hey, you guys. even though i just posted two-ish days ago, i feel like i’ve been gone. or been on some kind of trip, and am just returning. you know, settling in again. and boy have i missed y’all.
you see, everything has changed since my last blog post. i knew it was happening. many of you knew it was happening. and now, it’s late on friday night, all of the lights are out in the apartment, and i have a few minutes to myself to begin to soak in all that has happened. i guess i kind of did go on a journey over the past 2 days, now that i think about it. and i am returning here, to my home. my sanctuary. the place where i create my inner peace through words + images.
it’s been a very cozy and perfect night with my love, and i really want to lay my head down now and just sleep for hours and hours, but i also really want to carve out this wee bit of time to check in and give y’all a big hug. for your sake, and for mine.
i started my new job yesterday. i worked 2 full days, and it feels so surreal. and exciting. i have so many thoughts and feelings right now. but, i was a wreck on wednesday night. i had a serious case of the new job freak outs. of course any new job is a bit frightening and exhilarating, but i really had no idea what expect since i am starting something completely new. i am totally qualified for it, and have tons of experience, but i have never quite worked in the way that i am going to work now.
but, the timing of this school’s need and my path in life right now just seemed to cosmically align. and the “rightness” of this all has become even more clear after these first two days.
so, from now on, i am working as a mentor at a high school. a work-oriented high school, with a focus on practical, every day, real-life education for teens in grades 10-12 who just don’t want or need what “regular” schools offer. the high school is private and offers two programs. one in natural resources, with a focus in animal care, nature + tourism, or horses. the other program is a stylist, cosmetology program.
as a mentor, i will be doing a lot of work that guidance counselors do (for all of you american readers). i’ll be mentoring, counseling, working with organizations in society, leading classes with weekly workshops on life skills, which range from racism to lgbtq issues to being a good citizen to finding housing to writing a resume to self confidence to eating disorders to bullying to social media to applying for jobs and higher education. i’ll work with a team of teachers that lead the nature/animal programs – and after a year where nature has become even more important to me than ever, this was a super fit.
but, my main job, the thread of all that i will be doing, supporting and advocating for the students, simply being there for them and helping them find their way + discover who they are and what they want to do, just humbles me so much.
and, as i work on my life coaching certification + building up that business in conjunction with my mentor job at the high school, i find myself reflecting a lot on what kind of mentor/life coach i want to be. how i approach mentoring/life coaching, what i am good at/have to offer, and why we need mentors + life coaches.
i’m still working on my own little manifesto, but i have identified why i think that we all (myself included) need to have our own personal mentor or life coach. so, inspired by my first 2 days at work, i thought i’d share what i’ve thought with you.
my tips on why i believe that everyone should get out there + find their own mentor/life coach.
first, some definitions:
mentor // a wise and trusted counselor or guide. usually someone who is older, with more experiences, who can guide another in spiritual matters, personal life, academics, and work (the free dictionary).
life coach // a person who counsels or motivates others in the achievement of personal objectives such as choosing or changing careers, improving relationships, setting goals, and determining priorities in everyday life. (the free dictionary).
i have had tons of mentors in my life. usually they have been older women or men, who have guided me in pretty much everything. but, each served his or her own function. all of them just listened to me as i rambled and questioned and processed my life. they each shared their own experiences, and simply challenged me to explore and discover who i am and the path that i want to take. these mentors of mine are cherished friends as well. they have all made deep impressions in my heart and i carry them with me in my soul, remembering the lessons, bits of wisdom, and love that they all shared. and the most beautiful part, was that it was all simply in the midst of everyday life.
i suppose my life coach teacher is sort of my life coach now, but i’d like to find my own. i am a firm believer (because i was taught this when i studied theology) in the idea that when one works as a mentor/coach/miinster/counselor/pastor, then one needs to have one’s own as well. so, i’m on the hunt right now.
for me, while society defines mentors and life coaches a little bit different, i do not. to me, they are one in the same. but, that is because i approach life coaching as mentoring. and i ground my mentoring/coaching in spirituality, or mindfulness. that means that i can (and am trained) to talk about god or religion, but i absolutely do not have to. it’s more about being aware and present and, well, mindful.
with all of that said, here are my six reasons that you need to get out there and find your a mentor or a life coach.
mentors and life coaches:
1. listen // who doesn’t need someone to talk to? a mentor/life coach is there to listen. without judgement. not not offer advice, but to really hear what you are saying, and, when needed, help you clarify what you are saying. a good mentor/life coach will repeat back to you what they hear from you, making sure that they have understood. but, above all, it’s just about being present, being awake + aware + alert, and listening. and we all need someone like that in our lives, especially someone who is a neutral, safe person. it is a power, silent support that is just waiting for you, to help you begin to find your voice or to simply chat about nothing. the bottom line is, when you have someone who listens, then you feel heard, seen, important, and loved. and that creates power.
2. walk with you // life is a journey + none of us want to walk through it alone. mentors and life coaches, in my opinion, do not offer you advice or solve your problems. they do, however, walk with you. the thing is, mentors/life coaches are on their own journey too. and, when you met with them, you are simply sharing your journeys, walking together, for a while. and that can be an incredible feeling of support, just knowing that there is someone there, beside you. or right behind you. or just one step in front of you. it is a shared experience. and one that reminds us that we are not alone on our journey of discovery.
3. hold you accountable // i need this like i need air to breathe. if i don’t have someone checking up on me, checking in on me, and cheering me on, then it ain’t gonna get done. mentors/life coaches hold us accountable. they help us define our goals and priorities for ourselves, but then give us that extra push to actually make that shit happen. having a regularly scheduled meeting always means that there will be a time to update and catch up and push forward. a mentor/life coach is there to help us to keep moving forward, or to simply remind us that we already are moving forward.
4. provide inspiration (resources + information // we all need some help, some direction, and some inspiration. mentors + life coaches can help point you in the direction of books, blogs, stories, people, places to visit, you name it. whatever you need to help inspire and teach you on your path, your mentor/life coach can help you find what you are looking for. and if she can’t, then she will connect you with someone who can. the point is, mentors/life coaches serve as a safe place to ask questions and uncover answers. everything from job hunting to relationships to spirituality. they are like little libraries in and of themselves.
5. share stories (wisdom) // this has always been one of the sweet spots of having a mentor/life coach. while, it is really all about you, a mentor/life coach shares a bit of his or her life as well. and this usually comes out in the most amazing little anecdotes or stories that become these incredible gold nuggets. in other words, this person serves as a deep well of wisdom. experienced, smart, inspiring wisdom of someone who knows, someone who has lived through much and has much to offer. and it doesn’t come in the form of advice or what you “should do” since they did it. but, instead, it comes like a parable, or an oracle, a gift from the gods, a message from the universe on the mysteries of life.
6. emit energy/vibes // you know how some people just have “it”. that special feeling all around the, good mentors and life coaches just make you feel good. when you are in their presence, you can almost seem them glowing, or you have a sense that they are just good or calm or positive. this is good crap. it’s good to be around it, because t’ll rub off on you. having a mentor/life coach also means that you have someone who is thinking about you. i believe that good mentors, when they come across your name in their notebook or calendar, stop for a moment and send up a little prayer. or send out some positive vibes. just a tiny thought about you. and even though you may not feel it, or know about it, it is still powerful. but, it is even better when a mentor/life coach just randomly “checks in” with a text, tweet, email, or message. all of those good vibes and positive energy end up just swirling around you, giving you peace and power and strength. reminding you that you are loved.
now, i want you to know, these are the things that i deem important. values and skills that i believe that mentors and life coaches should have. and, i’ve based them on the experiences i’ve had with the amazing mentors/coaches i have had in my life and in what i have learned about mentoring/coaching/counseling, both in academic settings, training, and life experiences.
so, there you go. all of the reasons why you should find someone right now. if anything, having a mentor/life coach simply helps us reflect on our lives and focus on knowing who we are and where we are going. we don’t have to be in crisis to find someone to talk to. it’s just a good idea, in my opinion, to add to our everyday lives. a chance for us to learn and grow and not have to feel like we are doing it all on our own.
let me stress this, though: mentors do NOT have to be people you pay to go talk to. they can be professionals, of course, but they can also be people that you have been blessed to have in your life, that serve as wise friends and/or guides. so my suggestion that we all need mentors/life coaches is simply a belief that we all can benefit from an inspiring, guiding relationship. mentors/life coaches can be found in your work place, in your circle of friends, at volunteer organizations, in your school, online, in religious institutions, etc. i just wanted to be clear that you don’t have to have tons of money in order to have a mentor/life coach.
what do you think? do you have a mentor/life coach? do you need one or want one?
earth • soul • sky
P.S. I am offering FREE Mentor/Life Coach sessions from now – February! Contact me for more info.