In the December/January 2004 issue of Working Mother magazine, there's an interesting article called "Seek and Find A Mentor" by Claire Witcomb.
Claire interviewed Karen Greenbaum who states during the interview:
"Mentoring isn't about someone holding your hand and promoting your career -- it's about your actively seeking the skills you need to grow. Find a person (or two or three) who has those skills ... and ask them for ideas. Think of yourself as a continuous improvement project and create you own custom-fit program, filled with as many mentors as you can find."
(I like this magazine. I was first introduced to it through the daycare center my kids attend. It's filled with lots of articles that I've found helpful through the years.)
Getting back to the topic of Mentorship, I agree with this article! We can learn so much by asking questions of those at the top of their game. The more I reflect on this article and relate it to my own crocheting, I can see that this is clearly what I've been doing for the past several years. From taking classes with the top crochet experts and asking them questions, from joining the national organization known as the CGOA, joining online groups, attending conferences, and events ... all to constantly gather useful information to help me grow as a crochet teacher, an artist, a mother, and person overall.
I think that when we're reading blogs/journals, at times it's much like finding a mentor. You read them, and take away from them, hopefully, information that will help you solve a future problem, or even inspire you to try something new -- or (gulp!) to even finish that nemesis project that has been constantly nagging "finish me!!"
Through blogs/journals you can even have a "virtual cup of coffee" with the writer by (to quote Karen from earlier) "...screw[ing] up your courage to say 'I've noticed that you're very good at X. Could I have a cup of coffee with you?'" -- well, it's not really sharing a cup of coffee, but by leaving comments for the writer sometimes a mentoring relationship "may blossom -- or not." We won't know until we stick ourselves out there and inquire.
The key here, based upon this Working Mother article, is to expand upon your knowledge, in work and in life. I like that philosophy.
"Focus on what you want to learn, and be ready to break through your own color, gender and comfort barriers. ~Karen Greenbaum
BTW: If you're looking for a mentor, you may want to become an Associate Professional of the CGOA. You can visit their website for more information.