Mentor is a plural
Well O.K. mentor is not a plural – and that’s the problem I have with it.
People say “I need a mentor”
I respond “You don’t need a mentor. You need mentors, one is never enough”.
I aspire to being a copy of many. I also aspire to being a copy of no one.
Mentors are abundant.
Many of mine don’t even know I exist. Seth Godin, Peter Senge, the woman who writes the Tiny Happy blog, Warren Bennis, Jane Kennelly (she does know me), Prime Minister John Key (he doesn’t), Maori Party Leaders Tania Turia and Pita Sharples. My list is almost endless. They are usually easy to find – they may or may not be alive, but they have/had a habit of living and making the most of the life they have/had. I don’t agree with them in total, I don’t need to. That’s healthy
From each I take a tiny piece of their passion, their wisdom, their shared learning, their life experiences, their courage and consciously or unconsciously weave it into my life, what I value, where I want to be and how I wish to achieve it.
I do this because I’ve known for a long time that I had far more to learn and unlearn than the education system could ever teach me. And indeed much of what the education system taught me needs unlearning as well. [pullquote]I’ve known for a long time that I had far more to learn and unlearn than the education system could ever teach me.[/pullquote]As leaders we should both be mentors and mentoree’s. None should put themselves on the pedestal of having all the answers or leading in a way that is ‘my way or the highway’.
Leaders are better than that and so are their followers.
Set a ripple going within people, which will ultimately become a ripple outside the person. A ripple that flows over, around, or through, others and quietly but surely moves them as well.
Don’t encourage clones, encourage mutations.
We all need mentors and we need to encourage others to learn from multiple sources (e.g. the world). All the best lessons in life are free.
- Be patient.
- Be impatient.
Being less than perfect is a great place to be for anyone.
The dynamic optimist might say “the future holds great riches, but first you must make the effort to learn, to unlearn and to share.”