C is for Christopher Laney

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    Imagine you have a mentor you can call on in any situation. Whenever uncertainty swarms, this wise person illuminates your best possible choice at any given moment. Never one to command or threaten, this mentor simply encourages in a voice that rarely rises above a gentle whisper. Wouldn’t life unfold much easier if such a mentor existed?

    Truth is, this mentor does exist . . . within you.

    Some call it instinct or intuition. Others call it a higher power. I choose to believe it’s a spiritual connection that resides beyond me and within me at the same time, much as a single drop of water is part of the ocean even as that ocean is in the drop of water.

    But if this mentor, this voice, does exist, then why do so many choose to ignore it? I can only answer based on my experience.

    For so long, I abandoned that mentor, even though I’d placed much faith in him when younger. Back then, his voice encouraged me to explore my world with great expectations. Then somewhere along my journey, as I matured—and I use that word loosely—I set aside those expectations to make “responsible” decisions using only logic for guidance. But logic only goes so far. And when used by itself to make life decisions, one can end up with something that only vaguely resembles living.

    My inner mentor knew I wasn’t living my best life when he urged me to walk away from a high-paying job that had begun to hollow out my insides. I’m embarrassed to relay that it took seven years to do it, but after leaving, a peace lifted me and I’ve been floating ever since.

    One thing I’ve noticed since recognizing the value of heeding my inner mentor is, alternate voices creep into my head sometimes. They are deceptive because they sound similar to my own voice, yet are negative in nature. Sometimes the voices warn me against the odds of success in the pursuit of my dreams. Sometimes they tell me I don’t know what I’m doing and I should give up.

    Over time I’ve come to realize these voices are simply echoes of past influencers in my life. Some of these people only wanted to shelter me from what they perceived as a harsh world. Others did not have my best interests in mind and wanted to discourage me from chasing my dreams, I suspect, because they’d long since abandoned their own.

    This world is a noisy place. So much screams for our attention. But know this: our personal mentor never discourages us . . . ever. If a voice within you yells, admonishes, or threatens, that’s what deserves ignoring. How else will you hear your inner mentor when he or she whispers to you?

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    For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.

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    Christopher Laney has written for numerous publications including aviation magazines. Using his experience as a pilot, he also pens the inspirational blog Lessons from the Cockpit: Everyday Wisdom from the Flying Life. Christopher recently completed his first novel about a man who yearns to fly and the mysterious flight instructor who takes him on as a student.