Blogger Round Table: Are Mentors Just A Myth?

You might be reading this post and wondering ‘what the heck is going on here? I thought this was a Live Music blog?’ It is and will always be. But on this Live Fix post were going to take a very important detour.

And our very important detour begins when, a couple weeks ago, I had one of my best and most compelling Twitter moments that involves our friend Obi-Wan.

I was scanning my friend’s tweets like any other day and then all of a sudden I read this tweet that just stopped me dead in my tracks.

This tweet was so honest and true that I couldn’t help but respond. So I did.

The tweet in the photo above came from Holly Hoffman who is a social media community manager, business owner, a very fine blogger and more who lives in Texas.

After I responded to her tweet, another fellow blogger, Steve Errey, did too. So all three of us connected on Twitter and then Holly suggested that we bring this the topic of mentors to a bigger Blogger Round Table in which we post own thoughts on mentors on our own blogs and then share our thoughts by linking back to our post in the comments on Holly’s Blog WorkLoveLife.

So in a nut shell that’s why Live Fix will now detour for the moment from the topic of live music and I will share with you my thoughts on mentors.

If you’ve never been and always wanted a mentor I invite you to join in the discussion and post your comments below.  The topic of mentors has always been a very odd one for me and I have mix feelings about it, which I’ll explain in just moment.

But first I want to tell you this.

In my first comment to Holly after reading her tweet I told her what she said was very deep and I appreciated her honesty.

I also told her that I completely understand how hard it is to let key people — friends or mentors — leave your life and move on.

I especially understood her point that as we grow individually it becomes necessary for us to move on even when our friends and mentors have stopped growing. It’s in those moments in our life that we have to face the truth that we’ve outgrown friends and mentors, and sadly move on even though it’s a good sign for us that we are moving on.

Sure, we might still love those we leave behind, but when it comes to moving on in life, one of the hardest things to do is let friends and mentors go because they’re holding us back.

It seems like such an un-human thing to do, but I can tell you that I’ve been through it before and I’m happy that I did it even though it was hard as hell to do it.

Now, for the rest of my post, explain specifically what mentorship means to me and how it’s changed my life when I was younger and how it’s lack of presence as I’ve gotten older has frustrated me.

When I was ending high school and heading into college I had a spiritual mentor who came into my life as somewhat of an accident. I wasn’t looking for a mentor but when we connected it just seemed right. He was looking for a younger person to challenge and inspire him and I needed someone who could help teach and guide me. The mentorship worked well for a few years then as I grew spiritually and creatively we grew a part and I haven’t had a mentor since. That was when I was about 22 years old.

And since then I’ve continued to grow spiritually and professionally, I’ve gotten married and further discovered and developed my talents and gifts as a writer and creative person.

And, not by choice, I’ve manage to do all that without a mentor.

Sure, there have been people along the way that have help me, but there hasn’t been one person that I can call my “mentor.”  I have always desired a mentor, but no one has ever approached me and no one has just naturally come into my life like my first mentor did.

So over the last ten years (damn, it’s been that long? ) I’ve thought about what type of mentor I would want.  I’m a writer who loves music and books and such, so naturally, I would like to have a  mentor who loves writing as much as I do.

And I would also like to have a mentor who has more experience than I do in my areas of work and pleasure (blogs, social media, music writing, communications, community building, etc ).   But my mentor doesn’t have to fit the picture I have in my mind necessarily or like all the same things I do.  I’m completely open to whatever type of mentor life might bring my way.

And When It Comes To Mentors I’ve Also Thought About:

What is the role of mentor? Do they only guide, instruct and challenge?

Why is it so hard to find a mentor? Why does it seem that there’s always a short supply of mentors? Do most people not see any value in being a mentor?

Why is it such a rare thing for a mentor and mentoree to connect?

Do mentors not know that they are needed?  Do mentorees not know where to look?

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Are You Our Only (Mentor) Hope?

I don’t want to sound like some cheezy after school special public service announcement, but I’ll finish by saying this.

This topic has always made me frustrated because I’ve always wanted someone to mentor me in different areas and different points in my life.

And the whole reason why I was excited to be a part of this Blogger Round Table was because when I saw Holly’s tweet all those “I wish I had a mentor” emotions that I’ve stuffed down came rushing back up to the surface.

Holly’s tweet had struck a chord with me because, I too, have struggled with the truth of friends and mentors coming and going.

But most of my frustration has been in the void NOT being filled ever since I out grew my first mentor.

I’ve also struggled with the fact that I can’t wait around for a mentor to find me or me to find him.

That said, I’m not the kind of person that will sit around and wait for life to happen to me. Even if I screw up and fail, I always prefer to take risks and go into uncharted territory versus sitting back and waiting.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve always wished that I did have a mentor, or at least someone in my life that was a constant presence that could offer wisdom and show me what to do when life presents major challenges and forces me to make decisions that I haven’t made before.

But the older I get, the more I realize that that is not how life is.

The older I get the more I realize that life is not like it is in the movies where there’s a Mickey to every Rocky, a Obie-Wan to every Luke Sky-Walker. Those movie-mentors seem to grow and develop nicely on the silver screen, but those are just fictional mentors in fictional story lines that fall flat in real life.

Sure, those made-up story lines are fun to watch  But they certainly haven’t played out as true in my life and all they seems to do is get my hopes up.

Yes, I do have friends who have mentors and I’m very happy for them. And I wish them all the best. Hopefully mentorship will be something I will experience again soon. Or maybe I’ll be called to be a mentor, who knows?

I’ll I know is that as I write this post, I still don’t have a mentor, but I would welcome any advice on what a mentor really is, or what a person like myself should expect when looking for a mentor.

Again, this topic is an ongoing discussion. And I’m really really really happy that Holly decided to put together this Blogger Round Table which expertly leverages the power of social media to further the discussion on the topic of mentors.

Update 3/3:

Since I posted my thoughts on mentoring I’ve received some great links that I want to pass on to you.

First, is from my friend Tyler who sent me this Inc. article that talks about finding a business mentor.

Then, there’s the Blogger Round Table  Round-up that Holly did.  In her post today she featured the other bloggers who shared there thoughts on mentors.

Update 3/9:

Here’s another link that I came across later in the week. Jessica Smith wasn’t a part of the Blogger Round Table but she shares a helpful story full of tips on mentorship on her Jessica Knows blog.

It’s all great info that’s been helpful to me and will definitely be helpful to anyone looking for tips on how to find a mentor.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Is the idea of mentorship a myth that only comes true in the movies?

Are most people afraid or just too busy to be mentors?

Do most people just see no value in mentorship?

Do you have a great mentor story to share?

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