Finish this sentence without thinking:
If I had an amazing mentor, I would: ________________________
From my own experience and that of my students and clients, I’ve learned that many of us feel that if we had a great mentor we would:
I had a radical idea about mentorship this past week while on a writing retreat. On one of my walks, I discovered a miniature house (pictured below).
Entering into this tiny person house with the tiny person kitchen instantly ignited Sally Kimball (my childhood alter ego). Sally LOVES grown-up structures and objects in small-people sizes.
All of a sudden, she was back in my life, and we both knew that she had been gone for too long.
Here's what this experience helped me remember:
If I decide to listen, Sally has the answer.
Whether it’s choosing my next project, navigating career obstacles, a tough relationship decision, or figuring out the next step in creative work, Sally (in collaboration with my future self) is actually my most powerful guide.
So my radical idea about mentorship is: what if the little child inside of you is the mentor you’ve been seeking?
A wonderful mentor sees the greatness within you that you may not be seeing, nurtures what’s budding/emerging, says “keep going, you’re on the right track” as much as you need to hear it, reminds you not to worry so much, and sometimes straight up tells you what to do and calls you on your BS.
The little mentor inside of you wants to do all of this, too, but usually we don’t give them the chance.
Instead of asking, how/where do I find the perfect mentor, ask:
How does the little mentor inside of you feel about the adult you have become?
What do they see in you that you are not seeing?
If your little mentor could make one request of you about how you’re showing up for your life and creative work right now, what would it be?
We need both kinds of mentors, but many of us give our power away by deeming outside mentors (or agents or bosses or teachers or other people “powerful” people) the secret to success - and deciding that not having one or a good enough one is why we’re not where we are supposed to be by now, or some other such limiting belief - thus ignoring one of the most valuable resources available to us at any moment.
And we don’t even have to take our little mentors to lunch to "pick their brain."
What’s more, listening to their wisdom will bring you into the alignment you need to find the outside assistance and support that will take you to the next level.
Stop underestimating the power within you, and see if the little mentor inside of you wants to come play.