I am a freelancer, I have huge ambitions and what sometimes seems like a little voice, by myself I can’t make all the changes that I want to see in the world. I need to have people in my life that help me to gain the clarity, confidence and impetus I need to keep stepping forward, which is ALWAYS necessary, whether things are going badly, or awesomely fantastic, or anywhere in between. A good mentor is someone who listens to you, offers advice, shares experiences but doesn’t have a vested interest in the direction you take and doesn’t pass judgement on the decisions you make.
I think that mentoring is the most amazing thing, I think that we should all have mentors. I have found myself a number of different mentors at the moment. I have blogging mentors in Lotte Lane and the other bloggers in the CBWM group. I have people in my wider work network that I would loosely consider as mentors. I post yoga on instagram and I also consider those who coach online to be mentors. But I also have one special official mentor (not paid) who I met with today, and who I see for a very important 2.5 hours every month.
We talk about my life in a holistic way, by that I mean that we consider all the interlinking things that make up me and my career. We sit and discuss the things that are going on over coffee or lunch and just press reset to make sure that I am happy with the way I am developing. It is up to me to decide how I want the sessions to be shaped, if I need to get things off my chest, rant about work or set goals for the future I can talk about them. I will use today as an example of the conclusions that we draw at the end of these discussions:
HEALTH: One of the biggest hindrances to my progress at the moment is my poor health, as I spoke about in a previous blog, we talked about short term management of it (basically rest where possible) but I also need to figure out the longer term management of my health, which needs to be considered.
LEVERAGE GOOD THINGS FOR MORE ACTING JOBS: I am performing in Romeo and Juliet in Dubai in two weeks time and I am touring a new piece of theatre as soon as I get back. I need to use these things to move on to more acting jobs and connections in the industry. Any theatre companies, agents, filmmakers reading this, get in touch – shameless plug 😉
NETWORKING AND PLANNING: I am a freelancer and at the moment I am only guaranteed work until May, I need to put the plans in place for the rest of the year, there is a good possibility that the project I am currently working on will continue but I need to make sure that I am putting plans in place in advance and that I am talking to the right people, to build my networks.
DON’T STOP DREAMING: Put aside a bit of time to give my dreams some space, what would be the ultimate, however unrealistic, then how can I put plans in place to get a little bit closer to those dreams. This is obviously a future blog post!
Some of these things might seem obvious, but by doing this every month I have accountability which means that I can’t just let my goals, dreams and plans drift away, not happening because of the fears and challenges in the way. One of the biggest barrier to progress I have is that I often put my own goals at the bottom of the pile, and focus on all the more immediate pressure that other people put on me (don’t we all). I am afraid of a number of things, like putting myself out there, talking to certain people, developing and prioritising my practice for fear that it is not good enough, fear that I won’t be able to pay the mortgage. When working for someone else I don’t find things as difficult to push forward, in fact I’d goes as far to say that I just get on with it without a second thought. I need to be the same with my own ambitions, expertise and ideas. My mentor helps me to do that.
I think that we all have mentors in our life in some form or another, and I think that that it is so important that we do. These mentors may come and go, at any one time you might have multiple mentors, mutual mentors and you may mentor others. You might not even be aware that people are mentoring you and they might not know they are doing it. But I urge you to take stock of those around you who can offer you a judgement free helping hand, and if you can’t identify someone in that role then try and find someone who can give you and your life that little bit of ring-fenced attention it deserves.
I would absolutely love to mentor someone, I offer that in a light touch, way to some of the people around me, but nothing official. I would like to be someone that someone trusted with their most important possession – their dreams.