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The Master's Power

I recently watched an interview with Simi Liu and Destin Daniel Cretton, the director of Marvel's Shang Chi. The conversation put a lot of things into perspective for me and I had a lot to think about when it relates to Absorbing the Master's Power, gazing into my mentor's mirror and growing into my own power. I have a mentor for Toastmasters and no one other than my teacher. Because I don't have true mentorship, my scales feel unbalanced.

I have a mentor right now who is my writing teacher. She has been in the field of film and television, having experienced writing, producing, directing and acting. Her background in the field, coupled with her military and other personal experiences gives me an example of what life looks like living the life of my dreams. How to absorb her power and gaze into her mirror, right now in a virtual space, all I can do it listen, watch and learn from her while seeing in her the possibility of myself. I don't ask her a lot of the questions I need to, want to, and have to ask because sometimes I can't verbalize everything that needs to be said. I think of myself as a sponge and when I am with her all I can do is be still while she lives what she teaches. She's tough, strict, focused and most of all, she doesn't open her heart to people unless she truly, truly believes in them. At times, I think she believes in me more than I believe in me. But I know that I am a damn (excuse my French) good writer.

Like the coach training the gymnast in the photo, the mentee needs to think like their mentor, understand their process and honor their guidance. When there is a rhythm with them, the power can transform.

In the conversation with Cretton and Liu, I found it interesting that both of them live with a level of anxiety. Destin mentioned, “Stress and anxiety have been my companion since I started making my movies.” That shocked me.

I have within the past two years had the honor of working with several authors who at one time or another experienced anxiety during our work together. It manifested itself in several ways through all of them, but one who hit me the most was a dear friend.

For years when we would work on projects she would use words like, “I’m hot.” I always thought she was joking so I would tell her, “Drink some water.” While on a call with her Launch Team, she said she was hot and another member immediately went into an action plan to help her calm her anxiety. She was having a panic attack on the call and I didn't know!

That’s when I recognized that in certain situations I experience anxiety too.

The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as: "an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure." I experience this when I have to share my writing or explain a log line to somebody if it doesn't meet the standard I set for myself. My standards are probably unrealistic but I would never say that out loud to anyone.

This quote from the book "Mastery" by Robert Greene hit me in my heart, "To reach mastery requires some toughness and a constant connection to reality." I'm too tough on myself and not tough enough to face my mentor and absorb her power. Where is the irony in that?

I feel stretched to the limit of my creativity and my hope keeps snapping me back to reality. This is something I will continue to fight for.

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