4 Ways A Mentor Encourages You

Are you someone who thinks outside of the box, naturally does things different than the usual way?  Yes?  Ok- here's my bet:

When you do something, some folks get it and some folks don't.  

Glorious as it feels to have your unique creativity received as a good thing, it feels crummy/shitty to have it turned down.  In the life of a creative- there is MUCH more of the latter- it takes a determined mind of steel to carry on and survive/thrive.

You don’t have to go it alone.

What helps is to have a mentor.  Someone who gets you and gets your work (notice how I didn't use the work LIKE).  A quality mentor will re-align you when the going gets rough and tell the truth when you've swayed from your mapped out creative path.  A mentor will influence you, so choose wisely.

#1 Try to find someone who has a life frame you admire.  DO NOT pick a stranger...at least for now.  Find a person you know and who knows you, the chances of them saying yes are far higher than getting a yes from Sheryl Sandberg.  

#2 An ideal mentor creates regularly, in many forms.  They know how to manage their creative work time AND their fun time (life balance).  Your mentor puts herself out there- takes risks with their art and remains consistent.  

#3 Your mentor has a clear, strong sense of self and self confidence.  They carry themselves in such a way that you notice when they walk into a room.  Eye contact, body language, speaking voice…these body signs will help you see if this is the mentor for you.

#4 Look for a mentor who is ahead of you on the career path, but not too far ahead.  Oftentimes we look up instead of looking right and left.  Your ideal mentor is probably sitting next to you at local business meeting- she’s not an attendee, she the organizer.

The ability to successfully encourage self and other is a skill and a blessing.  Not everyone who claims to be a mentor can pull it off.  An encouraging mentor never belittles, passes judgement or lectures you.  They are there only to mindfully encourage.  When you do find your mentor, keep in mind that someday, somehow, you should do the same for someone else.