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by Donna Bennett
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March 2011 Archives

New Times/New Wisdom

Who have you turned to when faced with tough decisions? When life-changing choices have stopped you in your tracks? Who has inspired you in times of doubt or shared timely wisdom when you were confused? Who have you strived to emulate? Are those same people a fit with who and where you are today?

As you enter a new phase of life, and make adjustments for how you want to live and spend your time, are they the right mentors/advisors to inspire your new dreams, new journeys, and new directions?

This may be the time to stop and evaluate your needs as they evolve and change. As you move from full time to part-time work, exhume your creativity, express your compassion in volunteer work, or try on a new career, what advice, counsel, support, and wisdom will you need? You may want to check in with your current mentors/advisors, letting them know your current needs/goals, and asking them if they are willing and able to join you on your new journey. Or it may be time to move on, while also honoring the ways in which they have served you in the past.

New times call for new strategies and new wisdom.

The key, as stated earlier, is in self-evaluation. While you may not have had time or inclination in the past, at this stage of life it is essential to have a full understanding of who you are, what you need, and the direction you want to take. If you are stuck and unsure, reaching out to new mentors/advisors may be the place to begin.

How will you find them? Think of people you know or whom others know who may be good sources for your current area of need and/or interests. Choose people that have the experience, background, and/or knowledge that fit with your current status.
People want to help. Most importantly, you must let them know how they can help.

What is the best way to approach a potential mentor/advisor? Begin at the place you presently find yourself. If you primarily want someone to lend an ear and no more, then ask for that. If you want advice or counsel, be specific.

Sample questions:

• What skills do you see in me that would make a good substitute teacher?

• I've always wanted to write, but don't think I would be any good. What would you suggest I do to get past this barrier?

• I want to volunteer but want to give no more than a few hours. How do I learn to say 'no' appropriately?

• What classes would you suggest to enhance my learning in technology?

Wherever you are in your planning, and whether you are looking to the future or are currently immersed in the joys and fears of the new unknown, thinking about, choosing, and asking people you want for wise helpers is a good action at any stage in life.