For some context in the video below, former players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) interview Kobe Bryant (one of the best to ever play professional basketball) to pick his brain on some things they want to know about.
@ 30:43 Stephen Jackson to Kobe Bryant: You got a lot of young players reaching out to you now. Your advice to them? What do you tell em? How did that feel?
Kobe Bryant: Depends what they ask. A lot them will come and ask about their game and things that they should do and things like that ….and I say listen, you know the answer to that…I don’t know. You know what makes you uncomfortable when you play. I think that’s the biggest thing for kids nowadays is that they wanna rely on coaches too much and workout guys…which is fine to have them help you work out, but you have to tell them what you need…right? You gotta be able to say, OK I’m uncomfortable with “this”. And if you don’t know, then you’re not as prepared as you should be…right? You need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are first, and then I can tell you some of the things…the rhythmic things or some of the exercises or some of the repetition you need to be doing on certain things. You’ve got to know your game.
This is in a sports setting, but I think it’s a great concept with any mentorship. Be prepared and do your homework before you go to a mentor. Sometimes you won’t “use” your homework though simply because this preparation or homework was done from your perspective, and when you get coaching or mentorship, they might flip your whole perspective upside down completely. BUT better to be as prepared as you can beforehand right? Especially if you don’t have much time with this mentor.
This also speaks to knowing yourself and being able to be vulnerable in the presence of a mentor. I wonder how many of the athletes who go to Kobe for mentorship know what they’re uncomfortable with on the basketball court, but aren’t open to sharing it. There’s some big growth that can come from sharing your weakness with the right person / people. And other times it might be better to double down on your strengths.