Mentoring Lessons From #Flappybird

emotions and mentoringOkay, I admit it. I'm not a gamer. No Candy Crush, Words With Friends, or Minecraft for me. So honestly, when all the hoopla surrounding the now infamously deleted Flappy Bird app started flooding newsfeeds this week, I had never even heard of the game. But I am quickly learning that I may be in the minority. The app was so popular that it was once being downloaded 2 to 3 million times per day!

Apparently, according to this WSJ article, the addictiveness of the game is the reason its creator, Dong Nguyen, is using as his reason for deleting the game. Nguyen goes on to say that the social media buzz and comments that people were posting about the game made him "uncomfortable" and that he would rather walk away from the limelight by pulling his game than keep it up and be the cause of an addiction for people. Nguyen has essentially gone into hiding, saying that he "finds it difficult to walk down the street in his neighborhood without being pestered. He said he has virtually disconnected himself from the Internet and hasn't checked his email in days. He is also on vacation from his day job writing firmware for sophisticated computer hardware and said he isn't sure if or when he will return to work."

This article by Time Tech referenced a "noticeable change in Nguyen's tone" on Twitter just days before he deleted the game. A desperate man? Maybe. Though some say this is all a publicity stunt to garner attention before he releases more games. 

So, how does this relate to mentoring?

There will be times when your mentoring sessions center around controlling emotions in a business environment. Usually, these discussions focus on how to handle emotions like failure, anger, and cattiness in the workplace. These are common emotions that people tend to experience at work and, therefore, mentors are typically prepared to help their mentorees navigate through these feelings.

But what about in a situation like the one the Flappy Bird creator appears to be experiencing? What if extreme business success causes an emotional "time out?" What if your mentoree is overwhelmed by the attention and the hoopla of a success at work? Is it possible to prepare him/her for this type of event?

If your mentoree is involved in a big project or presentation that may garner a great deal of attention, this might be a topic to address during your mentoring sessions prior to the big event. You can discuss his/her experiences with large doses of attention in the past, and try to help prepare him/her emotionally for what may be to come. Also, lending an ear may be just what your mentoree needs if emotions start to take over. Sometimes, we just need someone to talk to and vent our emotions to. Once they are out, we can release the burden, move on and enjoy the success!

We wish the same type of emotional relief for Nguyen. 

How about you? Have you ever had an experience with too much attention at work for a successful project or presentation? How did you handle it?

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Image Credit: © Luis Louro |

Topics: Mentors & Mentorees