At the age of 16, I was like most other kids, lost, confused and not too sure what the future held for me. School was a bore; girls were interesting but the ones I liked most were way more intimidating than they should have been; and then there were the bullies, the young men that seemed to rule the high school by scaring the crap out of everyone around them. Oh, the memories.
It was about this same time that I started my first job working as a bagger at the local grocery store. This is where I met my first Yoda. His name was Kerry and he was one of the store’s managers.
Kerry took me under his wing and taught me everything I needed to know about the grocery industry. But his teachings didn’t stop there. He introduced me to hiking, river running, the martial arts, philosophy, and so much more. Kerry’s influence is what led me to going skydiving when I turned 17.
Kerry helped me build confidence. He showed me that being vulnerable was part of life. He allowed me to see fear for what it was and accept it.
Kerry was the first of many Yodas in my life. Others have included Shelly (my mentor during the first three years of teaching), Nancy (the principal that pushed me to be the best teacher I could be), Roger/Bret (the men who hired me for my first marketing job), Christy/Kim/Helen/Martha/Helen (professors and friends during my graduate school that helped me achieve a long time dream), and most recently David/Rich (the Yodas I am learning from today).
Who’s Your Yoda?
Let me break the news to you – you need a Yoda in your life. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can make it without one. Are you looking for a Yoda? Here are 3 approaches to take.
- Around You Look – the easiest and most relevant thing to do is to look for your Yoda where you work or hang out most of the time. More often than not, there is someone within your organization that is more than willing to share his/her wisdom.
- From Outside Seek – perhaps you don’t have a Yoda nearby or you are looking to change-up your path in life. Wonderful! Then did in deep, figure out what you want and then seek out someone who can help. You might be surprised by how willing people are to mentor those who really want something badly enough.
- Wisdom in Books Seek – when all else fails, there is a simple solution – the trust book. Don’t like to read? Tough. Find an author that specializes in the field you are interested in and devour his/her books. Read. Reread. Test and try. Books are amazing because they offer you an opportunity to learn and grow in the comfort of your own home. They are cheaper than a college education and way more convenient.
Who is your Yoda? How did you find her? What kind of impact has she made in your life?