I realized a few weeks ago that I’d fallen into a surprising Wednesday routine: without intending to, I’d been scheduling chats with older, wiser women in the mornings, and chats with younger women who’d asked for my help in the afternoons.
Why am I talking with older women? I asked them to.
And why am I talking with younger women? They asked me to.
We all ultimately have to find our own way, but mentors–older and wiser women who have already walked the road we’re on–can help us navigate that road more smoothly.
Do you want a mentor? (Hint: You do.) Just ask for one.
Yeah, asking is awkward. Do it anyway.
Here’s the thing about asking someone to mentor you: it’s awkward. It just is. It feels like asking for a date.
But once she says yes, you’re golden. And you’ll be glad you mustered the guts to have that uncomfortable conversation. So just ask.
What if you don’t know who to ask?
For a long time I was mentor-lonely because I wanted to find the perfect, 3-dimensional older female soul-sister whose life mirrored mine in every way. I never found that person (probably because she doesn’t exist!)
Maybe you’ve found that one perfect person. But for the rest of us, I’m giving you permission to get your mentors a la carte. Find a writing mentor, if you do that. A dating mentor. A parenting mentor. Find a mentor in your workplace. Whatever else you need. All different people. That’s fine.
What if I can’t find these people in my city?
Look online! Find some older and wiser bloggers–women who are further down the road than you are, and who you think are doing Life well–and read their blogs. Read about how they’re navigating work and life and time management and parenting. Soak it all in.
When you’ve found these women online, then take the next step: ask them to mentor you. (Tip: Email makes it easier to ask. I’d much rather get rejected over email than face to face. But either way, just do it.) Be prepared to tell them what you’re looking for from the relationship.
Put that technology to good use, and schedule a time to Skype or facetime or phone chat.
All things being equal, a real life in-your-town mentor is better. But all things aren’t equal, so just find a woman you admire and ask her to mentor you.
Surprised by Yes
As I’ve started asking for mentors, I’ve been surprised at how many yeses I’ve gotten. I’ve got two theories as to why:
1. We’re afraid of rejection, so we don’t even ask. This means that older, wiser women’s calendars aren’t already jam-packed with mentoring appointments.
2. We really, truly do want to help each other.
Do you have someone in mind?
Just ask her. Today.
Let’s talk about mentoring in the comments. Do you have a mentor? How did you find her? Do you want a mentor? What’s holding you back? Post thoughts to comments.