Recently I attended the ballet. I saw work by one of my authenticity mentors, choreographer Twyla Tharp. From my seat, and in the span of about forty minutes, I was inspired and jolted by her work, The Upper Room (music by Phillip Glass). The experience left me transformed.
I left the theater with ideas for my work, a renewed call to add more dance to my exercise routine, and a fresh way of seeing, hearing and perceiving.
I consider Ms. Tharp one of my authenticity mentors. I have plenty of others, like Frida Kahlo, Mother Theresa, my grandmothers and HH Dalai Lama. Authenticity mentors are people who embody themselves and their lives wholeheartedly and are examples, chosen by you, of what it means (for you) to be really real.
They may have a strong identity, a sturdy moral compass or a unique way of being, and you connect with them, seeing them as a mentor. Your authenticity mentors may be your coach, your rabbi, a teacher or advisor. They may be an artist, a writer or an organic farmer. They may be living or dead.
Authenticity mentors help keep you true to yourself.
The roles of authenticity mentors
While you may derive myriad benefits from your authenticity mentors, I’ve found the following functions of mentors to be especially important:
Authenticity mentor as muse.
In Greek mythology, muses are goddesses of inspiration. In modern life, we think that muses inspire artists and writers, but the truth is that anyone can be moved and motivated by a muse.
Your authenticity mentor/s may inspire you to design a new product, try a new recipe or volunteer for a cause. Inspiration comes from the Latin, inspirare, which means “to breathe into.”
Where are you receiving the gift of breath from your authenticity mentors?
Authenticity mentor as light shiner.
When you’ve lost your way, landed at the bottom or are staring at the darkness, an authenticity mentor is an angel with a flashlight. They can direct your vision to what you’ve been unable to see, like a lighthouse or a laser.
Where are you obscured by darkness and who can shine a light for you?
Authenticity mentor as ass kicker.
I’m not a proponent of forceful motivation, preferring a gentler, more loving approach. However, a kick in the keister can be delivered lovingly and may be the perfect thing to get you back on track to your really real.
In the role of ass kicker, your authenticity mentor can help dislodge you from a funk, spark your energy (and imagination) or move your procrastination into action.
Where are you needing a boost?
Leading by being
Authenticity is something that is naturally attractive. It is the truth of that person. Our authenticity mentors serve us simply by being uniquely, authentically themselves. Their beingness is a form of leadership for living really real. They help us in our journey to our true self.
Who are your authenticity mentors? How do they support you as your true self?
P.S.: The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp is one of the best books ever. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a CPA, a poet, a painter or a marketing maven, this book is indispensable for living life in an authentic, creative way.