If I could give everyone in the world one thing, just one thing, you know what it would be? It wouldn't be food or money or a hug. It would be a mentor.
Everyone needs a mentor. Someone you can learn from, someone you can emulate in one way or another, someone you can confide in to a degree, someone who's been through some things and can help you when you're going through some things, someone who believes in you because they see a little of themselves in you.
I'm lucky to have had several mentors throughout my life starting when I met Rob Murphy, my high school track coach, who I've been friends with (along with his wife Ann) since I was 13 years old. I didn't grow up with my dad and the two of them have been like the married aunt and uncle I never had.
More recently, I've had a lifelong learning mentor in Terry Lickona although I think we have more of a great friend relationship than a mentor-mentee relationship, and I also have Heather J. Brunner, who I've learned a lot from over the last four years, and now Blake Chandlee, who's become one of Localeur's lead advisers and investors.
I've been blessed with a mind-blowingly stellar mother, mega talented brothers, some amazingly smart and interesting friends whom I've learned a lot from, but a mentor is a bit different from a family member or peer in that you enter the relationship knowing that they've been through some things and experienced some things that you hope to and that the relationship is squarely rooted in mutual selection whereas mom and dad are just that, mom and dad.
For Rob, he's been a longtime husband, father, teacher, coach and runner, showing a level of dedication I strive for in my own life. For Terry, his passion for life, his commitment to Austin City Limits and his ability to shape so much of what Austin is about (even before SXSW and ACL Festival existed) is the kind of imprint I hope to have on Austin someday. For Heather, her professional acumen rooted in equal parts intelligence and empathy, is something I strive for as a business leader. For Blake, I'm starting to see that his self-assuredness, networking and ability to connect with people not just on a professional level but a personal one, is what will make him someone I'll not just consider an investor, but a friend for years to come.
If I could give everyone in the world any one thing, it'd be the level of confidence, energy and passion that comes from having a mentor. Or in my case, several.