Putting your mentor on a pedestal

Presenting at DevOps London ExchangeLast night, I presented (deckslide here) on AWS Lambda at DevOps London Exchange. I really enjoy public speaking, but it wasn’t always that way.

In fact, I used to hate it – feared it.

I vividly remember an embarassing instance in high school Spanish. My classmate and I had to do a presentation. I got up, and stood in front of the class for 20 minutes.

That’s it. I just stood there. I didn’t say a SINGLE word the entire time.

Fast forward to college. By this time, I really needed help with public speaking. My uncle suggested joining Toastmasters.

I visited a few clubs and I wasn’t very impressed. But then, I discovered Sherman Oaks Toastmasters.

I met Peter Bunce. He was very passionate about Toastmasters. He was very discplined. For 20 years, he rarely (if ever) missed the weekly meetings. His entire life was devoted developing the Toastmasters club.

We used to get coffee and dinner. He assigned himself as my mentor. Honestly, I was hoping for someone else. He was tooeccentric. He didn’t encapsulate all the characteristics of my ideal rolemodel.

Setting the right expectations

I’ve always had unreal expectations from those who I looked up to. Peter was no exception. Him being a great speaker wasn’t enough for me. I had unrealistic expectations of what one mentor can offer – let alone any person.

“If you should end up with a teacher who doesn’t seem right for you, first look inside.”

—George Leonard

A note to my mentor

I sent Peter a message on Facebook this morning. But he’ll never read it.

Peter Bunce passed away a few weeks ago. I wish that I had reached out to him sooner.

If there’s someone who mentored you, be it informally or formally, or touched your life in some way, don’t wait to tell them that they moved you. Take a moment to reach out to them, to say thank you.