Would you like to join the Mortimer Mouse Club? Sound exciting? Probably not. The name just doesn’t have a ring to it. Mickey Mouse, on the other hand, rolls off the tongue. It says, “Look at me; I’m cute and fun!”
Even great visionaries like Walt Disney needed some mentoring. In this case, when Disney showed his wife, Lillian, a drawing he had created of a mouse he had named Mortimer, she told him the name was too pompous and he ought to call him Mickey. Twenty-seven years later, in 1955, Disney had established a filmmaking empire. Going against all advice and risking everything he had built up to that point, he bought orange groves in southern California and turned them into an amusement park. In the middle of nowhere, California, he built Disney Land. Later, in the middle of nowhere, Florida, he built Disney World. Virtually everyone knows the extensive world community Disney created. Taking philosophical stories and making them available to and fun for children, he became a remarkable mentor to and cultural influence on children everywhere. He built community.
Community and mentoring create a sense of connectedness and serve a vital role. The Champion for Success project is devoted to building community through empowerment-based mentoring. What might such a community be like? Here are some possibilities.
Everyone in this community has a purpose that is an extension of who she really is. Her natural talents and gifts are nurtured by one or more mentors whose purpose is to bring out an individual’s abilities and to empower that person to express those capabilities in the community. Imagine every community member living to their fullest—creatively, intellectually, and spiritually. As a person is mentored through life, gaining both experience and knowledge, she becomes a mentor to others.
This group has an on-going sense of connectedness to each other that spreads to all living things. Out of this deep sense of relatedness arises compassion and empathy. Everyone has a vested interest in everyone else living to their highest potential. Creativity abounds in this environment, giving rise to remarkable solutions to problems, inspiring works of art that can elevate the entire community and developing new businesses and ways to earn a living. This community is peaceful, wanting to avoid wasting individual and/or collective energy on discord and disconnection. Enthusiasm (the word comes from the Greek “en theos” meaning “with God”) and motivation are easy to come by in this environment.
The over-all health of the community members can be expected to be high since happiness, fulfillment and a sense of contributing to the well-being of others all positively influence well-being. Creativity and innovation applied to health issues results in treatments for illnesses that address the core issue of “dis-ease” in the individual. Physical and mental illness as they are now known and experienced would be wiped out.
The economic system in this community is based on the same principles of mentoring and empowerment that built the rest of the community. Business exists as a manifestation of individual and group talents. Companies are places for people to express their abilities for the betterment of themselves and everyone else. People work in thriving, sustainable organizations that are continually reinvented to meet market needs. Compensation for this type of work is at a level such that the individual can continue exploring and expanding her abilities throughout her life. Every business person has one or more mentors to guide her development. Each organization’s goals include empowering each individual within that group, creating a smaller community within the larger one. Thriving in all ways is an integral part of the economics of this community.
Certain concepts, belief systems and ways of being common in today’s world become irrelevant in an empowered community and therefore disappear as they are replaced by beliefs and behaviors arising from this new environment. For example, connectedness replaces separation which currently breeds violence and destructive behaviors toward self, others and nature. Compassion replaces judgment which now reinforces feelings of separateness. Kindness replaces projecting unwanted aspects of individual behavior, like anger or jealousy, onto others. Joy replaces depression as people are nurtured from birth to live true to their unique selves. Purpose replaces squandered energy and abilities that also feeds depression.
Mentoring + Empowerment = Community
Some readers may be dismissing these ideas as nirvana-esque ruminations incapable of being made manifest. Enough evidence comes from human understanding of psychology and sociology to know that mentoring based on empowerment can and will create this type of community. Enough evidence comes from current societal conditions to know that such a community is a must if humans are to live fulfilled lives.
C Diane Ealy holds a Ph.D. in behavioral science. She specializes in the creative process and devotes her life to facilitating personal growth and empowerment. She is the author of five books including The Woman’s Book of Creativity, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Spirituality in the Workplace, Our Money Ourselves and Your Creative Soul.