I have had a desire for a mentor for years. I really didn’t know how to go about this though so I never really pursued it. Isn’t that true of most things? We don’t know how to start so we don’t start at all? This year, I had it as part of my goals so I was a bit more motivated to follow through on this. Since mentioning meeting with a mentor, I have had lots of questions about how to go about this. I’ll share some things to think through and include my experience so far! Let’s start with the basics.
What does it mean to have a mentor?
The general idea of mentorship is that someone is offering wisdom to help you grow. This can look a thousand different ways, but I personally felt like I wanted someone who was older that could challenge me in my faith so I could keep growing. It sounds silly but I get a lot of affirmation from having a platform (in the form of emails, comments, etc) from people who appreciate what I share.
Which is such a blessing, but it means I have to take more measures to keep my ego in check or I can go on thinking everything I do and say is gold and I’m perfect. I need someone in my life that will challenge me consistently. We have met twice so far and she’ll ask me a broad question to get started and follow up questions that have taken us into deeper issues and areas I never expected.
How do you actually get a mentor?
1. Pray that the Lord would reveal to you the right person. God knows better than we do who the right fit for us is. Don’t go ahead of Him on this. If you have a person in mind, pray something as simple as “God, I feel you are calling me to be mentored by ___. Confirm this to me if this is from you or shut the door and open another one if it’s not.” For me, I had a name in my head for years who I thought would be a good fit for me. Then one day, my husband mentioned a lady who I had gotten to spend more time with and I was instantly like “Yes! Why didn’t I think of that?!” I know God used Tyler’s prompting and answered this prayer unlike how I expected.
2. Don’t just wait for someone to come find you. Be proactive. I just told you to pray about it but that doesn’t mean waiting for her to knock on your door.
-- Are you looking for mentorship in a specific area of life? Marriage? Motherhood? Bible study?
-- Look for ladies who have qualities you admire. This should be obvious, but you can think specifically. The qualities I noticed in my mentor was that she had joy, peace, wisdom and adventure and practically, she had raised two girls like I was doing.
-- Look at your church. And ladies, if you aren’t plugged into a church, get plugged in. I can think of very few (and pretty extreme) reasons you shouldn’t be in a church. I know I may be stepping on some toes here, but I think finding a great mentor will be fairly easy if you are surrounding yourself with Godly women on a weekly basis. And near impossible if you are waiting to meet one in Target. As I mentioned, I know there are some extreme cases, being in another country or bed ridden. In those cases, meeting through sites online and skyping may be possible but I highly recommend, if you are looking for a mentor and aren’t plugged into a church that you start with finding a church.
-- Email/In person? This is a personal preference, but I emailed my mentor instead of asking when I saw her at church because I didn’t want to put her on the spot. I wanted her to have time to think about it without any pressure from me.
-- Tell them WHY you thought of them in the first place. Share the qualities that you see in them. This lets them know you are serious and you aren’t just emailing 10 people to see who says yes and then you’ll pick.
-- Leave it open. Be flexible with what mentorship will look like. I mentioned in the email that I wasn’t sure what exactly mentorship looked like and we have figured it out together.
What will Mentorship look like?
1. Time/Date/Place – We meet once a month at my house while Vana naps and Vivi watches a cartoon for 1-2 hours. If you are a mom and feel too busy for this, don’t default to assuming you can’t make it work. Get creative. And you may meet more often but a shorter time or over lunch. Do what works for both of you!
2. The basics – You are letting someone into your life with the specific purpose that they will offer wisdom to change your life. This means sharing your goals, your struggles, anything and everything.
3. Be open – If you can’t do this, it’s fruitless. And a mentor is not going to keep investing time if they feel like they aren’t making an impact. Remember why you wanted a mentor in the first place so you could learn and grow.
4. Get started – Share the answers to these questions with your mentor if you aren’t sure where to start
-- How are you hoping to grow through your mentorship?
-- What are your goals for the year? – So they know the direction you are trying to head in life.
-- Are there any specific areas that you feel overwhelmed in?
After listening to Jennie Allen’s talk at If Gathering, I feel such a desire to be a mentor for someone else as well. Again, the busy mom in me wants to use that as an excuse, but when I take a step back and think about where I was in college, I loved getting out of the dorms and going into real homes and being around families. So maybe mentoring someone in this season will look like a college girl sitting on my living room floor playing with babies and talking over cookies.
Do you have a mentor? Have you always wanted one but weren’t sure how to get started? Take the first step. Think of the qualities you are looking for in a mentor and stat praying about it and even observing ladies at church!