Written by contributor Kat of Inspired to Action.
One of my greatest fears in life is that I will be the same person at 76 that I am at 36; that I will have the same hangups as an older woman that I had as a younger woman.
Instead, I want to be someone who is constantly learning and improving, but I that I can’t do that on my own. I need to learn from the wisdom of others.
So, I recently put myself waaaaaaay out on a limb, with much fear and trembling, and asked two people I greatly admire it they would mentor me.
Shockingly, they both said yes.
My blogging/business mentor is none other than Tsh. And my personal/motherhood mentor is my pastor’s wife. Her name is Laura.
How a mentor can help you
Here are a few reasons why I think it’s so vital to have wise women speaking into our lives and a few tips on how you can find a mentor:
1. A mentor leads the way.
If I take my family on a hike, I walk on the trail. I don’t fight through the bramble. Someone took the time to clear the obstacles so that I can enjoy the scenery and travel much farther then if I’d had to clear the way myself.
A mentor can guide us to the smoothest path.
Tsh knows a lot about blogging. She can help me navigate the constantly rushing waters of the blogosphere without getting swept away. And because I regularly share my goals with her, she can help me stay on track.
Laura has four amazing older children. Whatever she did as a mom worked exceptionally well. She has been through every stage I’m going through and she has gained so much wisdom along the way.
We can save an enormous amount of heartache and effort by simply learning from women who have cleared the path.
2. A mentor sees our potential.
We can’t see ourselves.
Even the best golfer in the world needs a coach to point out how and where they have room to improve.
We need people outside of our heads and our circumstances to see where we are struggling and where we are succeeding so that they can point out high impact changes we can make.
3. A mentor isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions.
Laura often asks me hard questions. For example, my goal is to be offline on Sunday. I want it to be a family/rest day. So when I replied to an email of Laura’s on a Sunday, she immediately asked if I needed to be online. She wasn’t trying to be picky, but she knew my goal and lovingly steered me back towards it.
It is oddly comforting to be asked hard questions.
When Laura asks how my marriage is doing or when Tsh asks how my blogging goals are coming, it reminds me that I’m not alone.
I have amazing women behind me, pushing me to be the best I can be and that is deeply motivating.
How to Find a Mentor
Odds are, a mentor isn’t going to walk up to you and ask you to be their mentee (That’s actually a word.).
If that happens? Bonus. But until then, here are a few tips on finding a mentor and making it easy for them to say yes.
1. Ask the people you most admire.
Don’t be afraid to ask anyone. Think about the people you most admire in each area of your life. For me, that was Tsh and Laura.
I felt a bit ridiculous asking them because I know how busy they are, but I figured I’ll never know if I never ask.
So, go for it. At best they’ll say yes, and at worst they’ll be flattered you asked, even if they don’t have time.
2. Know what you want.
Do you need a mentor “coach” or a mentor “counselor” in your life? Meaning, do you need someone who will simply keep you accountable to your goals or do you need someone with whom you need to share your full life situation in order to get back on track?
Being a coach will require considerably less time than a counselor.
Either kind of mentor is fine, but it is vital you know what you need so your potential mentors will know what to expect.
Clearly communicate what you hope the mentor relationship will look like.
- How often you will connect?
- How will you connect?
- What area of your life will they mentor you in?
- How much time they should expect to invest?
For example, I primarily need a mentor “coach” so I don’t meet face to face with either Tsh or Laura. I simply email them once a month with my goals and recap the previous months’ progress.
I do see Laura at church from time to time and Tsh and I chat on Skype, but for the most part it’s a pretty low key commitment for them. Perhaps and hour or two a month.
I think the fact that I kept the commitment low and the expectations clear, helped Laura and Tsh find it in their schedules to mentor me.
Is it Time?
Is it time for you to find a mentor?
You know you’re ready if you have pushed yourself as far as you can go, you are open to and actually want correction, and you’re willing to commit to pursuing realistic goals until they are met.
Our children need moms who are confident with where we are at, yet fighting for who we hope to become.
Now is the time grow, learn and be women who inspire.
Have you ever considered having a mentor? What is one step you can take today towards finding one?