Is there a skill you would desperately like to acquire? Is there a fun hobby you would like to learn, but you don’t know where to start? Is your house a complete disaster and you have no idea how to get organized? Consider finding a mentor.
I cannot begin to convey to you how wonderful it is to bring someone alongside you that has expertise in areas that you don’t. Or, simply someone to breathe wisdom into your life that you don’t currently have.
I have been blessed with some amazing people in my life who have taught me many things. My youth minister and his wife (as well as other youth workers) taught me about leadership among other skills in high school. A social worker taught me the importance of standing for a cause. My sixth grade teacher allowed me to work in her classroom and modeled good teaching practices for me when I was a senior. A professor in college and his wife shared their home with me and gave me good advice. My friend Joni taught me more about leadership and how to love on those around me. My sweet friend, Claudia, has taught me more than I can list through all of her amazing wisdom, has helped me be a better wife,and given me courage to do things I would never have done otherwise. Most recently a friend and her husband have shared their knowledge of personal training to help me get on track with a fitness plan and they cheer me on along the way. These special people are only the tip of the iceberg.
Mentoring comes in many different forms. No two experiences are alike. Your time together might focus on a particular skill, you might just chat with one another, your mentor might hold you accountable for something, or maybe you can study a book together. I’ve done all of the above, and they have all been beneficial.
Others can benefit from you being a mentor to them. Sometimes people hesitate to help others because they feel they have nothing to offer, but everyone has skills that others can incorporate into their lives. If someone asks you for help in a particular area, be willing to give it a try.
This past summer I helped at the One Girl conference in Bloomington for teen/tween girls. At one point the girls broke into groups based on their gifts. I was to lead the “teaching” group. The girls spread out around the room. I ended up with one girl in my group. While I could have been disappointed, the ability to just focus on her as an individual led to an opportunity to continue a relationship with her throughout the school year. Her mom really wanted her to learn about leadership, so we worked through a book together. This time was one of the highlights of my week. I gained as much from the relationship if not more than she did. We all need to feel useful, and mentoring allows this to happen.
Sometimes your arrangement just doesn’t work out for whatever reason. I had a college girl one time who asked to be mentored, but then after she failed to show up a couple of times I realized she was simply too busy. Her heart was in the right place, but her schedule was a little too full. Be flexible.
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask someone for help. Too often we don’t ask because we fear rejection or imposing on someone else’s time. What is the worst that could happen by asking? They might say no, but then you seek out someone else. You don’t have anything to lose!
Just imagine what your life might look like if you had someone to help you on your journey. What is something you think you could use some help with today? Give it some thought. You won’t be sorry.