I felt particularly lucky to have some very important individuals in my life as mentors. We all have certain people in our lives that we can look back on and truly realize just how much they help shape our lives, our thinking, even though we might not have completely felt that they had at the time.
A Mentor is described as a trusted counselor or guide or also can be defined as a tutor or coach.
I can look back at some relationships with friends, coaches, teachers, professors, family members and others that you might know from a distance.
Profound thoughts or ideas that make you think outside the box, make you think that you can truly accomplish a project even though you might not have all the pieces in place.
It is the way they said it, the way they defined the process, the way they encouraged you to find the solution to the initial problem. It is how you make that decision to undertake a problem that just beforehand you had no idea how to possible put things together.
It is this type of stimulation that sets off the lights in your thinking and encourages you to set out and find the solution. It doesn’t have to be a big problem but one that has previously been outside your realm of thinking, your comfort zone or a thought process.
If I think about it, I have had many individual mentors and the influence that they had on my life and in turn, how I approached a situation.
Obviously my parents were a big influence on my early years of growth and surprising enough, the lasting thought processes that still impact how I undertake something and think about it. There are somethings that were probably negative about this process, but very few in comparison to the positive ones.
To this day, there are ways in which I still tackle a problem or I look at a situation that the influence of my mother appears. I know that this is probably more true than not, with many of us.
One of my mentors that I just had lunch with, as I do about every month or so, is one of those people who just is fun to be around and whatever conversation comes up.
During my professional education, he was one of my clinical professors that I got to know, but didn’t really have a lot of contact with other than as a professor.
I got to know Mark much better as we continued our real education after we graduated. He was in private practice, as well as being a clinical professor. It was his approach over the next years that had been the biggest influence on my approach to how I practiced.
Mark was one of those rare individuals that seemed to implant into your subconscious a way, an approach to do things a certain way that made it extremely enjoyable and a sense of true accomplishment and just plain fun.
We had a study club (or a mastermind group) that would discuss and demonstrate new ideas or even older ideas that would allow us to understand and refine our ideas, our approach and our techniques. A true educational approach that helped many of us to understand newer ideas in a way that was practical and helpful.
Mark would be our speaker for many of these mastermind meetings because he freely gave of his time but he also was a master of his profession. He loved what he was doing and never hesitated to help pass that on.
He was a true, relentless educator that was always willing to teach all of us the things that he had learned over the years, so we didn’t have to go through a lengthy trial and error period.
He was that true teacher who would pass it forward and never think twice about sharing his wealth of knowledge, his wealth of understanding patients and loving and enjoying these patients.
I had lunch with him last week and as always, enjoyed the experience immensely. He doesn’t hear as well as he did and he has macular degeneration, so he doesn’t see as well as he once did, but that makes no difference in his conversation. He is as lively and as educational as ever and still has his strong opinions as far as what is necessary in this world.
Mark is 95 years old and lives in a retirement home, but still reads many books and can watch TV through a special way of fixing the screen on the TV so he can watch documentaries.
Mark is just one of those special people, a special professor that took the time to help other professionals in such a way that you cannot help but put him in his right place as a special person – a special mentor! Mark is one you can’t help but love for who he is – a true professional and a true mentor.
“It is not what I want FROM you but rather what I want FOR you!” – anonymous –
Mark is a special mentor and in the true sense a special person.