As someone who has been a classically trained musician since age four and in general obsessed with her growth and potential as a human, mentorship has been and will always be bread and butter in my life.
Growing up I had a private piano teacher, a batting coach, a pitching coach, a French horn teacher and swim coach. For most of my life, I’ve had at least three mentors, coaches or teachers at a time. Each is valuable and each served or is serving a powerful purpose.
In my early twenties when I was broke as a joke, I mowed my teachers’ lawns, transcribed lectures, babysat, and even once painted a whole porch in August heat in exchange for lessons and coaching. I did whatever I could to receive mentorship.
As I’ve aged and evolved, the type of coaches, teachers and mentors have changed. I now have mentors for specific skills and crafts. Other mentors of mine support me in my life holistically. These days I can invest monetarily rather than by trade.
The seasons of my life have evolved and changed, but what remains the same is that mentorship is a pillar in my life. It’s a given. I seek it out.
Why? Because mentorship has changed and continues to change my life for the better.
Mentorship is choosing growth, guidance and experts who hold me high to level up. It’s honoring and absorbing wisdom of those who walked a similar path. It’s asking for and receiving support.
These people shine a light on my opportunities to expand, open my mind to new horizons and stoke the fire of my greatness.
It is mentorship that has supported my success in every single area of my life - music, business, relationships, health, money, mindfulness, yoga and simply living my truth and potential on this planet.
There is no way I would be where I am today without my amazing mentors. Absolutely no way!
I am forever grateful to my mentors. Some of whom, I know are reading this. To you, you know who you are, I say a deep thank you.
One of the values I seek to pass along to students of my own and the entire next generation is this value of mentorship. In the era of google and fierce individualism, I still believe there is no replacement for a human with wisdom, experience and energy that they are willing to share and pass along.
That being said, with twenty five years of experience of investing in teachers, mentors and coaches I have also had less-than-amazing mentors. Not all teachers and coaches are created equal.
Like one of my yoga teachers said, “Not everyone becomes an elder, some people just get old.”
A huge reason why I began Mindful Music and felt it was important was a result of toxic teaching experiences I had in the classical music world. Because of this I had a deep desire to shift the culture using mindfulness. I joke that I don’t need to watch Whiplash - I actually received that story in my own life.
Outside of music, I have also experienced coaches that ultimately did not have my best interest at heart. I have even experienced and witnessed damaging teachers and mentors, if you can believe it, in the mindfulness and yoga spaces.
These experiences in my life took me a while to sort out. As a performer, I innately know that growth happens outside of comfort zones.
Coming out of the classical music world, learning discernment between expansion and toxicity in this area took me a few tries. These two ideals had been intertwined in my life for decades.
They were painful. They felt like sandpaper on my soul. These no-so-amazing mentorship moments led to my mindfulness practice as I sought ways to heal from them.
And yet, I still believe. I believe in the power of coaching, teaching and mentorship. Because it has changed my life! And continues to.
Today I seek to pay it forward through what I have learned about choosing a mentor the past 25 years. I will not throw the babies out with the bathwater!
Instead, I’ll share what I believe are green lights and red lights in the process of shopping for and choosing a teacher, coach or mentor.
Whether you are a parent seeking a teacher for your child or on the lookout for a coach of your own, may this empower you in choosing an amazing mentor in whatever vessel you seek it.
My guess is that at the end of the day, you just want to work with someone who cares, is proficient and is an awesome energetic match!
Regardless of if you or your child ever work with me in a teaching or coaching container, it’s my intention that these learnings can support you in finding a fit that creates the ecosystem, results and most importantly, integrity-based mentorship that you deserve and desire.
They have a clear teaching and mentorship philosophy.
If a mentor you are considering has a clear philosophy and leadership goals, this is a great sign! This means they care and their care is being reflected in their work. They have considered and designed a specific way of carrying out their craft. This shows that they likely do not go through the motions. If they have taken the time and consideration to share and speak about their philosophy, they most likely actually carry it out.
They embody empowerment.
Many people speak about empowerment and not everyone actually embodies it. Embodied empowering leaders make you feel empowered even as you first speak to them and experience their website. They provide you with information about what they do, the type of mentorship they provide and details about what type of experience they offer.
Beyond that, you are empowered in your choice of if you will work with them. You do not feel pressured in the process. They also clearly outline the tangible ways in which their mentorship is an empowering and autonomous experience that adds to you or your child’s life. Their philosophies are expressed through processes, values and crafts that you or your child will learn They send you to yourself with tools and information, rather than imposing what they think you should do.
They have shown that it’s a safe space to share concerns.
One of the biggest green lights I received in investing with a coach was sharing them right off the bat that I was nervous about getting a coach. I shared my concerns and outlined what would be a great coaching experience for me. The way they listened and showed up built trust. They were honest about what their coaching was and wasn’t.
To date, that coaching experience was one of the most integrous and expansive mentorship experiences I’ve ever had. Share every single concern you’ve got with the potential mentor! How they show up in that conversation will tell you a lot.
They welcome and encourage questions.
A wonderful mentor loves questions and independent thinking! If they want you to just take their word for it, I would say it’s time to bounce. This harkens back to the empowerment being embodied. Ask away! You get to feel clear and explore the questions you’ve got.
They give time to talk with you.
An awesome mentor knows that you don’t know them! They are excited to give time to talk with you, hear about what you are looking for and give you an opportunity to get to know them. An amazing mentor is excited to connect, learn and build trust with you as a potential client.
A quality mentor will also be feeling things out for themselves! They love working with clients that are a good fit, just like you love working with a mentor that’s a good fit.
They have experience and expertise.
Whether they’ve got degrees, life experience, a plethora of testimonials or a combination of all three - a great mentor is proficient and well respected in their zone of expertise. Look at their website, YouTube them, explore their social media and see what you find. A wonderful mentor will have both expertise in their craft itself and in the art of teaching their craft too.
Want to know more about their experience and expertise? An awesome mentor will be happy to provide references.
They love sharing about their vision and why.
An amazing mentor will be giddy about their vision and why they do what they do. They will have a bigger why and be excited to share it with you. When they talk about what they do - it’s very clear to you that they have a deeper why beyond the nuts and bolts of the services they offer. The will cast a vision about what’s possible for you.
This demonstrates heart-centered leadership and is a big green light.
They want what’s best for you - even if that means not working with them!
I’ve talked with potential mentors that have given it to me straight and it’s a game changer. They have shared that my business is not at the point yet where working together makes sense or they give me the names of different music teachers that are a better fit for my level and goals. This is all one big green light.
Similarly, in the mentor role myself, I have passed on potential clients to other teachers and coaches when I know what I’m offering or what I do is not a good fit for them.
A great mentor has your best interest at heart and is happy to point you toward the right person. If this happens, it’s extremely likely that the person you are referred to will also be of high quality too!
They focus on your pain points.
There is a difference between speaking into the gaps of present day and what’s possible, and focusing on pain. If they are fixated on what’s wrong, instead of what could go right, pay attention to that. If they are constantly sending you back to problems rather than offering solutions, pay attention to that.
If they are highlighting your pain or lack - they likely will be selling you on that. This is a problem.
Find a mentor who casts a vision for your potential, pleasure and the amazing things that you can do. If they see you as a victim, it will not be an empowering or healthy experience.
They don’t want you to have other teachers.
This was something I ran into a lot in the classical music space. Yes, sometimes it can be confusing to have multiple layers of input in one craft at a time. However, if a teacher only wants you to study with them - notice that.
This likely points to ego or dogma somewhere in the mix. This makes it about them, the teacher, rather than about you the student. This is a red light. Amazing mentorship is about the student, client or mentee.
If a teacher or coach is noticeably undercharging, I would ask the question, why? Pricing is an energetic frequency and speaks to how much they believe in their offerings, their expertise, their vision and their energy.
Having a mentor that charges a rate in alignment means that they value having a full cup to show up with for their clients. This means, you! This says so much about what kind of experience they will create with you.
If they undercharge, they likely burnout often and are uncomfortable asking for what they want. Do you want mentorship from someone who undervalues themselves and is burned out?
They rush you to make a decision.
Sharing that they have limited spaces available is different than leaning into lack or scarcity. If you feel rushed to make a decision about whether you’ll work with a teacher or coach, this could be a red light.
Do you feel empowered and excited? Or, do you feel like they’re pressuring you to sign up? Is it frantic energy or calm?
In the answers to those questions, you will find a red or green light.
They offer services without a greater vision.
If the main information you receive from a potential mentor is all of the nuts and bolts of their services without any deeper why or vision, this is likely a red light.
This could mean a few things. Maybe they haven’t thought about their why, maybe they’re just a teacher who shows up and goes through the motions, or perhaps they have a deeper why, but they just don’t feel confident in it.
When you invest in a mentor, coach or teacher - this is you investing in yourself. Yes, you’re signing up for piano, or soccer, or mindfulness skills, but what you’re really doing is leveling up either your kid’s or your own entire being.
An amazing mentor will know and be confident in how their services fit into a greater vision. They will have a holistic view of why their services matter.
You get to have both - the nuts and bolts and the greater vision.
They pause and hesitate when you ask about why they do what they do.
I would highly recommend to anyone seeking a coach, teacher or mentor for themselves or their kids to ask the question, “Why do you do what you do?” or “Why do you care?”.
Hesitation or weird energy around this question is a red light. Amazing mentors will be extremely clear on this and excited to share it with you! They will not need to think about it. It will be embodied.
Something just doesn’t feel right.
I can’t highlight this red light enough!!
When you are seeking mentorship for yourself or your child, be aware of your intuition and energy. If something feels “off” trust yourself.
I can’t tell you how many times when I was younger I entered mentorship spaces with world renowned teachers and ignored my gut because of their status. Something felt off, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew.
Fast forward - I was right. There were things that were out of alignment with what I needed or just straight up integrity that were revealed later on.
Trust yourself! 1:1 mentorship is a sacred space that requires trust, integrity and safety. If you feel that ping - bounce.
Fully equipped with green lights and red lights to navigate the journey of choosing a mentor, I invite you to begin!
Mentorship is by far one of the most important things I get to both give and receive. It’s passing the torch, it’s expansion, it’s going after life with reverence and gusto.
It’s soaking up and gaining wisdom. It’s also the amazing magic of asking for and receiving the support that we all need.
And in my opinion, you and your child deserve the absolute best when it comes to a mentor.
Get clear on what you seek and then shop away!
May these green lights, red lights and your inner voice guide the way. Whether you ever work with me as a teacher or coach, it’s my deepest intention that these lights can illuminate your path to the amazing mentor that will help you or your child expand and shine your unique light.
Mindful Muse Offerings:
Each and every Friday I will be offering a 12pm CDT yoga class via zoom. Classes will be a medium level vinyasa, 1 hour in length, have 48 hour replay access and have a theme.
Reg Drop In: $22, Artist Drop In: $11
Click here to register for this week’s class, “You’re a Vibe” - Friday 6/4 at 12pm CDT. Reach out to me directly to claim the artist rate.
“How music equips kids for life” - 6/8 - FREE TALK
I will hosting a free talk and presentation on how music equips kids for life on Tuesday 6/8 through Lakeview Pediatrics here in Chicago. If you’d love to learn more about my philosophy and how it helps all kids be successful in all areas - come check it out. I’ll be doing a special mindfulness offer for parents as part of it. Caregivers need mindfulness too! Replay available if you can’t come live.
Register for the free talk here! Link will be sent one hour before we begin.
Moon Magic Meditations - Beginning 6/10
This eight session meditation experience exists to learn about, co-create and meditate with the phases of the moon cycle. The moon literally moves the ocean, so why wouldn’t she move us? Eight live meditations and learning about the moon begin on the New Moon and Solar Eclipse - 6/10. To join, all you need is interest and desire. No meditation experience required! Registration link coming soon.
Halftime Pulse Check - FREE MASTERCLASS - 6/15 at 7p CDT
How are your 2021 goals going? Are you creating them? Do you feel stuck, unmotivated or just want a space to check in? I’m giving a free masterclass on 6/15 all on mindful empowerment and achieving your goals! Check the pulse on your dreams. Are they alive or DOA? Come to class to revive your goals or raise them to new heights. Registration link coming soon.
1:1 Teaching and Coaching:
Mentorship experiences with me include my signature Divine Design coaching, Mindful Music piano lessons and private/semi-private yoga classes. These are high touch experiences that are designed to hold you or your child high!
*Spaces very limited*
In the bullpen:
Keep an eye out for Father’s Day yoga on 6/20 and Astro Party Yoga on 6/22 later in June!
Sending you into your day with green lights, red lights and momentum toward the mentor, moments and life that you desire! Shop away, you empowered soul.
In love, expansion and pursuit of a better world,