I don’t actually know how well you can perform as your own mentor, but I do know that most of us feel we have to take on this role. We have no other real-life mentor to turn to. Some artists and writers have had special teachers along the way. Still, it’s very rare to find an older, successful artist/teacher who is willing and able to help you along the path as you develop over time.
Instead we mostly have a teacher here or there. We encounter a wise friend or colleague who helps us over a tough patch or shares a game-changing technique with us. Perhaps we take an ecourse or read a great book or have a fabulous residency opportunity.
So from these bits and pieces we become educated, develop our skills, expand our horizons.
But we ourselves are the only ones who see our entire journey as it unwinds. We are the only ones who hold the overarching idea of where we started, where we went along the way, and where we are now.
So how do we find the next bits of wisdom? How do you teach yourself what you don’t know? How do you access knowledge you don’t know exists?
I think the best answer may be to knock on as many doors as we can find. Be on the lookout for interesting people, new experiences, work that inspires us. Try something new when we are able.
I don’t know if that really means we are mentoring ourselves. But it might be as close as we can come.