They were important in my mind at the moment. It was 2 years after John Lennon was murdered, I had just read On Walden Pond and I was always fascinated by Jacques Cousteau's achievements in marine research and conservation. I don't remember the rest of the exercise, or how any of the other students responded.
I've used elements of this exercise in my personal and spiritual development. A few years later, I had changed the list a few times, adding spiritual leaders, deep thinkers, historical figures, and artists.
I've taken this exercise a step further. A few of my mentors have a 'hero's wall', with photos of people who have influenced them over the years; people they look to for inspiration. Wayne Dyer said that he kept the photos on the wall in his study and referred to them daily.
Now, I keep my ultimate mentors in mind, to ask for support and call on when I need inspiration or advice.
I find this a helpful tool; I have an entire entourage of mentors that I can pull up at a moment's notice. Of course, I still use John Lennon for reference, but I've added Mother Theresa, St. Francis, Joan of Arc, Albert Einstein, John Steinbeck, Martin Luther King, Michelangelo, Pythagoras, Hildegard von Bingen, and more recent mystics and great minds for assistance when I get stuck. They are always available for us, whether or not they appear directly, the essence they have left behind is available for us in the form of wisdom.
Many recent lightworkers refer to this as connecting to our board of directors. I like to call them my ultimate mentors. It feels more like sitting at dinner or on a park bench having a chat.
Lately, I've been connecting to my dead rock stars for help in my creativity. Freddie Mercury reminds me to be authentic to my true nature. Jimi Hendrix helps me to experiment with new ideas. David Bowie tells me to decide what I want and not to accept less than my standards, John Lennon inspires me to hold my vision. Above all, I reach out to Janis Joplin when I want to remember to reach into my soul, be genuine, and not compare to anyone else.
Early in my coaching practice, I met with a fellow coach as we practiced a metaphoric tool. The tool has always been helpful to find insight we don't always have access to readily. We pulled up some of her favorite artists. Salvador Dali reminded her to tune into her own creativity and individual style for inspiration. He had a great message for her. Now, 5 years later, she still tunes into Dali for inspiration when she gets stuck.
You can choose who you want for your ultimate mentors and you can change them around as much as you like. The 'mentor' doesn't have to be an ideal role model, as long as they have some admirable qualities, and you can focus on any element in their profile.
You can also add school teachers or mentors of your youth, relatives on the other side, or anyone who can help you with a particularly tough spot. Think of anyone you admire: Maya Angelou, Stephen Hawking, Bessie Smith, Sir Edmond Hillary, Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison...
Try it out. They can be as real as you want them to be.
Ask them a few questions and see what comes up. Have fun with it. Let me know how it goes for you.
If you're interested in learning the tool, I'll be happy to set up a time to work it with you. Just hit reply to this message, and I will send you the link.
Even once in awhile, when I'm in a really cynical mood, and feeling quite bold, I call on Mark Twain to inspire me with a witty comeback.