Do you have a mentor? Tell us about him or her. Are you a mentor to someone else? Tell us what that relationship has added to your life.
Todays Prompt has got me thinking about all the people who I admire and who mentor me without even knowing they’re doing it.( side note…I know, I know, mentors are not usually mentoring without their knowledge, but I have a slightly different perspective which I happen to like ) I’m an observer of people. I really love to people-watch. And I learn so much from just observing others. Does that sound strange? Well, I suppose I may be a tiny bit strange so let’s just accept that and move on, shall we…. what was I saying? Oh, yes, Mentors…Hmmmmm. In my life I’ve quietly watched and learned many lessons from many people and many of them had no idea they were teaching me . From some of my mentors I’ve learned lessons of what I wanted to do in my life and from others I’ve learned important things about what I wanted to avoid doing in my life. I guess you could say that I’ve often learned from others mistakes ( not to say that I haven’t made tons of my own mistakes to learn from! Hmmm I wonder if anyone learned anything from watching my epic fails? That would have made them worth it! ) . At the same time I’ve often seen a path that I admired and tweaked that path a bit to suit me as I set a goal and went in that direction. Is it just me? Or is this what many people do? Maybe you don’t necessarily realize it, but have people in your life influenced a particular path you went down? I don’t know about you , but to me, people who’ve entered my life almost always seem to have been sent to me for a reason and when my eyes are wide open and I’m paying attention (which isn’t always!) there can often be invaluable gifts to receive.
This blog post would be entirely too long if I went into all the many “virtual” mentors who I’ve admired in my 47 years, so I’ll stick to my most recent mentors. For instance all those other bloggers who I discovered a little over a year ago. When the idea to expatriate entered my head I must admit , I was skeptical and a bit scared of the reality of that idea. Yikes….Live in another country? Leave all I know behind? Start my life all over again in a strange place? Idontknowaboutthat! Wellllll….. Scott (my hubby) was “all in” from day one. His mind didn’t hesitate to jump right in to making that leap to a new beginning in a new country a reality! What can I say…the man is a natural adventurer! Me, on the other hand….I had to first learn about the stories of other brave men and women who were currently living this life abroad as expats. Thus began the ‘virtual’ mentoring of other blogging expats. While Scott was researching facts and reading about crime rates and cost of living and healthcare and many other more technical stuff, I began to read blogs.
There’s almost nothing I love more than to hear about someone else’s story. This was always one thing I loved about being a hairstylist for thirty years. After completing a consultation about how someone wanted their hair styled… off I would go to discover the story of that person sitting in the chair in front of me. I was always quite good at multi tasking….snip, snip, chat, chat, snip some more….”oops, it’s okay, it’ll grow!” To me, there’s just nothing more interesting and often inspiring than a person’s life story. Where did they come from, what was their family like, where did they fit into that family, where have they traveled, lived, and worked? Does that person have children, pets,siblings,a spouse? What hobbies does that person have? What books do they feel passionate about? Oh, there’s so much to learn about a person, and I am genuinely interested in the story and in figuring out if I can relate to any part of that story ( I can ALWAYS find at least one thing that I relate to). But one thing’s for sure, I’d learn something and there were many times when I was inspired to go someplace or to read a book or to go down a particular path that I hadn’t previously thought of….all these people were mentors to me in many different ways. And then I discovered a fascinating world of bloggers. I found all these people who were publishing their own true life stories of living in other countries. They were generously putting their story out there for me to read and I began to gobble it up!
At first I began to simply quietly read and absorb the stories of these expats day to day lives living in far away and exotic locations. They told me about the food, the people, the beauty all around them, and about how much they missed all the people from home. They shared the sometimes difficult things about adapting to a culture that was very different from what they were accustomed to. But mostly what I was absorbing from these blogging-mentors was that these people were people I admired. I thought they were brave and adventurous, following a path that’s not necessarily for everyone, and loving each and every day of their adventure. They were honestly sharing both the good and the bad of the life of an expat and I began to dream and imagine what it would be like to do what they were doing. A path was forming for me and I found myself being able to envision me and Scott traveling down that path together. Of course Scott was already wayyyy ahead of me and trotting away down said ‘path’ with gleeee! He was collecting data and analyzing numbers, figuring out how we would realistically set this expat plan in motion while I was absorbing stories that would quickly inspire me to join in on his enthusiasm. As so often happens, we were heading in the same direction but getting to the same path by a totally different route. But, as long as we ended up in the same place, together, we were golden! This sort of life changing decision is not one to make without your heart and soul being completely in sync with one another.
In my life I’ve been blessed by being acquainted with so many amazing people, men and women. Most of the people who un-knowingly mentored me along the way have contributed to my life in ways they may never really know. This makes me hope that I too have made such an impact on others somewhere along the way. I like to think that for most of my life, I’ve made an effort to live with purpose, with intention, integrity, and authenticity. I’ve had epic fails, of course, but I’ve also had epic successes as well. In the end I think everyone we come into contact with can in some small way mentor us. I’ve had countless mentors who’ve served to inspire me to emulate or to avoid certain things in life, as well as mentors who’ve provided a simple inspiration or idea that somehow enriched my life. I’ve been inspired to be a better mother, a supportive partner, an ethical business person, an honest, generous, and empathetic person, I’ve been inspired by mentors in my life who pursue art, literature,language,travel, spiritual enlightenment, astrology,writing,the list goes on an on. I can only hope that I too have inspired someone who was quietly watching me , and I gotta hope I’m in the inspiring “What to” do not “What not” to do!! Ha!Ha!