Today, simplicity resulted in the obvious and the thought of ‘why did I not think of that?’ I am often asked to sit and talk to students and help them carve out a future. I will share stories, ideas and ask questions…anything to be present on their journey. Over the many years, I have mentored students literally in the hundreds. I continue to provide insight but not advice (advice is me telling you what to do rather than collectively working to a solution).
Today, I was asked to be a ‘living book’ to share with a group of students in a conversation circle over dinner. We talked about many things including my journey. There were many tips about building relationships, be a dreamer and a doer, and find a mentor. To find someone that they respect, admire and appreciate to help in their journey. I told the students that while I have mentored in the hundreds, I have never had a mentor. It is not because I don’t believe in it or that I have not found a suitable mentor. It is also not about feeling superior to anyone. I have people that I find comfort in and we talk but it is more about sharing life stories. When I mentioned that I have never had a mentor, one student, Kelly, said that it might be because I self-mentor. Self-mentor? I have never heard of that before but it makes so much sense! It is a simple concept and one that got me to suddenly stop to contemplate. I think that was something of impact because I think Kelly was correct.
There is not a lot on self-mentorship except this and it does apply:
“Self-Mentoring is an achiever willing to take the initiative while accepting responsibility for his/her own development by devoting time to navigate within the culture of his/her environment in order to make the most of opportunity to strengthen competencies needed to enhance job performance and career progression.” Dr. Marsha L. Carr
Perhaps my mentorship is the writing I do and the reflection of my writing. If I had to visually describe how I write, share on the blog and contemplate ideas, picture two people facing each other and surrounded by many people in a circle. The one person is telling the other a story and the other person is listening…and both of these people are me. I am talking and listening to myself. The people circling the two versions of me are the audience who want to hear what is being said. Yes, I think Kelly got it right and taught me something valuable. Self-mentorship is possible and the way that I have been able to help me get to where I needed to go. Now why did I not think of this earlier? Understand that sometimes all it takes is someone to say something but we must appreciate, respect and understand what is being said. Self-mentorship has spoken volumes to me today and it clarifies why I might not have had a mentor before. Lesson learned is that we are never too old to learn something new and that everyone has something to contribute. Onwards to self-mentor myself.
Leave a Reply