|Image from: is0b3lpalm3rs0n Creative Commons license|
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”
- Roald Dahl
This post has been a struggle to complete. My initial notion of what this article would be about was "what might be hidden in front of you" in terms of you as the mentor. I was going to use this phrase as an introduction to the concept that there's always more to what your mentee is saying. You should be paying attention to what's not being said in your conversations just as much, if not more, than what is actually being said. Do you notice patterns in topics or tone of voice around certain topics? Are there areas the mentee consistently avoids? Is there advice the mentee is resistant to consider?
Then when I sought out quotes I could share along with this article I found the two that bookend this text. These quotes expanded my scope of what secrets are hidden around us all.
Considering the Roald Dahl quote and hidden magic: Magic is defined as "the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces." Putting the believability of supernatural forces aside, the quote is about you being an active participant in finding wonderment at what happens around you. Staying open and curious ("watching with glittering eyes") is the key to finding this magic and being able to create a space for your mentee to feel safe giving up their 'secrets'. This is not something that you can fake or easily turn on just for your mentoring conversations. It's an overall approach to life that others, including your mentee, will sense and respond to positively. And if curiosity and wonderment are things you consider yourself poorly skilled at it's actually something you can significantly improve on by simply practicing (click for related article)!
The Mike Murdock quote below, just as in the wisdom of Roald Dahl, is one that applies to all of us - mentor or not. We may all have big dreams and big plans to get there but what makes up a life is the little bit we focus on and achieve day to day. And yet our daily routine is rarely something we are conscience of which literally makes it hidden from us. It's like commuting to work and not remembering how you got there because it's become rote. Our day to day activities pass unnoticed and we essentially fall into a walking slumber going through our daily motions. It would be devastating then to fully awaken one day horrified at where we ended up.
Here's something that I do to counter that danger and ensure that my day to day activities support my intended path: Once or twice each year I decide to break up my routine. Usually this happens on a weekend. I spend my day alone and in a manner that's unusual for me. If I've never gone to a particular library or coffee shop then I'll go there. While I'm there I review how I've spent my recent days. I ask myself if the actions I've been taking day to day are pushing or pulling me on my desired direction.
By being in a "strange" new surrounding my brain thinks differently. It's amazing how changing your surroundings and taking the time to simply ponder impacts your thought processes. This allows new ideas to come to the fore. That's precisely what happens when you go on vacation and why vacations are so important.
All these secrets, whether they are yours or your mentee's, are extraordinary ones to reveal with curiosity and amazement. Awaken yourself, discover and process them for they hold the keys to your future.
"The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine."
- Mike Murdock