Thursday 26 July 2012


I came across an article the other day that asked what mentor changed your life? That’s a huge question, isn’t it? I walked around for days asking myself this question  – amongst other mundane things like, ‘did I turn the oven off?’ ‘Did the King really just pick that raisin off the pavement and eat it?’ It’s such a hard question to answer in that, mentors can come in so many forms and all those forms can be so life changing, even in the smallest most seemingly insignificant ways.

I’ve read things that have changed the way I’ve looked at the world, watched people honour and hone their craft over the years in such a way that inspired me to model myself after them, etc.; even public figures that have inspired me to be and do better (I laugh at this statement when I read it back because these days our public figures that are worth their salt are so far and few between). But from a favorite author to that unforgettable teacher, there have been individuals along the way that have left their fingerprint on my life, for certain.

But I suppose there is one individual that truly changed my life as he set me on a course that truly shaped who I am; the ironic part of it is, I’m not even sure he knew he was doing it (I’ve since told him, and I hope he truly understands the affect he had). It wasn’t necessarily the knowledge he imparted upon me, although he certainly did know a lot and what he didn’t know, he certainly pretended to, but it was his insistence that I could do something and even better, his persistence to make sure I did it. He had an influential and bossy way about him you just had to love. For me I suppose that is what a mentor truly is, someone that can not only see your potential, but can see how much you need the path they’re about to kick your butt down.

Funny enough, at the time I wasn’t even aware that I possessed the talent or discipline to accomplish things I set before me, thankfully he did and didn’t take no for an answer when I’d look at him and say, ‘what are you nuts?’ It’s funny to look back at the many years I have spent honing my own craft – if you will – and am able to go back to that first moment I thought to myself, you know what, I can do this (I also ponder why the hell I didn't become a dentist and save myself a lot of grief). And for that I thank my mentor. I thank him for a lot of things really. Because the path I set upon changed my life in so many ways. Not just on paper, or in terms of a career, but as a person. Without direction or a passion, I’m a bit like the King let loose in a supermarket: trouble. Or at least I used to be.

At the moment, I’d like to think (a perhaps naive thought) I am the King’s mentor (then again, maybe it is the other way around). I advise him: 'throwing your wooden truck at your friend’s head would be an unwise thing to do.' I counsel him: 'eating four bowls of blueberries will make your bottom resemble an exploding Smurf, but hey, go ahead and try it if you must.' I train him: 'peeing on the rug is not good. Peeing in the toilet is more socially acceptable and saves me a trip to Ikea.' You see, I’m flipping Yoda at this point. 
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