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Nicola Fisher


Learn, Break Away, Transcend

    1. Shu Ha Ri

    Learn, break away, transcend. This is written on the wall of my husband’s workshop. It originates from a Japanese philosophy. You start by learning from someone, possibly a mentor or a master. You might be part of a group of students.

    But there are dangers in that. You can stay stuck and not move forward. If you want to progress, at some point you need to break away. Start doing your own thing. Putting into practice what you were taught but also adapting that to your own style. You need to put some distance between you, your mentor and the rest of the group. You need to transcend and stand alone in your skills.

    2. Lived experience

    I realised, somewhat belatedly, that I’d done this. I worked with someone a few years ago. I’d admired them from a distance for a while. Then I joined their community and signed up for mentoring. I thought we had become friends. It worked until suddenly it didn’t. I couldn’t understand it. No more Christmas cards. No more calls. Even though I was still in the community, I’d been jettisoned.

    3. On mute

    I couldn’t fathom what had happened. After a while, for my own sanity, I muted their content. Eventually they drifted out of my consciousness. Still, I occasionally checked in on what they were doing. The last time I had an aha moment. I had broken away!

    4. Teacher's view

    I don’t know what this looks like for a teacher or mentor but perhaps there’s an equal and opposite process. Perhaps they felt it too. Teach, jettison, move on.

    5. Find your own voice

    Maybe we need to break away to stand on our own. To find our feet, our own way, our own voice. You can’t stand still.

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