Years ago while working for a community service organization, I met Jerry. The first thing I noticed when visiting him was a home full of pictures of him with just about any famous person you could think of from the mid 20thcentury.
In the years before we met, Jerry owned a south Florida nightclub that attracted people from around the world. But he gave it up sometime in his 50’s, after he suffered a stroke that left him permanently disabled—he couldn’t balance and lost all equilibrium. Without something stable nearby to support him, he would lose his balance and fall. And when I met him, Jerry fell often.
You would think that going from a fairly wealthy, socially active nightclub owner to a life of relative seclusion (which is what we volunteers worked against—social isolation) would create depression. But not so with Jerry. He was one of the most balanced—pardon the pun—and happy people I have ever known.
His secret? His advice? “Roll with the fall”. When Jerry lost balance, he would not become rigid and stiff. Instead, he’d loosen his body. He’d explain, “When you’re stiff and resistant to the fall. . . that’s when you get hurt.”
Jerry became a mentor to me for a period of several months. I learned so much from his wealth of wisdom and years of learning to “roll with it”.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had at least one person, full of wisdom, that gave you such support, advice, and coaching? We all need a Jerry.
Research shows that one of the top factors for teachers NOT leaving the classroom within the first five years is a mentor. Mentors provide inspiration, ideas, and (most of all) support. And even if you’ve been in the classroom a lot longer than that, let’s face it: we all need support.
Honestly, I don’t know where I would be without my mentors. These days most of my mentors are people I’ve never met, but I benefit from wise women and men through their podcasts, online training, webinars, and books.
So even when we don’t have mentors right in front of us, we can seek out wisdom in this digital age.
Sometimes I know you must rely on yourself, your inner guide for making decisions, following your heart, and knowing what’s right. But having a tribe of mentors helps us become more fully who we are truly meant to be. Then we can become a mentor to others, passing on a legacy of inspiration, hope, and love.