Second meeting with my mentor, Dan: What are my non-negotiables?

(Wait a second, you haven’t read about my first meeting with my mentor, Dan?  Might want to check it out beforehand.)

7/13/10 – 11:30 am (cloudy with a chance of meatball tacos):

Again, I met Dan at Carino Restaurant & Cantina and again my sophisticated palate was pleased.  Dan brought with him a Gazelle and on it placed my brain.  We began by discussing my mission:

I explained that I saw two components to the program: an aspect of science enrichment and an aspect of character development.  Ideally, I would work with a diversity of people, and these aspects would be reached through learning how to SCUBA dive.

Dan chose an appropriate moment to interject and then posed the following query, “What similar programs are already out there?”

This was not a new question for me, and I began to answer it to the best of my abilities.

Dan chose an appropriate moment to interject and then explained why he asked me the question that he did.  Unlike Truman Capote, however, I do not have 94% recall, so I’ll just summarize the gist for you below:

I have a good idea, but a good idea is enveloped in context.  And in this case, my mission is in the context of:

A.  What is needed.

B.  What is offered.

If I am going to be successful, I need to find my niche.  And I was not going to be able to find this without being aware of what is and what is not presently being offered.

This all made tons of sense to me, and it was great to see some next steps so clearly outlined, but I had to remind Dan of our last meeting and my selfish motives. “If the reason that I’m doing this, though, is to create for myself the perfect job, then shouldn’t I just develop a perfect mission and then figure out how to implement it afterward?”  I asked. “Rather than figuring out what is needed and developing a program to meet that need?”

“Fine,” Dan responds.  “Then if you’re doing this for yourself, you need to know what your needs are.  What are your non-negotiables?  Why don’t you want to just open up a dive shop?  What will make this program the perfect job for you?”

Woah! Hold up, Dan, I need to think.

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