How to Mentor Yourself

I was having a music lesson with my professor of music, Fritz Kaenzig during my first year of my first Master’s degree in music education and performance at the University of Illinois. I had just played a phrase for him and he asked me what I thought. I paused and thought, and then Fritz said:

“You’ll be your longest surviving teacher, so my goal is to help you be able to teach yourself”

This comment has stuck with me since that day and is an unspoken personal mantra for myself. Today I reference this as mentoring yourself. This is not to say that we should mentor our self instead of having other mentors.

I’m talking about mentoring yourself in addition to being mentored and mentoring others.

Here are the key elements to mentoring yourself, which have worked wonders for me and with those whom this information has been shared:

Life Long Mantra

This would be the big picture thoughts and self-talk. The impact is real and yet may not have any visible short term impact. However, without these kinds of ongoing thoughts and spoken words, we increase our chances of falling victim to burnout and seeing adversity as simply a roadblock.

Here are some of my own mantras and are based on my own personal experiences. While you are welcome to use these, I encourage you to consider making this personal for you own sense of relevance and personal inspiration.

  • Everything I touch turns to gold
  • Everything in here (my mind) can be out there (become a reality)
  • Risk with your ideas and energy
  • Go from I can to I am
  • I am a champion
  • Of course I can
  • Watch and enjoy

Breath Breaks

This is much more concrete. In order to help ourselves manage stress and engage adversity as a learning ally, we must be able to gain control over our body and mind. Specifically, we need to be able to improve how we breathe.

  • Check out this blog of mine on breathing specific to dealing with emotional stress.
  • Check out this blog of mine on how to reimagine your daily breathing.

Beauty Breaks

So… “beauty” can be defined in many ways. I’m not defining this in terms of glamour or what has been commercialized as beauty. I’m talking about the beauty in the simple pleasures of life. Here is what I do:

I take a minute every once in a while on most days and I notice the beauty which is all around me. When I first started doing this it was when my mom and Nana pointed out beautiful things around when I was very young. Today, this is just something I do. Here are some examples:

I notice nature:

  • Size
  • Patterns
  • Fragrances
  • Color
  • Light
  • Shadows

Why beauty, you might ask? Mentoring ourselves and others is as much about the quality of our existence as it is with anything else. Noticing beauty impacts your energy and how you vibe. It also lowers stress levels, which improves your immune system.

There is more, but I suggest you start with those three simple ones.

Cheers and enjoy the ride!


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