Walter Isaacson’s novel about Leonardo DaVinci is in part, a 15th century version of networking, and learning from the people around you.  Peeling back the layers of DaVinci’s life, we see that he surrounded himself with stimulating peers and mentors.  Some were much older than he was at the time, but they shared their expertise, their curiosities, and their techniques for getting ahead. Since DaVinci was curious about practically everything, he made it his business to learn things he didn’t know, which gave him deeper insight into his greater vision.

Consider DaVinci’s, Mona Lisa. We don’t know much about her, but her remarkable image has never been forgotten. She influences our perceptions as we imagine the reason for her smile. In nearly every time and culture, people, who accomplished great things, had to stand on the shoulders of those who came before them.  They managed to thrive because of the input they received from others like themselves. Today’s artist in any genre needs a mentor, a guide, a critique partner and a generous source of inspiration. We need a Mona Lisa.

Have you put your life dream or your life work on hold? Is technology leaving you in the dust? Is social media making you downright antisocial?  Mentoring others helps you re-imagine your own goals.

If your hope is to get your voice heard, then reach out to those around you.  Your voice is unique.  No one else thinks exactly the way you do. No one else perceives problems or offers solutions the way you can each time you are willing and able to let your light shine.

Your workplace, or even your local small group brings opportunities for you to encourage strategic thinking and creativity.   likewise, you need others who recognize and foster what you do, to help you grow and develop new skills. When you mentor others, you help to change the future.

Younger mentors may guide you through the weeds of technology and social media.  Seasoned mentors may teach you valuable lessons about timing and sensitivity and the advantage of having a sense of humor.  Somebody helped those who wanted to thrive in ever generation before you, and somebody will help you too.  You already know potential mentors who would love to see your talents and skills be more broadly recognized.

Mentoring begins with you and one other person that you trust to offer an honest perspective.  Just look at your skill sets and determine how you can help each other thrive.

Perhaps part of the reason the Mona Lisa could smile was that she knew who she was in her world.  She knew people would be smiling back at her for centuries. She was indeed a Renaissance woman!

What can you do this year to help one other writer or artist grow and accomplish our goals?