Mentors: Why You Need One, Why You Need to Become One
Chances are, if I asked most of you if you’ve either had a mentor or been a mentor to someone over the course of your life, you would say no. For some reason, the idea of being on either the giving or receiving end of a mentoring relationship seems scary to people. Thus, we shy away from mentorship thinking either “I don’t need anyone’s help” or “I don’t have anything valuable to share with another person.” But having a mentor (Do you call the person being mentored a mento? No? Not funny?) doesn’t mean you’re needy and being a mentor doesn’t require having a marketable skill to share.
Being mentored simply means talking with and receiving advice from someone on a regular basis, and being a mentor means listening to and giving advice to someone on a regular basis. Most importantly, no matter which side of the mentorship you’re on, mentoring means sharing life and building a relationship with another person.
A few weeks ago, I was asked to mentor a young girl struggling to overcome addiction. My first thought was much the same as I’m sure many of yours would be: “I have no idea how to help this girl. I don’t know anything about addiction. I couldn’t possibly be the right person to mentor her.” Nonetheless, I agreed to pray about the possible mentorship, and as I prayed, I felt the Lord not only nudging me to mentor this girl but also help other women find a mentor or become one themselves.
Why you need a mentor
As women, we are juggling so many different activities and roles at any given time. Mother, daughter, sister, wife, (sisterwives? I kid. I kid.), significant other, boss, employee, friend. The list is endless and often overwhelming; and who among us is fulfills each one of the roles perfectly?
Enter a mentor. Be it a woman with older children who can help you navigate the newborn stage of your child’s life or the consummate professional who can give you some advice about your fledgling career. A mentor comes alongside you to share their experience in a certain area and help you navigate this journey we call life.
I’ve personally reaped the benefits of mentorship in my 28 years and can honestly say that the men and women who have been there to guide me have helped me in ways that I could never repay them for.
Why you should be a mentor
Ok. Go ahead and give me your laundry list of excuses for why you cannot be a mentor:
“I have no time.”
“I have nothing to share.”
“I can barely keep my own life in order, how could I help someone else?”
“No one would want my advice.”
“I’m too shy.”
All good excuses, but all somewhat invalid in my book. Being a mentor doesn’t mean devoting hours of time each week to helping someone. It doesn’t mean you have to have it all together. Heck, it doesn’t even mean that you have to be good at making conversation.
Mentoring someone can be as simple as finding something you’re good at and helping someone else learn to be good at that thing too. Or, it could mean seeking out someone who is going through a difficult situation that you’ve been through yourself and walking with that person through that particular time in their life. Sure, you give advice from time to time, but you’re often than not, you’re just listening and asking thought-provoking questions. Oh, and did I mention that it’s Biblical?
So, what now?
Alright, now that I’ve hopefully sparked your interest in either finding or becoming a mentor–or both–I’d like you to take the next week and think about five questions:
1.) What area of your life could you use some help with? Put differently, what area(s) of your life do you find most overwhelming?
2.) What questions would you like to ask someone who is more experienced in a certain area of life than you are?
3.) What things are you most passionate about?
4.) What skills do you feel qualified to teach other people?
5.) What challenges have you faced and overcome in your life?
Feel free to share the answers in the comments section below, write them down or just make a mental note–whatever works best for you. Over the next few weeks, I’ll discuss how the answers to these questions can help you both find and be a mentor.