Can you handle honest? Can you handle being pushed? You need to hear voices that are kind, but also challenging. You need people that will push you further as well as people that will keep you accountable for growth. You need others that will speak truth and sit with you in struggles and pain and happiness and joy. I call these people my noticers.
Thankfully I have people that do that in my life. I think everyone needs these and I find pushing myself creatively it’s changed me in so many ways.
It’s important to have a mentor. A mentor is a trusted and experienced advisor and to me is another word for a coach. In the Little Book of Talent Daniel Coyle shares there are 5 things to look for in a mentor.
- Avoid someone who reminds you of a courteous waiter whose job is just to keep you comfortable and happy.
- Seek someone who scares you a little. Look for someone who watches you closely, is action oriented and is honest, sometime unnervingly so.
- Seek someone who gives short clear directions, they guide you to a target.
- Seek someone who loves teaching fundamentals.
- Other things being equal, pick the older person.
I’ve found a mentor in Joan. She’s my art teacher, but so much more. It is worth the investment to have a mentor as it literally has taken my art from a hobby to a profession.
You also need a peer that will walk along side of you. Todd Henry in the book Accidental Creative shared about having a circle group of creatives meeting up. He suggests gathering and asking the following questions.
- What are you working on?
- What is inspiring you?
- What would you like prompting on?
- I’ve also added, How can I be praying for you?
Thankfully I’ve found this relationship across the table with my friend Lee Ann. Our businesses are different, but our goals are similar and I always come away inspired, challenged, refreshed and envisioned after meeting with her. Also as I’m talking through things with her there are things that emerge I didn’t even know were there until I started speaking it.Maybe I’m auditory and have to hear myself think! We also mix in a little fun by meeting at a Vietnamese Tea Shop while drinking bubble tea.
Where do you feel safe and challenged? Where do you feel your voice is heard and where are you able to voice your struggles and successes? It’s worth it to find that place and those people. It’s transformed me.