It is no surprise to long-time friends that I am a huge Star Wars fan, Yoda in particular.
It began back in 1977, when I waited in a huge line at the Corte Madera movie theater to see the first film. I was carried away by the music, the special effects (truly groundbreaking at the time for those of us old enough to remember it), the Hero’s Journey storyline and the characters.
I love Yoda because of what he represents: the wise elder, trained in the school of life, actively mentoring the young and impulsive.
I don’t think we have enough Yodas in our lives anymore. The closest I remember is my grandfather Frank Webber, who was a kind and quiet man, filled with values and purpose.
I could always count on Grandpa Frank to be rock solid in times of difficulty or ethical challenge. I miss him very dearly.
In our busy professional and personal lives today, it is easy to feel adrift, or overwhelmed with pressure. An elder mentor can remind us that no challenge lasts forever, and that things get better. They can also remind us that the quickest path is not always the best. And that living a life based on values and ethics (the Light Side of The Force) may not always win friends or fill your bank account immediately, but is critical for the health of the planet in the long run.
I realize not everyone is a Star Wars fan (my best friend of 30 years has yet to see any of the films, and my children are not interested in waiting in line with me when the latest movie releases in December), but hopefully you can relate to the character.
Do you have a Yoda in your network?
While I have many, many smart young mentors in my life, and a truly exceptional peer network, I realize that I have few elder mentors in my life, besides my parents and my mother-in-law. There is something very special about having people in your life who have lived for many, many decades, and can share wisdom and experience.
This is why I keep Yoda in my office, as a reminder that someone is watching me navigate my day, making sure that my choices align with my ethics.
If you do not have an elder mentor in your life, I encourage you to look for one.
Maybe he or she lives in your neighborhood, or frequents your spiritual home, or sits at a cafe you frequent on your way to work. Maybe you are that elder yourself, and can reach out and give counsel to the younger peers around you.
If you do have a Yoda figure in your life, I would love to hear how you developed that relationship.
May the 4th be with you!