Everyone knows they need a mentor, but very few people have one. Why?
The reasons are many, really–people don’t know how to find the right person, or fear of rejection keeps them from asking. Getting a mentor falls into the dangerous “important but not urgent” category, so it never gets done. Others have no idea what a healthy mentoring relationship would actually look like, so they never take the first step.
This year, we’re going to focus on these questions with a monthly mentoring series. We’ll cover topics like how to find the right person, how to begin a mentoring relationship, what questions you should be asking, and how to keep things on track with your mentor.
You don’t need to wait till the series is over to ask for mentoring, but I hope knowing that help is coming will give you the confidence you need to move forward.
Getting a mentor isn’t easy, but it can be done, and it’s worth it. Today, we’re going to start by examining why:
1. While we all ultimately have to find our own way, mentors can help you navigate that road more smoothly. Someone a few years down the road from you has the benefit of wisdom and experience behind them. A good mentor will get to know you, and can speak into your life with the benefit of their past experience.
2. Mentors bring a fresh perspective. It’s difficult to see your own strengths, weaknesses, and challenges clearly. Mentors can help you understand yourself better and see things as they really are.
3. Mentors make you ask the hard questions. having a mentor forces you to think through difficult questions, to consider what you really need and where you really want to go. If you have no idea what you need, you haven’t thought about it enough. Mentors make you think (and can nudge you if you’re stuck).
4. Mentors normalize our struggles. It’s enormously reassuring to hear your mentor say something like, “This thing you’re struggling with? I struggled with that, too. Everyone does.”
5. Mentors concretely improve our performance in and satisfaction with our work. Numerous studies have shown that people with mentors make more money at work, are promoted more often, and are more satisfied with their jobs. The benefits of mentoring outside the workplace may be harder to measure but they’re just as real.
For now, be on the lookout for potential mentors. (If you find someone with mentoring potential, go ahead and ask them. It’s awkward, but it’s worth it.)
Next time, we’ll talk about how to ask for mentoring.
What topics would you like to see covered in this mentoring series?