give ’em virtual high fives. This wires their brain for success more than anything else you could do.

You Are the Ultimate Beneficiary

It sounds counterintuitive, right? Shouldn’t your focus be on giving value? That’s part of it, but here’s where the secret kicks in – mentoring unlocks hidden growth avenues for YOU in ways you don’t expect.

  1. Feedback Loop from Hell: Your mentees won’t hold back. They’ll tell you which explanations landed brilliantly, and which instructions left them scratching their heads. This kind of direct critique is pure gold for honing your communication skills and pinpointing gaps in your understanding.
  2. Forced Innovation: Remember those “dumb” questions that used to plague you? They make you a better innovator. Every time you’re stumped by a newbie’s inquiry, you must flex your creative problem-solving muscles to find new ways to explain complex concepts.
  3. Accountability on Tap: Turns out, having someone count on you is damn motivating. When you promise a mentee you’ll tackle a certain topic or show them how to do something, welp, now you gotta walk the walk. No hiding behind lazy procrastination anymore.
  4. Unexpected Opportunities: The universe works in mysterious ways. When you throw out generous energy, those ripples come back multiplied. Maybe a mentee connects you with someone who solves a key problem for your business. Maybe that blog post you cranked out to explain a topic suddenly leads to paid collaboration offers.
  5. Leveling-Up by Association: This is pure social dynamics. By actively being the leader, the teacher, and the one with (even a little) more experience, you naturally step into a different social role. People begin to look at you differently. Their belief in you fuels belief in yourself.

Don’t Just Mentor, Find Your OWN Mentors

Now, here’s the twist: even as you become a rockstar mentor to others, don’t think you’ve outgrown being mentored yourself. Always seek out people a few rungs further up the ladder than you. The game never really ends.

Look for people who:

  • Embody the results you want to create
  • Share your values and energy
  • Have different skillsets or areas of expertise than your own

It’s tempting to only get involved with the most famous, “successful” folks. Sometimes, the greatest mentoring relationships blossom with someone not that far ahead of you – they still remember the challenges vividly.

A Call to Arms

Listen, I won’t sugarcoat this. Stepping into the mentor role ain’t always easy. It requires commitment, vulnerability, and the willingness to confront your own BS alongside those you help.

But you know what’s harder? Staying stuck in the eternal student loop. Spinning your wheels, forever waiting for that perfect course, magic guru, or secret roadmap to fall from the sky.

Here’s the truth: the knowledge you need is already inside you. All that’s needed is unlocking it. By sharing your journey, embracing the messiness of learning, and pouring into others, you create this unstoppable flow that benefits everyone involved.

The world is starving for real. People are sick of the overpolished, “I’ve got it all figured out” BS. What they crave is someone willing to admit they don’t have all the answers and figure things out alongside them.

That’s where you come in. Your imperfections are your biggest assets. Your willingness to show up, share your wins and losses, and lift others up as you rise – that’s what makes a true difference.

So, my challenge to you is simple:

  • Pick THAT ONE THING you’re most excited about right now and start talking about it.
  • Find those one or two people who could use your support, and offer a helping hand.
  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Mess up. Admit what you don’t know. Learn out loud.

This is what creates that overflow effect. This is how you tap into something you haven’t even fully glimpsed yet.

The Anti-Guru Movement

This isn’t just about self-growth. It’s bigger than that. It’s about flipping the script on the entire model of success. Imagine a world where knowledge flows freely, where collaboration wins over competition, and where anyone with drive and curiosity can find the support they need to rise.

We’re the ones who have to create that world. We’re the anti-gurus, the knowledge rebels, the ones who pave the way for something bolder, better, and far more sustainable.

So go forth, my friends. Teach. Share. Connect. Lift as you climb. The best form of knowledge seeking is knowledge creation – so unleash that inner wisdom you don’t even realize have and watch the magic unfold.

That’s a wrap folks! I hope this ignites some fires. I’d love to hear what you think.

Have a great weekend!

Scott


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