Mentoring Your Aspirations

Aspirations exert their power when you feel that you are ready for taking on what comes next.

Aspiration pushes you out of your accustomed ways of doing things, and draws you toward more expansive and more encompassing ways to engage your life. Aspirations are so compelling that you cannot ignore them or postpone dealing with them any longer. Aspirations drive you to reassess your values, your vocation, your relationships, your very place on this earth.

This can be a scary place to be — and an utterly thrilling and exciting one at the same time.

Aspirations reach into your sense of well being, into aspects of your life that far exceed concerns about that promotion, or that new job. Aspirations touch upon the very sense of how you need to show up in the world, what you offer to do, what concerns you commit to addressing.They never stop pressing you to consider futures in ways that shine with words like “More, next, must…”

All of these affects are vague and unsettling, and yet they push their way to the light. And one of the ways they do that is in conversations with the mentor. The mentor is that one person who cares about nothing more than your aspirations. The mentor, as far as you are concerned, cares for nothing else but your aspirations.

The mentor is “your friend to come.” Those are the words of the philosopher Jacques Derrida. They describe the mentor because this person is paving the way for new people to come into your life and for you to meet people in new ways. The mentor provides you with the friend who abides with you as you shape that new self.

The mentoring process I have devised consists of a strict course of mentoring aspirations. It consists of six to eight conversations that provide a framework in which you discover and articulate your aspirations.

My research has developed a process that maps out aspirations according to purely aspiring roles that have taken shape in Western culture: leader, artist, prophet, and mystic. By situating your aspirations in one or several of these roles, the feelings, drives, frustrations and enthusiasms your aspirations incite become comprehendible: you can work with them, study others who have aspired in similar ways, chart courses of action (careers and vocations) that fit best with, that allow for the flourishing of these aspiring roles in your life.