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I just finished Andy Janning’s book called Heroes, Villains, and Drunk Old Men: A Love Story for Real Life. I loved it. It’s autobiographical, motivational, and calls upon Andy’s expertise in the HR/training space to provide specific strategies for living a better life.

Fair warning, there’s some Jesus in there. I don’t hate it. His Jesus isn’t oppressing me or telling me what I’m doing wrong with my life, which makes it easier to read. Maybe that’s a strategy to recruit me and Mean Jesus comes later, ha.

Anyway, what I loved most about this book is that it comes from a place of earnestness. It’s easy to write a book (or a blog) for people you love and be the hero of your own story, but it’s harder to write a standalone treatment that serves as a guide for people who don’t know you and need expert advice. Just like Steve Browne’s important book on HR, Andy wrote a book that’s both generous and educational. Some chapters felt like they were written just for me.

At one point, Andy tells his audience that heroes will become villains if they don’t have mentors who help them grow and evolve. I thought about my own HR blogging journey and how so many of my early peers have gone on to accomplish amazing things. While I’ve done some fun and interesting things, I’m a dilettante. I have not excelled in any specific area of my life or exceeded market expectations.

Am I a villain? Could I be a villain? Would that be cool? I would like to liquidate my affairs on the internet and retire to a remote island, which seems very villainous, but the act of being a villain seems like a lot of work.

How do I catch up to my peers and get to that remote island without being a scoundrel? Well, Andy had an eight-point plan and some important questions to ask in his book. I can already see that I need to cultivate better relationships in 2018. Work a little harder in areas of my life with clear ROI. Find a mentor who can stop me from being an HR rascal.

Groundbreaking stuff? Probably not. But, combined with stories of life and love and heartache, Andy has me thinking. That’s why I strongly recommend this book.

3 Responses to You Must Have a Mentor
  1. Martin H Snyder

    At some point, maybe one grows old and wizened to where finding a mentor may not be practical. I was lucky to have a good one for the prime 15 years of my working life (such as it was!). Also; being a dilettante is hardly a negative- it helps make a person more interesting and adaptable. You know how I feel about averageness… Is self-indulgence really a measure of villainy? Sometimes, but that really depends on who depends on you. Will you be happy on that island for long? Probably! PS I don’t share your connotation of the word “tribe” to North American indigenous groups. I’ve always used it in reference to the 12 tribes etc. and especially to the Indians of Cleveland, and most especially to the ’95 Tribe because it rhymes and it was the worst manager world series performance in the history of baseball.

  2. Jim D'Amico

    I remember my high school guidance counselor told me that the best I could hope to achieve was one day being a parolee. She may not have been far off. Having a mentor is the single most consistent and frequent advice I give to people. My success and happiness has far exceeded even my own expectations, and it is because, one, I’ve sought out mentors, and 2. I’ve listened to them. Great post Laurie!

  3. Ita M. Olsen (@ConveyClearly)

    Love all of your articles! Please do try to throw “rascal” in as much as possible. It’s a fantastic word. So how do we get a mentor, Laurie?