Influences and Mentorship

A mentor is someone who instills a success oriented mentality in somebody else.

Steve Jobs was Mark Zuckerberg’s mentor. Oprah Winfrey’s – poet and author, Maya Angelou. Woody Guthrie mentored Bob Dylan. American actress, dancer and singer, Chita Rivera was mentored by her former teacher, Doris Jones.  And the list goes on

The concept of mentoring originated in Homer’s Odyssey. There is a great article in the Atlantic about this.

Four Steps of process

Successful mentoring is analogous to enlightened guidance. There are generally four parts of these relationships. There is preparation, negotiation, enablement and closure.

Acknowledging that help and guidance is needed to further oneself is a first step of preparation. Part of that is acquiring the tools necessary to allow the guidance to facilitate itself.

The negotiation element is the discussion and agreement to the expectations that each of the parties is willing to commit to.

Enablement allows the one being mentored to develop the skill set and mental acuity in their desired path.

Closure is accomplishing the steps necessary allowing the student to move on. Sometimes, closure isn’t facilitated because the relationship has deepened. Permanent bonding can happen.


Influence and Mentoring starts with family and upbringing. It can’t help but be that way.

Next is social influence. Our behavior changes as we become more accepted in our social niche. Things like peer pressure, learning to conform, hanging with our friends and adopting their influences. For me, that came down to musical tastes much more than anything else.

Many times it is ourselves who become the motivational influencer. We choose what motivates our decisions and behavior. We love to see ourselves as different from others; that’s definitely part of the American psyche.

Hunger and Desire

Mentors are people who have areas of expertise that we do not. They are people who can motivate and guide us. They are role models who can help us in identifying goals, contacts and resources. One of my mentors is my mother, who is also my editor. Thanks Mom for all the years of advice and thanks for the years of holding PHD s accountable to literary standards. You have helped me immeasurably.

I have had the distinct privilege of having some of the best instructors and mentors available. There has been great fortune and serendipity in geography. In my teens I had tremendous advantages. I was taught by one the great collegiate classical percussionists in the nation. I had little appreciation for that gift. Hindsight tells me I should have been paying more attention. All I wanted to do was to play music and hit the road. And I did.

In order to facilitate attainment, one must set out on a path. The reason to seek out a mentor is to garner knowledge and draw from the experience of the person who has gone before.

Beyond doubt, if we are in the hunt for achievement, mentoring is essential. Those who go before us have greater insight because of their previous success.

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