Mom As Mentor

2012-09-16 18.07.03
May 12 is Mother’s Day and it’s a time to celebrate a woman who nurtured you and helped you become the person you are today. For some, a mother is the person who gave birth to them or raised them from infancy. For others, it is a special lady who came into your life by choice and who shared her love, experience and wisdom with you.
In many ways, a prized mother or mother figure is the first mentor a creative person has. I bet you have memories of her hanging your kindergarten drawings on the refrigerator door or wearing a necklace you made out of pasta and string with her fancy clothes. Your early art would never hang in a gallery and Tiffany wasn’t knocking down your door to design jewelry for them, but you were content with positive feedback from your audience of one.
If you are lucky, you will meet other people who will serve as mentors throughout your life and help you grow as an artist. A good mentor will have many of the qualities that made your mother important to you: a good listener, insightful, supportive, caring and admirable. A mentor will also keep you on your right path by offering constructive criticism when needed. Besides being a dependable source of support, one of the most important benefits of mentor is learning from their experiences in the field. You’ll learn how they overcame personal and professional challenges, and you’ll even see that they, too, stumbled a few times along the way and had moments of self-doubt.  Its never too late to have a mentor in your life.
If you don’t have a mentor in your life, finding one is easier than you think but it does take some planning. Here are some helpful dos and don’ts to help you on your journey:
Do:
 …write down the reasons you want a mentor. Be specific and clear about what you hope to achieve from this relationship.
 ..talk to people you admire but don’t yet know very well. If you meet a potential mentor at an event, ask for his or her card. Follow up with an email saying you are looking for a mentor and ask if he/she is available for a chat. You’ll know right away if you click!
..be open to non-traditional mentoring experiences. Your perfect mentor can live on the opposite coast or even in another country. You and your mentor can stay in touch by phone, email or even Skype.
Don’t:
… be shy! Tell your friends, family and coworkers that you are looking for a mentor. You never know who other people know.
 …get hung up on a mentor’s pedigree. Look for a mentor who has the same qualities you would look for in a role model.  It can be anyone – even a family member!
Do you have a mentor in your life?

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