I attended a convention at George Wythe College last weekend. It was an amazing experience. One that I had desperately needed, although I hadn't known it.
Allow me to give you a little background. My family has been in a state of flux the past few months. We've been preparing to sell our home and move, my husband is making a career change and we're leaving an wonderful TJEd community. In my "mourning", I had allowed myself to become distracted from what was really important.
But, I'm feeling more purpose driven. What caused the change? A mentor. Someone who cared enough to ask the really hard questions about where I was headed and what I really wanted. It was those questions that allowed me to regain focus on what I was doing and what was really important to me. Having the ability to discuss with someone what my goals and aspirations truly were and what I really wanted out of my life and for my family allowed me to clear away the distractions and focus on what I really needed to do. This is the power of a mentor and asking the right questions!
On her suggestion I attended the convention. Because I had started to ask the questions and was receptive to the answers, my mind was open to some really incredible insight. Life changing.
Some of the topics that were discussed were Education and Travel, Georgics, The Mentor Creed: Becoming Truly Inspiring, Trying to Live Scholar, Depth and Mission Phase at the Same Time, and The Liberal Arts. We also were given "Oliver's Top 10 Reading List". Over the next couple of weeks I'd like to share with you some of the thoughts and insights I received on those different topics.
But let me start here: The most powerful part of mentoring is to ask the right question. Are you asking the right questions for yourself and those you mentor? How can you know if you are?
How about the Six Month Inventory. Have you done one of those? Can you become who you have the potential to become without it? Can your children? If you haven't done a Six Month Inventory for each person you mentor (including yourself!), may I suggest that this is the time?
Pages 79-80 in Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning discuss the Six Month Inventory. Here's an excerpt: "Consider the following questions... :
What are his/her biggest interests?
What are his/her greatest fears?
What are his/her fondest dreams?
What are his/her top needs in the next six months?
What should I do to help fulfill those needs?
What else do I need to know?
What else should I do?
To be honest, this will not do much good unless you are willing to do The Sixth Month Purge and the Six Month "No" and you will not use it much if you do not have Sunday FECs and interviews. But if you combine these most basic of ingredients, you have the makings of a powerful recipe for superb Leadership Education. Your children deserve it- they were born with important, world-shaping and universe-shifting missions."
Asking the right questions of myself and for my family has allowed me to get back on track toward what I really want in life. It is that powerful. There will always be distractions and emergencies. But keep asking the questions and allow yourself to be open to the answers. This will help you to stay focused on where you are headed and who you want to be!