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Did you feel the thud?

When a hero falls, the ground shakes and the airwaves ripple. This has already been a year of fatal attractions and mortal wounds. Tiger Woods, John Edwards. Irish priests. Their failures are as dramatic as their successes,  which we also celebrate, commemorate and admire.

We snatch glimpses of our heroes lives through the lens of the paparazzi or the nightly news, and there’s a certain comfort in this distance. We are unaffected by their personal tragedies, just as we are not responsible for their personal achievements.

We think we know our heroes, but we know they don’t know us. Heroes are unaffected by your son’s grade card, your wife’s cancer or your third consecutive down year.

For that, you need a mentor – someone closer to home and perhaps more down to earth. Mentors know your strengths and weaknesses, your victories and defeats, your unspoken dreams and secret desires. A mentor won’t always take your side, but they will

always take your hand. They won’t always tell you what you want to hear but they will always tell you what you need to know.

We don’t submit to our heroes. We choose to accept their advice on your swing or their opinion about politics and world peace. Mentors, however, are carefully chosen precisely because of their ability to speak truth into our lives. When they speak, we listen. When they advise, we act.

Who are your heroes that you worship from afar? Who are your mentors, your up-close-and-personal advisors and teachers? To whom are you a mentor?

You can lead, but can you follow?

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