Growing up, my teachers were some of my biggest inspirations. They seemed to be masters of the subjects they taught and of life. They chose us, their students, to pour into, to teach the world’s ways and academia. Knowing that my teachers chose me and others to educate, guide, and love has been one of the most humbling revelations in my life.
Mentoring stretches us to evaluate where our worth, identity, and confidence lie…provides us with an opportunity to examine why we make certain choices, and elevates others to chase their dreams and reach their potential. We get better as we help others grow…
We can be that type of person to someone else. You, with the knowledge and wisdom you’ve gathered on your creative journey, have something to give and share with others!
You could be that teacher, that mentor someone is looking for to guide them on their own creative journey.
Mentoring stretches us to evaluate where our worth, identity, and confidence lies (God, business, popularity, etc), provides us with an opportunity to examine why we make certain choices, and elevates others to chase their dreams and reach their potential. We get better as we help others grow too. It’s intentional and beautiful. A total win-win!
Mentoring gives us a chance to help someone reach and achieve their dreams, while also refining ourselves and our work.
Over the past 6-7 years, I’ve had the privilege of mentoring young women in their spiritual growth. I believe that my experience mentoring these girls has given me helpful insight about the mentoring process to inspire you to consider mentoring others too!
Be open + available.
One of the first things to remember is to always be open to the opportunity to mentor. Step back and evaluate - do you have enough time in your schedule to mentor others? If not, maybe you can readjust your current schedule to make room for that. Something that I’ve learned over the past couple of years is that, in order to welcome great opportunities, we’ve got to be prepared for them. Whether that means shifting your schedule around for a block of possible mentoring time, learning to be flexible, or expecting to find someone to mentor, be prepared. You might even find yourself being approached by others to be their mentor!
Watch + learn.
Question: How do you choose someone to mentor? Answer: watch and get to know people. Grab coffee with someone you’re interested in possibly mentoring if they’re local or FaceTime/Skype with them if they’re from elsewhere, and get to know them. Get a feel for their passion and their character. Do they seem like a hard worker? Would you enjoy hanging out and getting to know them? Would they receive your advice well? These are some questions I would ask myself as I’m learning my crowd.
Once you’ve figured out who you’d like to mentor, simply extend an invitation. Invite and ask them whether or not they’d be interested in entering into a mentoring relationship (or mentorship) with you, where you would help them to grow in their creative abilities, and maybe even their business endeavors.
If they’ve said, “Yes,” then hooray!! You can begin this journey with them! Ask them (right after they say “Yes” or at your next meeting) what they’d like help on, how they would like to grow, what questions they have for you, etc. This is your time to gather information about what your mentee’s needs are and what you need to direct your focus and attention on when you both meet up.
Do the research.
This part is fun and challenging! This is when you ask yourself the questions your mentee asked about earlier and/or when you do some research online about things your mentee mentioned that you were unsure about. Soul search and dig deep. As you question yourself, you’re either confirming what you already know, or you may stumble into a new answer or a new way of doing things for yourself. You learn about yourself and gain new knowledge that may help you become better in your craft! This process of refining never stops while mentoring, and really, it shouldn’t ever stop for us as creatives. But mentoring puts you in a place where this becomes an intentional habit.
Schedule meeting times.
Set a specific day and time that you can meet with your mentee. It could be weekly, bi-weekly, or once a month with FaceTime/Skype sessions in between. Make it work for both of your lives. Set a specific timeframe that you will intentionally meet, such as 6 weeks or 2 months. It’ll give a definite start and end time so that you both aren’t left feeling unsure about how long the mentorship will last.
Be intentional about asking your mentee questions frequently, making sure they’re implementing your tips and advice, and being there for them. Let her see you work and be there as she practices. You’ve now become a sort of creative mama to them, so let them know that you’re their champion and supporter throughout their journey!
Celebrate + watch them fly!
When your mentorship is nearing its end, assess where your mentee is. Could she use some more teaching in certain areas? Then, propose that you guys extend the mentorship for a little longer. Does she seem ready to do it all on her own? Okay! Then, it’s time to let her fly! As you congratulate her on her growth, if you’re willing, let her know that you’re available for her when she has questions or troubles. Just because your mentorship ends doesn’t mean that your relationship has to end. Celebrate and watch as your mentee becomes the best she can be!
Just like any relationship, a mentorship is organic and takes twists and turns, so be flexible. At the end of it all, your mentee would have received invaluable information from a creative woman she respects, and you’ll have grown in insurmountable ways as well. It’s going to be a beautiful journey!
Photos by Karen Hernandez