Many people cannot answer the question below. Can you?
Do you have a mentor?
If you can answer this question, great. If you can’t… 2014 is the year to address this.
What if I asked you… Who was your first mentor?
I’ll bet you could think of someone right away. Perhaps a teacher, scout leader, family friend or even a parent. Close your eyes and think back for a moment about that first mentor. What was it that made them such a great mentor? Often times it is because they saw something in you that you couldn’t see yourself. They see and want you to understand your strengths. They help you build your confidence.
Do you have a Inspiritor?
The answer to this question is that you probably have dozens. Some more influential than others.
The need for both
Mentors and Inspiritors are all around us. Sometimes we notice them and engage them. Other times they influence us and collectively we move on without recognizing their contributions. Of course, there are times when we seek them out and we notice how they have changed us.
What’s the difference between a mentor and an inspiritor?
Let’s start with the definitions:
- Mentor – An experienced and trusted adviser.
- Inspiritor – One who inspires or motivates others.
The main difference to me is one of proximity. A mentor interacts and works WITH you. Whereas an inspiritor may be someone that you do not personally know. In fact, they may not even be alive. So, an inspiritor works ON you.
In what ways are mentors and inspiritors the same? They both inspire and motivate you to do something that you may not have thought possible.
Putting them into action
- Who are your Inspiritors? There are people that have inspired thousands and those that have inspired just a few. There is no wrong answer. Your inspiration can come from any one, any where and at any time. Listen for it. Listen to it.
- What Inspires you? There are many facets to this question. Again, perhaps there is no wrong answer. Allowing your imagination to run free is the purpose of inspiration. Allowing your mind to make connections and free associate while envisioning new ideas, new constructs and new ways to make the seemingly impossible possible.
- Sure, there is the ever present logic of do no harm. But there have been some very imaginative things brought fore when they knew harm was imminent. Not that this is right, but it seemed to be the right thing at the time.
- What if you had a mentor to make your inspiration a reality?
- Note: This is not a post about how to find & engage a mentor or how to keep a mentor. Nance Rosen and Monica O’Brien have already written excellent posts about these topics.
- Mentors can help you in many ways. You want one. At least one.
- If you don’t have one today… make a New Year’s Resolution to identify and engage at least one in 2014
What can a mentor do for you?
- Simply put… A Lot.
- They help you understand your strengths and value. They can help you refine your expectations and contributions.
- They can provide guidelines and offer Sanity Checks on your ideas.
- They can also provide introductions to help you move forward.
- Caveat: There is also a need for the reciprocal of this question. It’s a quid pro quo relationship.
What can an Inspiritor do for you?
- As the word implies… they can inspire.
- They can help you see things you may never have seen or thought about before.
- Like Red Bull advertisements… They can give you wings.
Will You Be Ready?
Next time you are asked… Do you have a mentor? I hope you either already have one or are well on your way to having (at least) one.
Your Inspiritors will continue to come to you in many forms. Listen for them. Listen to them.
Bonus Points Option: Become a mentor.
If you are not already a mentor consider making your skills and expertise available to others so that they can learn from you. I can make a prediction for you… you will learn at least as much as you teach. I know this is the case for me every time I have been fortunate enough to be a mentor.