I started reading the new DaVinci book recently and it inspired this piece. It reminds me how much we all need each other and what a blessing it is that God has placed people who love, inspire, and mentor us in ways that help us become all that we are meant to be. I wrote it for women originally, but it’s not really a gender specific piece.
Walter Isaacson’s newly released novel about Leonardo DaVinci is in part, a 15th century version of networking, and learning from the people around you. Peeling back the onion layers of DaVinci’s life, we see that he surrounded himself with stimulating peers and mentors. Some were much older than he was at the time, but they shared their expertise, their curiosities, and their techniques for getting ahead. Since DaVinci was curious about practically everything, he made it his business to learn things he didn’t know, and to learn from the people around him.
Consider DaVinci’s, Mona Lisa. We don’t know much about her, but her remarkable image has spanned decades. She influenced our thinking whether she meant to or not. In nearly every time and culture, people, especially women who accomplished great things, had to stand on the shoulders of those who came before them. They managed to thrive because of the input they received from others like themselves. Today’s woman behind a Mona Lisa smile needs a mentor, a guide, a critique partner and a generous source of inspiration.
Have you put your life dream on hold? Is technology leaving you in the dust? Is social media making you downright antisocial? Mentoring each other is not a new concept, but it’s a brilliant way to get closer to your goals; to that bar you set some time ago.
If your hope is to get your voice heard and your ideas considered in the work that you do, then reach out to those around you. Your voice is unique. No one else thinks exactly the way you do. No one else perceives problems or offers solutions the way you can each time you are willing and able to let your light shine.
Your workplace, or even your local small group brings an opportunity to discover your gifts of cooperation and encouragement, strategic thinking, and creativity. You need others who recognize and foster what you do, helping you grow and develop new skills. Those who mentor others, thrive in the process, enjoying the fruit of their labors in new ways.
Peer mentors may guide you through the weeds of technology and social media. Seasoned mentors teach you valuable lessons about timing and sensitivity; about positive attitudes and the advantage of having a sense of humor. Somebody helped them when they were younger, and somebody will help you too. You have potential male and female mentors who would love to see your talents and skills be more broadly recognized.
You deserve to be heard and have a voice in the way the future unfolds. You need a structure that allows you to become all you were meant to be. Mentoring begins with you and one other person that you trust. Just look at your skill sets and determine how you can help each other thrive.
Perhaps part of the reason the Mona Lisa could smile is that she knew who she was in her world. She knew she could raise her voice any time she chose because she’d have people smiling back at her for centuries. She was indeed a Renaissance woman!
What can we do this year to help each other grow and accomplish our goals?