Written by contributor Kat of Inspired to Action.
I have heard from so many of you that wish there was someone to mentor you. I have absolutely been there. A lot.
I grew up not knowing my mom. I had so many questions and so few answers. My life was a succession of looking for mentors; some of them were intentional, most of them weren’t. Almost all of them never even knew they mentored me.
Everywhere I went, I looked for women I admired, women that I wanted to emulate. I asked them questions, copied them, talked like them and tried to act like them.
I was a *really* annoying little kid, but I was determined to figure out who I was and who I was supposed to be.
To compound my problem, I loved sports and, ironically, neither my dad nor my brother did. They played with me as much as they could, but there were many, many days when I went into the field next to our house and threw a football. Then I walked over to where I threw it, picked it up and threw it back. Over and over and over again.
I often played baseball, tennis, football and basketball by myself. I literally practiced for hours with, at best, a wall or a hoop. I watched my favorite athletes and tried to copy what they did. Sports channels weren’t for sitting on the couch and watching but for standing in front of and practicing.
So, not only was I an annoying little kid, I was really weird, too.
But these circumstances taught me three very important lessons.
1. Mentors are everywhere. Find one.
If we can SHIFT our perspective from passively waiting for a mentor, to actively pursuing mentors in any and every life situation, then we will thrive in the knowlege that our transformation isn’t dependent on anyone else.
If we don’t have a mentor, it’s not because they aren’t there. A mentor is simply someone we intentionally learn from. It may be from a biography, and online class, youtube videos or a weekly coffee. You can find mentors at nursing homes and senior centers. They are your friends and family.
I became a good athlete by simply watching others and practicing their successful actions.
This isn’t the time to be shy. If you can have coffee with someone you admire, even if it’s just once, do it. Plan your questions, be intentional about what you want to learn.
If there isn’t anyone you can learn from in person, compile a list of online resources and books that you can intentionally and methodically read AND work through.
2. Choose to start now.
Anyone can decide to start later – in fact MOST people are brilliant at making plans – but only those who choose to start now, however small, get things done.
It’s amazing how highly we think of our future selves. We eat a big piece of cake because we think our future self will head to the gym and work it off. We put off a project because we think our future self will be more inspired.
Our future self is a mirage. The only way to change is to do it right now.
If you want to run a marathon someday, start right now by walking across the house. Seriously. Whatever it is you want to do, do something TODAY to start.
Never despise small beginnings.
Start now. Go.
3. Be Persistent.
“A river flows through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” – Jim Watkins
If a mentor lets you down, find another one. If they can’t do it, find someone else. If there isn’t anyone else, read a book. Call someone. Email a person you admire.
My favorite motherhood author, Sally Clarkson, often challenges us to “own your life.” I love that phrase.
But what does it mean? Own your life…
Essentially, it means the rise and fall of you is dependent only on you. Yes, circumstances may present challenges, but ultimately we must own our lives.
Don’t wait on anyone else to do what needs to be done. If you want to grow, you need to make that happen. And if you hit an obstacle, you’re the only one who can make sure you get around it.
List obstacles that have stopped you in the past. Make a plan to circumvent each one. Start again. Always start again.
Soak Up Life
Do whatever you can to drink from the fountain of wisdom. Sometimes it will be messy. Sometimes it will be a trickle. Sometimes it will rain down hard. But if you look for mentors, start now, and choose persistence, you’ll be in the perfect position to own your life and make it grow.
Now is the time to grow, learn and be women who inspire.
Who have your “unintentional mentors” been in your life? Who can you learn from today?