Because you are never alone.
My name is Avil Beckford, also known as The Expert Interviewer and Chief Reading Evangelist. I have 20 years of experience in research, analysis and writing, and am the author of Tales of People Who Get It, which is a culmination of my research, analysis and writing experiences. I make my living from writing, ghost blogging, and interviewing people to give them a head start on writing their memoirs. I am also the creator of the Virtual Literary World Tour. And I am creating Leaders are Great Readers which I will tell you about later.
The Invisible Mentor blog is for you and your professional development so that you will never feel alone. I am realizing more-and-more every day that invisible mentors – unique leaders you can learn things from by observing them from a distance – play an important part in our lives. Even if you already have a traditional mentor, one mentor is no longer enough! You need a Roundtable of Invisible Mentors. Napoleon Hill, the author of the timeless classic, Think and Grow Rich, recognized this and created his Cabinet of Invisible Counselors – he tapped the members of his Cabinet for advice. If you haven’t read Think and Grow Rich, I recommend it primarily because of the idea of invisible counselors.
I work hard at providing you with the tools and resources necessary for you to mentor yourself. On the Start Here page, I have provided links to posts to get you started.
The Invisible Mentor Concept
One morning while on my morning walk in High Park in the fall of 2007, “Tales of People Who Get It is your Board of Invisible Mentors” pops into my consciousness. I quickly pulled my mini notebook and pen out of my back pocket and jot down my epiphany. I had been thinking about how to describe my book for a few months. Board of Invisible Mentors made perfect sense to me because whenever I face a challenge, I remember parts of the interviews I conducted for the book and I would know exactly what to do, or how to proceed.
I continue with my walk, enjoying the wonders of nature. I marvel at the four cygnets (baby swans) as they struggle to learn to fly before the winter arrives. Papa and mama swan patiently watch, every now and again instructing their offspring in lessons of persistence, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”
I notice the beaver enjoying the unseasonably warm weather as he takes an early siesta in the nook of a tree. Ducks line up in a row on a log as the birds rehearse their cantata for the fly south. Being in touch with nature takes me back to the basics of life and reminds me of the truly important things.
Later, I confide in a friend about my epiphany, and she thinks it is pure genius. She further adds that the idea is ahead of its time so I should alter it to Tales of People Who Get It is your Board of Mentors. This doesn’t work for me because “invisible” is what makes it so special. Discouraged, I park my idea for nearly eighteen months.
Why do we care so much about what others think, even if it sets us back? Why don’t we trust our instincts and just plough ahead? Could it be fear of going it alone? Or could it be fear of failure?
Since I presented the idea of the invisible mentor to the world at the end of March 2009, I have been shaping the concept. An invisible mentor is a unique leader you can learn things from by observing them from a distance. But, it has become very clear to me that an invisible mentor is more than a person. I am now embarking on a journey to create the invisible mentor model so that I am better able to serve my readers.
Journey to a Liberal Arts Education
I have read frequently that people who have a liberal arts education are more flexible and resilient so I have set out to test this theory by embarking on an informal liberal arts education.
And what does it mean to be a successful and accomplished person?
The reality is that success is very personal and means different things to different people, but one trait that is often common among the most accomplished people is continuous learning. And these people learn in a variety of ways – formally and informally. They usually have an extensive personal library. And they are not reading contemporary books, they are getting schooled in a classical education – that is, they are getting a liberal arts education.
During the Middle Ages (400 CE to 1400 CE), mostly members of the clergy, such as priests and monks were able to read and write, therefore they held and wielded an exceptional amount of power. During the Renaissance (1400 to 1600), with the invention and adoption of the printing press, books were more readily available, so literacy rates soared in Europe. The Early Modern era (1600 to 1800), especially the Enlightenment in 1700s, with great thinkers such as Voltaire, Denis Diderot, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, people started to reason for themselves, instead of relying on the teachings of institutions. The printing press was a game changer, and more people became accomplished because they had access to books and were now able to think for themselves.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Everything has been thought of before, but the problem is to think of it again.” Wouldn’t it be great if you could reconnect with old ideas that are forgotten but not outdated? How would you like to be exposed to the ideas of the great thinkers like Voltaire, Denis Diderot, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau mentioned above? Reading the right books, and imaging the right behaviours of the right people will take you closer to success.
What does this mean for you and for me to learn from the experiences of others.
I am a voracious reader, and I cannot remember a period in my life when I wasn’t reading books. I am embarking on my classical education, and you are the beneficiary! Each month, I invest over 200 hours of my time reading books, and researching great thinkers. I present you with invisible mentors – unique leaders you can learn things from by observing them from a distance or by reading about them – in the form of interviews with highly accomplished individuals, mini biographies of wise people and great thinkers, and book reviews/summaries. The Invisible Mentor blog bridges the new with the old. Imagine the great ideas you’ll generate by being exposed to old and forgotten ideas! What that means for you and for me is that we can use old and forgotten, but not outdated ideas to solve today’s problems.
The next step for me is developing the invisible mentor model, putting together the literary salon and a membership site, and I would love it if you joined me on the journey! And I also intend to write a book about the journey to a liberal arts education.
If this sounds like something you are interested in, please subscribe to the blog and connect with me on social media. If you are interested in my expert interviewing service, please visit the Services page.
Note of Disclosure
To make it easy for you, I have included the link for you to easily purchase books mentioned. All Amazon links on the Invisible Mentor Blog are affiliate links.