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Motivation: Search Out Mentors

© 2007, Artist Career Training

You can now listen to the Tip-of- the-Week!

Every successful entrepreneur has people who support them. 

Mentors are one source of support, and can be a great shot in the arm when you're unsure about your next move or simply need an ear. Building relationships with mentors opens doors that you would not be able to unlock on your own.  Good mentors share access to people and resources as well as provide you with feedback about the art world and the issues you face.

Mentoring benefits both people involved. Contrary to the notion of "give & take," the best mentoring is "give & get." Author Marsha Sinetar describes mentors as "artists of encouragement who help us discover what is unique about our calling in life and help us pursue it." Most mentors have a deep love for their subject and have often been the recipients of mentoring themselves. They love to teach others for the pure joy of it.

Mentors are everywhere, and they do not come in one-size fits all. You can approach a businessperson you admire, or an artist who has succeeded on a level that you want to reach. Art instructors you know, arts associations or councils you belong to are also good sources.

To find a mentor, or to become one, start with a little self-reflection:

➢ What is working well in your art career? Your answer tells you what you are ready to pass on to others.

➢ What is not working well in your art career? Your questions and doubts are what to explore with others.

Next, prepare for action:

➢ Who do you know who has a mentor? Referrals are a good place to start your search.

➢Write out what you want from the mentor relationship, including the why and how. That way when you meet, or are referred, you know what to say.

Early in his art career, Bruce K. Haley Jr. approached photographers he admired to become his mentors. Ask Bruce about the mentor who fired him for "knowing too much" and who has become a close friend and co-teacher. Now, both do their part in nurturing the relationship.  And Bruce is "paying it forward" by mentoring artists in the A.C.T. TeleClass "10 tips for Success as a Professional Artist."

Once you find a mentor:

➢Thank all of the people who helped you. And remember to thank the mentor.

If you are really and truly serious about staying up to date yourself, plan on becoming a mentor.
It's a growth strategy for everyone involved.

Aletta de Wal, Artist Advisor has a track record of helping even reticent artists find their gifts for others.  

With the knowledge and support you get from Artist Career Training
you'll save time, effort and money.  We gather all the information you
need to market your art and build your art career so that you can make
money and get back to doing what you love - making more art.


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Reader Comments (2)

Obviously, I can attest to the validity to what you've said, Aletta. My mentor, noted nature photographer Jim Clark, was all that and more as my mentor. Actually, he still promotes me whenever he can. His friendship is one that I will always treasure.

As I said in an earlier post, it isn't all about the creative process. It's also about the people that we meet along the way who have an effect on our lives as well as the people effect. "Passing it on..." is one of the most rewarding things we can do as an artist.
November 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBruce K. Haley, Jr.
I so agree. Creative processes are about who we are inside, how we view the world and the method we find to express it. When a mentor connects to that life on the inside of us to the extent that they can respond to it with enhancing guidance...well there is no greater satisfaction.
Mentoring is a synergistic event. An event that has the potential to multiply both people involved.
As a leader in a local volunteer group we often say, "We can't do it without you." Yes art can be accomplished, but it won't be the same without just the right people to speak into our lives.
November 15, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Riche

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