Every mentor I’ve ever had, had a mentor of their own.
In my early 20s, I got to spend some time around my mentor’s mentor. He was one of the other Managing Partners at the agency I worked at, but didn’t live in Chicago. Every few months, sometimes only twice a year, he would come to town.
He’d swing by the office, run through a series of meetings, and then anyone who wanted to stay late was invited to join him and the other Managing Partners for dinner somewhere down the street.
I always went.
If I had learned as much as I had from my own mentor, “Imagine what I could learn from the guy who teaches him,” I thought to myself.
One evening, we were sitting waiting for our Indian food at a restaurant a few blocks away called Jaipur.
The partners were talking about a client who had spent a ton of money on their launch event, but hadn’t invested very much into their actual product.
“Going to be fireworks,” he said, in his thick Australian accent.
But, listening from across the table, I was confused. I thought fireworks were a good thing. I thought, working in advertising, fireworks and attention was what you wanted.
As if sensing my question, he looked at me and said, “It’s going to be a disaster. Constellations, not fireworks. That’s what you want. Fireworks last for a moment. Constellations last for lifetimes.”
Both make people pay attention, he explained.
But one exponentially outlives the other.
Since then, in everything I do, I started asking myself, “Am I building a constellation? Or just setting off fireworks?”
Said differently: am I burning up resources for instant gratification?
Or am I building my legacy, one star at a time.
This is an Atomic Essay from the Ship 30 for 30 daily writing challenge.