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Marsha Sinetar

- About the Book

The Mentor's Spirit
by Marsha Sinetar
Published by St. Martin's Press

At a time when our thirst for spiritual guidance has never been greater, Marsha Sinetar has located an oasis of hard-won wisdom that is as close as the neighbors next door. In The Mentor's Spirit, Marsha Sinetar shows readers a way to use our inborn "spiritual intelligence" to see the world and everything in it as a potential mentor--a life-affirming source of guidance and inspiration. True mentors are "artists of encouragement" who help us discover what is unique about our calling in life and help us pursue it. These spiritual guides are all around us, waiting to give generously: in children, in nature, in silence, in the lives of historical and contemporary leaders. Sinetar points the way to remain open to them and let them take us to a life enriched by challenges and cooperation.

 

Copyright ©1998 by Marsha Sinetar. All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate or distribute this material without consent from Marsha Sinetar and St. Martin's Press. Thank you.

 

- Excerpt

 

THE MENTOR'S SPIRIT:
Life Lessons on Leadership and
The Art of Encouragement

by Marsha Sinetar

INTRODUCTION

Marsha Sinetar is the author of over 10 books including the classic best-seller "Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow." She has had a long and varied career as a teacher, school administrator, human resources consultant, entrepreneur, author, and public speaker.

Unlike most self-improvement instructors and business gurus, all of Sinetar's works depend heavily on a sense of spirituality. It is this combination of philosophy and practicality that has endeared so many people to Sinetar. "The Mentor's Spirit" continues in this tradition.

The excerpt below is taken from "The Fifth Lesson" of "The Mentor's Spirit" and describes how Sinetar was inspired by mentors to go to graduate school and beyond. It also discusses the concept of "vocation," which can lead one into a position to mentor others -- even from a distance.


Fascinations Hold The Mentor's Spirit

by Marsha Sinetar


No family member guided me toward college. Conditions were far too disruptive in my childhood for such responsible nurturing. I can honestly report that I took myself to college, determined to earn a degree, paid my own way, and figured out alone where I was headed. The opinion of one caring English teacher and one stewardly principal reinforced my thinking. Glistening with pride over some test score, those two insisted I was college material. Frankly, I thought I was too, despite a kind of primary process (or creative) thinking that made it nearly impossible to follow linear directions. Their words bolstered my watery courage.

Later, as a self-supporting undergraduate toiling at minimum wage jobs, I nearly flunked out of college for want of regular meals and sleep. It was a wretched existence. All I did was work. I was perennially exhausted and scared and hungry. In that order. My fiance would bring me chicken sandwiches on luscious homemade bread after his mother heard that I routinely fainted in the library from lack of food. She'd stack as many sandwiches as she could load into a brown paper sack, along with heaps of freshly baked strudel. I've never forgotten her generosity. Proper study habits and graduate school were the farthest things from my mind. And anyway, I didn't have the grades to be accepted.

One day when handing back an essay, a professor said, "Study skills aside, if you don't earn your Ph.D., you'll be throwing away your life." His offhanded counsel grabbed my attention. Something within heard a ring of truth, and I consciously chose to listen. That casual comment from a virtual stranger (the man hardly spoke to me again) nudged me another step closer to my compelling purposes.

As it turns out, my work itself, flowing as it has out of the tides of inner meanings and peak experiences, became a luxurious self-educative dance, a true vocation. Vocation is one vehicle for boundless growth, a means of imparting value to ourselves and others through what we feel are sacred tasks or archetypical images (long held in mind). My most sumptuous options revealed themselves only after I left the public sector for what C. S. Lewis calls the "utter east." At my World's End a religious reality is made all the richer by a contemplative existence.

Previously I'd suppressed restlessness, convinced that my true interests didn't matter. Ultimately, to succeed on my terms I had to listen inwardly, embrace my quirks and differences, and learn to honor a creative disposition. Artist Ben Shahn described that temperament, one that characterizes artists, as "impatience, unwillingness to be led, fear of being trapped in stable situations -- [even] an arrogant belief in one's own authority . . . an intense boredom with propriety and all its triteness" (John D. Morse, ed., "Ben Shahn," New York: Praeger, 1972, p.198). Reading Shahn I felt understood at last. That same relief hit me when reading Thomas Merton and Evelyn Underhill, which shows you how the mentor's spirit works.

In the corporate sector, everywhere I looked I saw talented men and women discounting their truths and finest tendencies while honoring a self-demeaning unreality. Smart, idealistic adults seemed hampered by the same subjective constraints that I'd let block me. Too many otherwise gifted adults appeared constricted. Hesitation, misdirected ambition, an inability or reticence to accept their own daring forbid their saying, "This freedom, that love, that occupation is what I want."

My rapport was instant with clients who glimpsed the possibility of a vocation. For one thing, we fully encountered each other, were somehow kindred spirits. In our discussions, we divulged what we wanted. My new corporate role was wonderfully multifaceted. Even as a novice, I functioned as strategist and coach, was trusted as a confidant and peacemaker. All that without benefit of titles or position power. How refreshing...

With heightened commitment to our vocational pursuits comes willingness to be distinctive, to stand alone, to be known. So comes the probability of rejection. Our confidence or inventiveness may alienate others, but this effect is more than offset by the fulfillment, goodwill, and love of service that emanates a genuine vocation. (I don't know a single person engaged with a vocation who'd give it up for anything else.) Service to others taught me to take prudent risks and try out new leadership skills and tolerate discomfort. Instead of squandering energy on what I feared might happen, progressively I invested my inventive forces in each goal. This is simply efficient.

Rather than dwell on the predicament, I embodied bits of my solutions in low-risk prototypes as artfully as possible. That practice revealed larger bits of the solution. First by explaining that method, then by writing about it, I shared the model with others while noticing a transcendent learning taking place. These coaching sessions seemed to guide executives' thought processes through educative explanation yet left enough room for them to play with aggregates of their solution independently. In other words, without me.

Our mentoring heart awakens with maturity. First comes truth telling and sufficient self respect to risk being real. It follows that we'll appreciate life enough to want and trust others' success -- to wish them well as they set sail for the depths of their unknowns. Those trustful attitudes can't be feigned. Moreover, there's a developmental logic to that certitude: If our mentors trust us with their truths and well wishes, we become animated by what St. John of the Cross called "a seed of fire": "very minute, burning and full of power...like a vast fire of love and [the soul sees] that the point of its virtue is in the heart of the spirit."


Copyright ©1998 by Marsha Sinetar. All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate or distribute this material without consent from Marsha Sinetar and St. Martin's Press. Thank you.

About the Author

Marsha Sinetar's own life is the embodiment of "The Mentor's Spirit" -- just by reading how she has achieved so many personal goals, you cannot help but be inspired to try and reach for your highest self.

From a difficult childhood, Sinetar persevered through college and graduate school before entering the ultimate mentoring profession -- teaching. She moved into school administration and then left public service to form her own company doing human resources consulting. Sinetar & Associates, Inc., of Santa Rosa, California, and Washington State specializes in leadership development for multi- national corporations.

Sinetar has never let her business success crush her creative side. She is the author of more than a dozen books, some of which she illustrated herself. In an era when the terms "spiritual" and "business" seem mutually exclusive, Sinetar manages to unite them in a series of pioneering works. Her books have inspired people to choose careers that will help them reach more important goals than financial security.

Marsha Sinetar divides her time between corporate work and writing. She lives in Northern California and Washington State.

 

Copyright ©1998 by Marsha Sinetar. All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate or distribute this material without consent from Marsha Sinetar and St. Martin's Press. Thank you.

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