by Maria Murphy
Inspiration is such a fascinating thing. In many ways, being a mentor is all about inspiring others. But in order to inspire, don’t we have to keep ourselves inspired? Of course we have to keep ourselves inspired, but we must ask how do we do it?
Last year I tutored a child in my daughter’s school. Although acquaintances at school, neither knew of my connection. I enjoyed working with the student, who was rather quiet and I really had no idea if they were connecting with me or not. A few days ago, long after I stopped tutoring this child, my daughter said, “So-and-so loved when you were their tutor.” When I asked what she meant, she told me how the student said they had a “really nice and cool” tutor named Maria, etc, etc. Well, the two put the pieces together. It was a year later and who knows why that my daughter thought to mention that conversation to me. Funny. I didn’t realize the student had connected with me to that degree. It’s always good to hear you are fabulous, but really, my daughter’s words inspired me. They reminded me that my mentoring really does make a difference. It made me think that everything I do carries the chance to impact others. I got a lot of mileage out of that small chat with my daughter and it prompted me to consider the importance of the mentor staying inspired. Listed below are some simple ways to keep ourselves inspired.
Compile your own stories
If you are anything like me, your life is busy and you don’t have that much time to sit on your laurels and reminisce about all your mentoring greatness. Life moves on and people have to work, raise kids, pay bills, etc. But I encourage you to carry a list, actual or mental, of your successes. Remind yourself from time-to-time of your mentoring accomplishments. It could be a heartfelt letter written to you by a student, it could be the time the two of you cheered because of their report card, it could be the time you saw the gratitude in their eyes. They are your stories. Hang on to them, not in a self important, pontificating way, but the way we glance up at our trophies from time-to-time, to remind ourselves where our commitment has taken us.
I love a good movie. And I really love a movie about inspiration and redemption. I great way to keep ourselves inspired is to watch films that reminds us we can impact the world around us. Here are a few of my favorites.
Dead Poet’s Society
Akeelah and the Bee
Stand and Deliver
One of the best ways to stay inspiring is to keep ourselves balanced and strong. When we don’t watch our boundaries, we risk getting burnt out and we set a poor example. (Think workaholic setting the pace for employees.) When we take the time to make sure we are giving in ways that work for us, without wearing ourselves out, we stay strong and stay inspiring.
Try it. Look for ways to keep yourself inspired and see how much more inspiration you pass onto the kids you are working with!
Good luck and remember to believe in the power of your every contribution.
Please feel free to go to: Tutor/Mentor Connection at Ning to discuss this article.
Maria Murphy writes a monthly Tutor/Mentor Coaching Tip for this site and has been a presenter for Cabrini Connection’s Tutor/Mentor Conference. She is a speaker, consultant and writer. Other articles can be found on her Mentoring Simply Put blog or her website www.simplyputtogether.com.