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Mentors, Teachers and Sponsors...(A blog)

For a while I've been reflecting on the importance of building a personal network of success. The goal seems to be creating and maintaining personal relationships with people that recognize your potential. Often times they see things in you that you might not even notice. Our peers play a significant role in our development, but I've noticed these three categories (mentors, teachers and sponsors) also play essential parts in helping us along the way. Teachers- These are the people we directly learn from. We are often under their tutelage for a specific purpose. The teacher's role is to discover where a student is in their development, meet them there, and find ways to expand the horizons of what was previously believed to be possible. In my opinion this relationship is more transactional than the others(but no less important).

Sponsors- These are the people we infrequently interact with, but we can pick up the phone to reach them at any time. One day I was walking around the house repeating one of my favorite song lyrics,"It's not what you know, but who you know..." My wife, in her sage wisdom added,"It's actually deeper than that... It's also about who can positively speak on your behalf." She is absolutely right! How many people can positively speak to your ability to do a particular job/gig? That's a real question worth considering. Sponsors are the people who can make a phone call to facilitate an introduction, make a favorable recommendation, or leverage their good name to open doors that were just beyond you at a particular time.

Mentors- These are the genuine connections that develop over a lifetime of trust and mutual respect. These relationships are the most special because of the time investment factor. There's an understanding that resides in the fact that our mentors are so valuable because in a real sense they've been where we're trying to go. In sharing their knowledge, perspective is given, and we grow by this association. Mentors have a personal stake in watching you become your personal best, and go above and beyond to assist in whatever way possible. These categories are never cut and dry, and life's interactions usually sift these relationships organically(which is the best way to allow them to flow anyway...) Either way, these are the thoughts that came to me while I stumbled across some photos from my time at The Juilliard School, and I thought I'd share...

(QFiles along with bassists, Ray Drummond, and Ben Wolfe)


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