Mentor Like Yoda

March 19, 2014 — 32 Comments
Mentor Like Yoda | Joseph Lalonde

Yoda is a lovable but tough teacher in the Star Wars universe. He took a young farm boy and helped him become a great Jedi.

We seen Yoda guide and mold the remarkable Luke Skywalker into someone who could take on the formidable Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader (the later he learns was really his father, GASP!).

You can be a Yoda to someone today

Image by JD Hancock

A recent blog post by Scott Cochrane inspired these. He said it’s a myth that your leadership mentor is Yoda.

Within the post, he gave great reasons on why he is not like Yoda. Especially the idea your leadership mentor will be all knowing (which they never will be).

I think I have to challenge this notion. Your leadership mentor can be like Yoda. In fact, I think YOU should be like Yoda.

If you want to be like Yoda, I think you can follow his lead by:

Encouraging your mentoree to push beyond his perceived limits: In Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke Skywalker is given the task of raising his crashed X-Wing fighter out of the swamp on the planet of Dagobah.

After putting forth a weak effort, he believes it’s impossible to use the Force to raise the X-Wing fighter. He gives up. Yoda has to show Luke Skywalker how it’s done.

Eventually the feats he sees Yoda perform sticks with him. He finally realizes he has the ability to be a Jedi master.

Help your mentoree to realize he can go beyond his perceived limits. He has abilities that are untapped and powerful. Help him discover them.

Giving wise words: One of the reasons I loved Yoda in Star Wars was because he was a Jim Henson puppet. Wait, that’s not it, though it’s a cool fact. The real reason was because of the wise words he used with young Skywalker. He also knew to keep it brief.

Here’s a sampling of the wise sayings of Yoda-

Always pass on what you have learned.

Luke: I can’t believe it.
Yoda: That is why you fail.

If you end your training now — if you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did — you will become an agent of evil.

You must unlearn what you have learned.

Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view. – Tweet this

Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.

Do or do not. There is no try.

Size matters not.

Named must your fear be before banish it you can.

Decide you must, how to serve them best. – Tweet this

Control, control, you must learn control!

Wow! Can you see the leadership wisdom contained within the Yoda quotes? Each and every piece of wisdom Yoda gave to Luke was short, sweet, and to the point.

Teach others with your words

Image via East Mountain

What kind of words are you speaking to your mentoree? Be more like Yoda and give him leadership wisdom he can chew on.

Pushing past your fears: Yoda talked a lot about fears and how you must not let them control your life. You must be the master of your emotions.

When mentoring your mentoree, don’t let fear hold you back. Take on the tough tasks. Answer the tough questions. Keep pushing forward.

Your mentoree will see you pushing past your fears and realize that he, too, can overcome the fears in his life.

See, you can be a Yoda to someone in your life. All you need to do is encourage your mentoree, sharing your wisdom, and knocking your fears out.

Sure, it may not be easy but it’s something you can do.

Now go! Get out there and be a Yoda to someone today.

Question: Who are you a Yoda to? How did you find this person? Please share your answers in the comment section below.

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  • http://www.stephenpbrown.com/ Stephen P Brown

    Brilliant!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Stephen! Glad you enjoyed the post. Are you being a Yoda to someone in your life?

      • http://www.stephenpbrown.com/ Stephen P Brown

        I am – and it’s so much more fun when it’s just one person (in El Salvador). I’ve been a Yoda-type to many folk in the US and UK over many years (ever since I was in college, if that’s possible!). It’s something I’d like to get back into more formally, and possibly even paid for :)

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          Sweet. I hope you’ll be able to get back into it more formally, as you wish. Your knowledge can be of great help to those out there.

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    To many, like Yoda I am. Through my blog and coaching.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Woot woot! That’s awesome Matt. I know you’re impacting the lives of many!

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Your doing a great job @Matt_McWilliams:disqus

      • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

        Thank you Dan!

  • lill gentry

    Great perspective. Wisdom Yoda really has.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Lill. I think we all have some of that Yoda wisdom in us. Who are you spreading it to?

      • lill gentry

        An audience of 2. My son and daughter. And sometimes they actually listen. Most of the time they later realize they should have listened.

  • http://www.mattham.com/ Matt Ham

    Joe – love the Yoda analogy! I’ve done a few Star Wars analogies myself – lot of wisdom within those films.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Looks like you’re becoming a Yoda to someone Matt. That’s awesome.

  • http://www.jonstallings.com/ Jon Stallings

    As a Pastor I am constantly helping people see beyond their current perceptions to learn what the are truly cable of. Sometimes we have to put them in the swamp so they can push beyond their safety zone.

    I love the scene where Luke is learning the light saber and Obi Wan has him pull down the blast shield obscuring Luke’s vision. Our current circumstances and perceptions tells us the lie of “I can’t”

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s a great scene from the movies Jon. To me, that scene represents that there’s something deep down inside of us that we can trust rather than relying solely on what we see.

  • http://pioneeroutfitters.com/AlaskaChickBlog/ Amber-Lee Dibble

    The force is with us, but we have to understand that, know that and grasp it with all we are, Joe. Yoda is (and always has been) one of my all time favorite heros, teachers, mentors and bright lights, not even to mention the star of my all time favorite movies! Your collection of quotes that you chose from Yoda are outstanding. Many of them, are touchstones to absolutely everything I live by and pass on to my own Trainees.

    Self understanding and self control are the basis of anything we intend to do well and anything we hope to build. Understanding the purpose of fear and being honest enough to look at it straight on and then continuing on, are the only ways we ever grow and move past who we are in this minute.

    And really? There is ALWAYS a way. Do what needs to be done. It really is up to YOU. Thanks fro this, Joe- I am all ready to rock the rest of the week now!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Woot! Glad this post inspired you Amber. You go out there and rock your leadership.

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    I’m a yoda to my team.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Great Jon! I bet your team is seeing great strides because of your mentoring.

    • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

      Nice!

  • Scott Cochrane

    Hey Joseph, I’m honored that you would take a thought from my earlier blog post- even if you took it in a different direction! Great thoughts you’ve presented, although I still don’t go along with the Yoda approach to mentoring! :)

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Awesome Scott. Your post was great, I just seen a different side of Yoda. Different strokes for different folks, huh?

  • http://www.SteveWPate.com/ Steve Pate

    When I read this, I think of @Matt_McWilliams:disqus blogpost on the four most important words you can say, “i believe in you!”

    to your question, I have the privilege to lead my assistant, my summer staff, but more importantly, my family.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s pretty much what Yoda said by his actions and words, isn’t it? Great catch!

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    Great post Joe! Leaders should mentor those who follow them. It allows the team to be encouraged and sharpened. It also builds leaders.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Exactly my friend!

  • Jeff

    I stumbled on my mentoree on a discussion forum. It was really weird, because we talk on the same basic wavelengths. Also, it’s perfect, because he’s going through experiences that I have gone through both long ago and currently.

    “Your mentoree will see you pushing past your fears and realize that he, too, can overcome the fears in his life.”

    – That’s what’s crazy! I’ve been pushing past fears of providing insights to my mentoree. I’m also pushing through fears that both of us are going through.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s awesome Jeff. Sounds like you’ve found a great mentor.

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  • Steve

    Hi Joseph – your insight is inspired. Great work! One of the reasons that Yoda was a great mentor too, is that he looked like a hick from nowhere when first introduced – and Yoda did nothing to put on airs or suggest, “I know more than you think” to Luke. Could this be guidance advice for the rest of us padawans – the mentor may not wear a badge of greatness when you meet him or her?

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Steve, I like your thinking. Mentors can be unassuming and plain when you meet them. Only once you dig a bit deeper will their awesomeness be apparent.

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