That's the age-old question, isn't it?
You can substitute 'mentor', or 'coach' or 'instructor' or 'guru' or 'leader' instead of teacher, of course. Those are all somewhat interchangeable, for the most part.
At the risk of being vague, I'm saying that because it totally does depend on a number of factors. But when it comes right down to it, the only factor that really matters is this: What do you WANT?
It's a goal thing.
For example, if your goal is to go scuba diving on your Carribean vacation, then yes, that means, you need a dive instructor who can get you certified.
If you want to be able to perform surgery on someone's knee for a sports injury, you will definitely need a veritable ARMY of teachers and instructors and mentors who can give you the skills and tools you need to be successful and helpful.
If your goal is to compete at an Olympic level for swimming, yes, you will need a coach who will help you reach your physical best.
That part is pretty simple, right? Those are clear goals, and the path forward is pretty obvious.
However, rarely in life are things super clear and direct like that. I mean, they CAN be like that, but we humans are emotional beings who have many different desires, impulses and directions.. Well, we might not actually like that, but it's sort of who we are. We're 'complicated'.
I call the state that most people live in 'The Grey Area', where we are sort of drifting along on the River of Daily Life, doing what comes up each day, handling our business, our relationships, our families as best as we can, and snatching whatever happiness comes along, whenever we can, and enjoying it to the fullest.
I don't say it to be derogatory, because it just is what it is. It's not always the most enjoyable state to exist in, because in the Grey Area, we don't usually have a lot of personal power. It's like we're drifting in the strong swells of a huge river, and it's hard to get around when that current is pulling you down, down, down.
The reason I bring this up in this context is because when we look at the examples of the people above, they are all clear about their goals, and they are clear about their commitment to achieving them. If they embark on those paths, they get clear, they take action, and they move towards their goals.
Clarity and commitment are two things that help you begin to depart from The Grey Area, and those two qualities are essentially 'having a vision'. They are the antidote to living in the ordinary, daily current, getting swept along to wherever the river takes you.
Usually, when a person finds their 'vision', or has a dream, or gets a wild idea, three things start to happen. One is that they start to work to figure out how to bring it alive, and it gets difficult, and they just give up. In those situations, the vision might be an excellent one, but that person might not have the inner strength or experience to make it happen at that particular time. It might be a vision that is just missing too much information, or it could be just a dream that isn't time for it to happen. There are a lot of reasons why they never come to fruition in this path, but the world is littered with visions that never made it to reality. That's just how it is.
For the record, we aren't taught in the modern world to have visions, or taught the skills we need to bring them to life, to nurture them, and grow them. We just don't get those skills naturally in our everyday lives. Why, you ask? The Grey Area. The Big Strong River. Enough said.
The second thing that also usually happens is that the person doesn't really give up on the vision, but they never really COMMIT to making it happen, so it sort of just goes in the back of the boat, and gets very little energy, love, time or effort. By the time all the other things are given their daily due, there is just nothing left. The 'vision' is slowly starved, but kept alive through the 'Someday' philosophy.
I have plenty of those visions, believe me. That's why I don't like anyone to go into my basement! It's filled with old projects that just need a few afternoons, or some TLC, or whatever, but never see the light of day because I have a LOT of IDEAS!
The Someday Philosophy, or Purgatory, is a tough one. Most of us just get damn busy, and we have a lot of things going on, and they never really happen. It's like a bow stave that never gets carved into a bow, or a book that never gets fully written, (ouch!) or that trip you want to go on that never actually happens. It's an energy thing, and it's also a choice thing. It's like Visionary Suspended Animation.
The third option is the rocky road called manifestation. This is where you just start making it happen, as best as you can, and you walk your vision, in whatever way you can, and do what you have to do to bring it to life. It's not easy, usually, and it tests you, how bad do you want it? sort of tests, and makes you see all of your weak spots, and work hard to shore them up, to get skills and figure things out and make it happen.
When you have a vision like that, and you're on that Manifestation Trail, you get clear really fast. You have to, basically, because you can't be on the fence when you're trying to make things happen.
It takes a certain kind of person to seek a vision, to look inside, and find an inner calling. It takes a certain kind of person to make a decision to take a risk and start taking action, too.
I can say this with a lot of certainty, because I see a ton of people every year at Hawk Circle, who come in with certain goals:
"I want to make a shelter and sleep in it!"
"I want to make a long term bow and arrows!"
"I want to tan some deer hides!"
I hear it all the time. Usually, within a week or two, you can see people's 'vision' fall into one of those three categories. After a while, I can usually make very accurate predictions as to who will succeed and who won't, on their own. Sometimes, I can mentor or coach them through it, and get that vision to be manifested. Sometimes, I just don't have the time. It's tough.
I can say with absolute certainty, that for all three visionary pathways, having a teacher, mentor or coach is critical to getting it done, accomplished, and how easily it is done, too.
There's an accountability factor that is huge when you have a mentor.
There's a strategy/problem-solving factor that is awesome when you have a teacher.
There's an inspiration/mindset factor that is critical when you have a coach.
So, to wrap this blog post up before it gets any longer, my answer to the original question is: YES.
You DO need a teacher, or a coach, or an instructor, if you're serious, if you're trying to accomplish something, and if you have a vision or a mission you are trying to manifest.
It's not even close to 'maybe'. You definitely need somebody who can help you figure it out, and save you a ton of time, frustration, resources and much more.
This just happened last night, so I will share it with you as it illustrates my points pretty spot on:
I posted our 2016 Timberframing Apprenticeship poster in a bunch of Facebook Groups last night, to let people know there was one spot left for our spring semester. It got around pretty quick, and I think the post was seen by about 4,400 people, and I got a bunch of comments on the program by people who had looked into it.
The first group basically said, 'Wow, it looks great, wish I was younger so I could go!" They clearly supported the program idea, but just knew it was dream that was past their window of opportunity.
A bunch of people shared it or tagged a younger person in the comment, to help them be aware of it as an opportunity they might be interested in checking out.
The second group started in with their comments. "Wish I could go! Why is it so expensive?" They also said things like 'Can I just come for a few weeks?' or "Maybe next year!" or argued about how it should be free if people are working on frames that might be sold or used at our place.
I made some suggestions to those who said they didn't have the money, and asked them how badly they wanted to go? I posted a bunch of different ways you can raise money quickly if you were seriously wanting to go, like, asking a relative to sponsor you in return for building a garage or cabin upon completion of the program. I talked about the benefits of learning these really useful skills that last a lifetime, in building, carpentry, roofing and general handyman kinds of stuff. It literally can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime, and open doors to great, great opportunities.
Not one person asked for a scholarship. No one asked if they could do partial work trade. No one approached us with any sort of creative problem solving solution that might make it happen for them.
For so many people, things are remarkably black and white. "I don't have the money = I can't do it" is the equation.
But for creative people, for visionary people, they find a way to make it happen. You probably know a few people like that in your life, who just get an idea, figure out a way to make it happen, and next thing you know, they are in Iceland, or Mexico, or doing some cool thing, getting hired by their dream company working on a wicked awesome project.
For those people, they aren't caught in the current of the River. They aren't living in the Grey Area. They find a way to make things happen and get to the next level.
They aren't super human, either. They just had someone teach them or coach them, or mentor them, one way or the other, and learned how to figure it out. They learned the mental aspects of living with vision, and manifesting and freedom.
It's pretty cool, seeing someone with that kind of life skill. On the flip side, it's depressing seeing someone with the same potential, living in the Grey Area, seemingly powerless to navigate and get some altitude.....
Find a coach, teacher or mentor, people. Find your vision, your passion, your quest of the year, whatever, and then find that person who can help you get where you want to go.
It might make things easier than you ever thought it might be, too!