January is National Mentoring Month, how are you celebrating it? National Mentoring Month was created in 2002 to focus national attention in the United States on the need for mentors. I try to write at least one article in celebration of the occasion, but this year, I have struggled with what to write. Last year, I did something different when I profiled Napoleon Hill’s invisible counselors, who are the same as invisible mentors. I seldom view mentoring the traditional way, and when I was not thinking about how to celebrate National Mentoring Month, it occurred to me that the people in my LinkedIn group, Leaders are Great Readers, who are participating in The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge are my peer mentors – we are mentoring and supporting each other for the entire year.
January is National Mentoring Month
Mentoring Quotes for National Mentoring Month
Create Your Board of Mentors – January is National Mentoring Month
Reading Globally: The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge
I enjoy reading, and I usually have a list of books that I know I am supposed to read, but somewhere along the journey, I am constantly taking detours. I read the same number of books that I commit to reading, but not all titles I committed to. When I announced the Challenge, I included the names of books to read, and those of you who have read this blog for a while, will recognize some of the titles that have appeared year after year on my to-read pile.
So what makes this year any different?
At the start of the month, most of the people who are participating in the Challenge, stated the four books they commit to reading for the month, and I listed my four books. One participant finished his book in a few days and gave us the key ideas from the book. This made me even more determined to finish reading the books I committed to. Peer mentors, and other mentors, hold you accountable, so you are likely to achieve your goals. And you strive to become your best self.
The first known incident of the concept of mentors is found in Homer’s, The Odyssey. When King Odysseus leaves to fight in the Trojan War, he asks his good friend Mentor to watch over his young son Telemachus. In the story, Mentor as himself, is not mentioned that much, so I cannot evaluate the quality of his mentorship ability. However, Goddess Athena, who has a soft spot for Odysseus, disguises herself as Mentor, appears to Telemachus, encourages him to stand up against his mother’s suitors, and to go in search of his father. Athena knows that Odysseus is alive, but she doesn’t want to tell Telemachus.
Telemachus takes up the call to find his father, while Odysseus perseveres as he overcomes challenges after challenge to return to Ithaca to his wife and son. Both father and son are on a hero’s journey, with Athena as a guide. As the Goddess of wisdom and intelligence, Athena offers father and son the insider knowledge they need to succeed on their hero’s journey. The Odyssey demonstrates mentorship in action. Later, mentor morphed into what it is today. According to Wikipedia, “The first recorded modern usage of the term can be traced to a 1699 book entitled Les Aventures de Télémaque, by the French writer François Fénelon. In the book, the lead character is that of Mentor. This book was very popular during the 18th century and the modern application of the term can be traced to this publication.”
In Storyscaping: Stop Creating Ads, Start Creating Worlds by Gaston Legorburu and Darren McColl, the authors describe their version of the hero’s journey. “The hero travels a path of behaviors to solve his or her quest. Along that path the mentor helps the hero by providing a magical gift (product or service) that satisfies the hero’s desires and creates a shared journey (experience).” In the context of peer-mentoring, each mentor plays two roles, both hero and mentor. And in the Leaders are Great Readers group, the participants, the heroes, mentor other participants, to encourage them on their reading journey. The participants of the 2015 Reading Challenge are heroes and heroines because they took up the challenge to read a book a week for 52 weeks, and they are mentors because they are supporting and cheering on other challenge participants.
Mentors are important, and they can play a part in your professional success. What areas do you need support in? And who do you know that can give you the support? Do you have contacts who would make great peer mentors? Why not start a peer-to-peer mentoring group to celebrate National Mentoring Month.
Get Started Here – I want to help you get the most out of your learning journey. As we celebrate National Mentoring Month, grab a copy of Homer’s The Odyssey to see where it started. It’s not too late to take part in The Invisible Mentor 2015 Reading Challenge. Join my LinkedIn group, Leaders are Great Readers.
You’ll get support from me to help you grow professionally, and I will also give you some of the tools and resources to do so.
Brought to you by Avil Beckford – dedicated to helping you blossom professionally. You’re never alone!
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Author Bio: Avil Beckford, an expert interviewer, entrepreneur and published author is passionate about books and professional development, and that’s why I founded The Invisible Mentor and the Virtual Literary World Tour so you’re never alone. I mentor you by offering book reviews and book summaries, interviews with successful people, mini biographies, and tools and resources. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.