“With great power comes great responsibility.”
If you’ve watched the movies or read the comics you know this is the familiar saying of Peter Parker’s beloved Uncle Ben. You also know those words played as much a part in transforming him into Spider-Man as did the bite from that radioactive spider.
You see, Peter witnesses a robbery and although he has the power and the opportunity to stop him, he allows the robber to escape. Later, that same criminal murders his dear Uncle Ben. Peter then understands he must use his powers to do all he can to prevent criminals from hurting others and that’s when he truly becomes Spider-Man.
Uncle Ben plays a role within the Spider-Man saga that occurs in many fictional stories—not just comics. Uncle Ben is the Mentor/Guide. One of the functions of this archetype is to teach the Hero/Protagonist how to use their innate abilities.
As art imitates life, this archetype appears in real life too. For me, that person was my mother. Like Uncle Ben, she had a phrase she would always quote to me.
“To whom much is given, much is required.”
This phrase is derived from Luke 12:48 and it’s meaning is eerily similar to Uncle Ben’s favorite mantra. With that phrase, my mother was teaching me to recognize and use my talents and gifts in a responsible way.
Not unlike Peter Parker, I wasn’t overly interested in hearing about “responsibility” in my youth. However, over time, my mother’s words took hold and have done much to shape how I live my life.
The Shape of You
So over the course of your life, one or more Mentors have spoken words to you that had the potential to shape your life. However, not all words take hold. That’s a good thing, because not all words spoken by Mentors are positive or affirming.
Odds are, you were not aware of the words that shaped you early in life. The good news is, as an adult, you can decide which words you allow to influence you.
First off, if you’re happy with your life the way it is, good for you. There’s nothing else you need to do.
But, if you’re like me and you feel some things could be improved, stick with me. I’m going to share some tips on how you can review the messages you’ve received from the Mentors in your life and decide which ones serve you and which ones don’t.
Accentuate The Positive
The first thing to do is to think back to a time that someone said something positive that impacted you. That person can be from your family or not.
Laurie Beth Jones shares the story a man from one of her seminars in her book The Power of Positive Prophecy.
“I grew up in an alcoholic household where I never heard a positive word. On my way home from school I would always stop in at Jimmy’s, the local dry cleaner, because he kept candy on the counter. He got to know me, and told me one afternoon, ‘Michael, you are a very smart boy. Someday you are going to run a very big business.’ I would listen to him in disbelief and return home only to get called a ‘dog’ and knocked around by my dad. But you know,” he said with tears forming in his eyes, “Jimmy the dry cleaner was the only person I can remember believing in me.” He paused a moment to catch his breath and gather the reflection that was forming inside him. “Today I run a multimillion-dollar health care organization, just like Jimmy predicted. I guess you could say that a dry cleaner was the prophet in my life.”
So you see, positive words from a Mentor can be extremely powerful. They can counteract a host of negative words.
Prepare The Soil
But what if you can’t remember any positive words? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. There’s a way to get positive results even from negative words. It all comes down to belief.
Words spoken to you are like seeds and they can only grow if they land in good soil. That soil is belief.
See, that’s another trick my mother taught me. I was a sensitive child and I would run crying to her often because someone hurt my feelings. My mother would simply respond with the same set of questions.
“Are you hurt?”
“Then what is it?”
“So-and-so said I was a such-and-such.”
“Well, is it true?”
By this time I started to wonder whose side she was on. “No! It’s not true!” I would exclaim.
“Well, did it become true because they said it?”
“No.” My protest was a bit softer because I could see where she was going with her line of questioning.
“Then why are you crying?”
At the time, I wanted my mother to indulge my hurt feelings. Just once I wished she would scoop me up, kiss my forehead and say “you poor baby…how dare they say such mean things to you”.
Not. Even. Once.
Being the good Mentor she was, she taught me one of the most important lessons of all. Although she never said it explicitly, she gently guided my attention to this important fact:
“It doesn’t matter what anyone says about you. It only matters whether you believe it is true.”
What people say is out of your control. What you choose to believe is 100% within your control. And it’s never too late to choose.
Burn The Weeds
Maybe you have believed some negative words and have allowed them to take root and grow. You can still choose to stop believing it, uproot it, and chop it up and burn it for fuel—fuel to prove to yourself that what they told you was a lie and you will succeed in spite of it.
When those negative words come to mind, stop and ask yourself “is it true?” Answer yourself “No!” Experience the feeling of protest against these negative words. Finally, express gratitude for the negative words that reminded you to affirm the truth about yourself.
For example, suppose you remember someone telling you “you’re a loser.” Your expression of gratitude would go something like: “thank you for reminding me I’m a winner.” It’s important to express gratitude in a positive way instead of saying something like: “thank you for reminding me I am NOT a loser.” Your subconscious (the place where your beliefs live) doesn’t understand the word “not”. It just hears “thank you for reminding me that I am a loser.” So, be sure to make a positive affirmation.
So that’s how you benefit from the Mentors in your life. Remind yourself of the positive words they have spoken to you and transform the negative words into fuel to succeed in spite of them.
Join A Tribe Of Mentors
Moving forward, pay attention to the company you keep. Be sure to hang around people who can serve as positive Mentors instead of negative.
I encourage you to join my Facebook group The Beast Code Community. It’s a place where you can discover your abilities and talents—your superpowers. It’s also a place where you can find support and encouragement from Mentors and be a Mentor for others.