TAKING ON THE WORTHWHILE CHALLENGE OF FINDING A MENTOR
You’re doing a lot right now. You could be stretching yourself right and left to meet deadlines for your side job and your passion project. Maybe you own your own business and are constantly creating events, taking care of your team, and trying to figure out what is next. Or, perhaps you’re in the beginning of it all – just trying to sort out what in the world you’re even doing with these things we call life and passions.
In a culture of constantly doing more, we are often juggling so much both physically and mentally. I am here to tell you we aren’t meant to do it alone.
Believe me when I say that mentorship is powerful. This relationship is much more important that any professional relationship you will have. No matter who you are, where you are in life, and what you have (or don’t), mentorship is useful for everyone. Working as a professional counselor, I have been trained first-hand to know the benefits of mentorship, and how to find one. Yes, counselors need counselors. We all need a little extra support in our lives, especially when we find ourselves trying to take on the entire world and then some.
So many of us get caught up in the overwhelming process of finding the right mentor, and understandably so – it is an important search and commitment. All that, plus the actual relationship is work. Mentorship requires vulnerability on both sides. It asks both of you to get down to the nitty gritty – the good, the bad, and the ugly – without judgement or criticism. But as challenging as both the process and relationship can be, it is so worthwhile. So, how do you seek a mentor?
Ask yourself, what do you need?
- What kind of mentor do you want? What would that individual provide beyond your family members, friends, and coworkers? Is she/he business driven? Spiritual? A stay at home mom? Define your mentor, and write down your desires.
- Look at the sphere of influence you are already in. Often times, your best mentor could be right in front of you. Think through all of the different people you know within the different communities in your life, or the contacts you have a mutual connection with. Reach out to your circle to get referrals. There are amazing individuals all around that you can get connected to.
- Just ask. Once you find your fit, start small – even if that means a phone call once a month. If your pick says they may not have the time right now – figure out how you can help them out. This is a relationship where both have the opportunity to give.
Once you do find a great match, enjoy. Mentorship is undoubtedly a lot of work, but you have so much to look forward to and gain from taking on the challenge. Just to name a few:
- Seeing an outside perspective. Having a mentor has been super humbling for me. I’ve been able to sit down over a cup of coffee, talk about my prideful moments, and break down realizing I don’t have it all together. It’s the mentor’s responsibility to say, “Hey, here is what I see. Here is what you could possibly do. Here are the benefits you could gain from doing that certain thing.” This is when I pause, smile, and discover that her perspective and wisdom is such valuable input I could never come up with on my own.
- Learning from someone with completely different experiences. Two brains are much stronger, and greater, than one. It is so beautiful getting to brainstorm ideas from two completely different minds, and this is where the fun comes in. Everyone has had a different background that has led them to where they are, and shapes how they view everything in the present. You learn so much from each other through your different experiences, and build each other up in your differences along the process.
- A sense of support. Knowing that I have someone to go to, bounce off my stressors, and talk about my highs and lows with brings a sense of relief in my life. I feel confident that I am supported and understood knowing that my mentor is willing to walk beside me as I take on life.
You have been given one life to live, one body to steward, and many, many gifts to use. Walking through it with someone is much better than walking it alone, and you just may notice that having a mentor will help you bring even greater impact where you venture.
Photos by: Valerie Denise Photos