Yes, I have a mentor . . . or two, or three - but one that is actually called, in all official capacity, my mentor. His name is Alan Stevens and I tell you now, he has been a great inspiration to me (and will continue to do so). You see, Alan has been in the business of public speaking for over 20 years, he knows the "ins and outs" and he has no qualms in sharing this knowledge with others. To have a mentor (or two or three) is to acknowledge that you only know what you know, and that to get ahead you have to constantly learn from those that have come before you. Alan has walked the track, knows the pitfalls and the successes and I am lucky that he is willing to share his bucket loads of knowledge with me and others. Do you have a mentor? If not, I highly recommend finding one asap - mentors = knowledge = growth.
So, what does insomnia have to do with mentors? Do mentors cause insomnia?
My mentor has caused me insomnia . . . but in a very, very good way. You see, a few weeks ago I was down in London for a speaking gig that was organised by Alan's lovely wife Heather. It would be the first time that Alan would see me speak and I was very nervous - but this wasn't what caused my insomnia! After I did my talk, Alan drove me back to Kings Cross Station and gave me some much needed feedback - both positive and critical. But he also gave me ideas, ideas on how I could improve my speaking range and one of these ideas has been the cause of my insomnia.
An Ideas Journal . . . an ideas journal has been keeping me awake at nights!! Perhaps it is residual from my swimming days, but I do have a very GOOD habit of visualising what I have to do - in this case speaking. I can be daydreaming, laying in bed, driving???!!! and I will be visualising a talk. How I speak, what I speak about, how the audience will react, how I will adapt to the audience, how I will incorporate "dramatics" (i.e., acting) into my talks. Anyway, since my talk with Alan I have been developing an Ideas journal and in this ideas journal I write down any quotes, snippets of conversations, events that happen, memories, or inspired epiphanies that leap into my thought processes. I seem to have developed a habit of having inspired epiphanies at night, just as I am about to pop off to the land of nod. So there I am, dragging my eyes open, grabbing my pen and paper (or iphone) and scribbling the thought down. Then, the idea that I scribble down triggers other thoughts that have to be recorded, and so on and so forth. Insomnia . . . mentors . . . inspired epiphanies!
I have been very busy over the past few weeks speaking in lot's and lot's of schools. Schools are one of my favourite places to speak because the students have so much potential shining out of them, they really are the next generation and they should be motivated and inspired to do their best! However, I have noticed that one particular part of my talk seems to capture their imagination, this is the part where I talk about the creative mind when approaching life.
The story I tell them is funny and sweet, but illustrates perfectly my point of cultivating a limitless, creatively free approach to life -
When I was two, before I received my first prosthetic leg, I used to have an issue in getting around. To get from A to B I would have to be carried and this would prove very frustrating for independent little me. However, even at the age of two I started to show an ingenious approach to my environment. You see, I saw my big brother riding on his skateboard . . .
Suffice to say, his skateboard soon became mine! I had discovered a creative means of getting from A to B. I could sit or lay (my favourite) on the skateboard and push myself along. Problem solved!
This creative thinking has only developed further as I have gotten older. I look at a potential problem and I don't think "nope, can't do it," I think "okay, how can I adapt myself or the environment to achieve this outcome." In keeping ones mind open to possibilities one goes on to live a rather full life!! It is this that I hope to have gotten across to the kids I have spoken to - and they seemed to get a kick out of the image of a two year old, limb deficient girl pushing herself around on a light blue skateboard (with funky red wheels) to get from that A to B.
BUT, just because you are an adult, and not a kid, doesn't mean you also can't embrace your ingenious, creative mind. We all have one, it's just a matter of, do you access it, or do you let it lay dormant. Wake it up peeps!! Get those creative juices flowing, don't let obstacles prevent you from achieving you goals (dreams, targets, time). Problems really are just creative opportunities waiting to be tackled!