Erin Lausten

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Ok Class, today we’re going to write an essay

Posted by erinlausten on July 7, 2011

Do you remember those High School essays where you had to write about a person that inspired you? I think everyone had to write at least one of those. Inevitably I imagine teachers were inundated with essays on parents, other family members, and the occasional teacher. Perhaps the occasional essay on Britney Spears would make its way in there (we can all cringe at the thought) but let’s be honest the sphere of influence on a High School kid is still pretty small.

But the exercise is a good one, even if we do groan at the thought of having to write another one of “Those” kinds of essays. It got us thinking about how others impact us and perhaps realize that we are influenced by everything that surrounds us. Of course, it could backfire to the point where people blame everyone else for their actions and behavior, which is why I am all for instituting the essay on How You Influence Others, but that’s a different story.

I bring this up because my last post garnered quite a bit of chatter (for my blog, it was unprecedented activity, hooray!) all because Norma Beishir has influenced and inspired a number of you out there. I have a feeling Norma may not have been aware of just how influential she has been in the lives of others, but that is a good thing. Finding an unintentional personal mentor is nice because you realize they are doing it naturally and in general authentically.

Finding a mentor can be the best thing to ever happen to you.

Now, I’m not talking about the faceless distant mentors that don’t know you exist because they are standing up in front of thousands providing knowledge and experience in workshops, classes, even blogs and books. Not to say these people aren’t good, authentic and genuine in their efforts and intent. Just that the personal piece is missing.

What piece do you miss if it isn’t personal you ask? I am so glad you did.  When you learn from a distant (non-personal, I’m not talking physical distance here) mentor you have to do extreme self-evaluation. This is imperative and essential in any learning and so it is a very good thing to do. But you miss the next step to change and growth. And that is the emotional and personal side that really isn’t done in the analytical part of the process.

A personal mentor makes it real.

Let me illustrate. A distant mentor can tell you how they did it and state that you too can do what they did. But do we really believe it? I mean really?

But, a personal mentor can show you that you don’t have to be a super-human or blessed with the best luck in the world. They can show you that even as a success they too have insecurities, frustrations, and failures. They can show you that they too have to clean the bathroom, take out the dog, and deal with uncooperative teenagers. They give you all the other stuff too; keys to how to do it, where to do it and when to do it. But the most important thing they do is make it real.

The crazy thing? As you find your mentor and learn from them you will never feel like you’ve ever attained the status they have. Then some day you will turn around and find that you have been a mentor to others and wonder “How the <bleep> did that happen?”


3 Responses to “Ok Class, today we’re going to write an essay”

  1. Mike said

    Not only is finding a mentor rewarding but becoming one and paying it forward is also extremely rewarding. Great blog.

    • Thanks Mike! I am learning that myself in my life outside writing. It is indeed a wonderful experience.

      BTW, just bought your book. Can’t wait to read it. Now, what did I do with all that copious amounts of free time… I seem to have lost it.

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