This year we’re having a monthly series on mentoring. Head here to read the previous posts.
I find myself asking my mentors 3 questions on a regular basis. They’re not the most sophisticated questions, but they sure are helpful.
Am I being crazy?
I’ll ask my mentor Am I being crazy? if my experience seems to be completely different from everyone else’s. Everyone else adored that book, but I hated it. Am I crazy? What I really want to know is, Is there something wrong with me? I’m looking for validation.
But then there’s mad scientist crazy: When I have an idea that strikes me as brilliant–if a little far-fetched–I want my mentor to tell me which one it is. I want to send a birthday card to everyone who’s ever commented on my blog. Am I crazy? What I really want to know is, Am I out of touch with reality?
Sometimes the answer to Am I crazy? is Yes, you’re crazy, let’s think of another plan. But sometimes a little crazy is a good thing. Good crazy looks like Yes, you’re crazy, try it anyway.
(The line between crazy and stupid can be pretty thin sometimes.)
Am I being stupid?
My mentor may recognize long before I do that the plan I’m currently on, the path I’m currently pursuing, the action I’m considering taking, is a bad idea that’s unlikely to end well.
That’s why when I ask if I’m being stupid, I need an honest answer. I want to blog about that fight I had with my husband. Am I being stupid?
Am I missing something?
This is the question I ask most often, and it’s no wonder: the whole point of having a mentor is that they know more than I do.
There’s so much I could be missing, and I’m looking to my mentor to help me to see what it is and fill in the gap. Sometimes I’m missing knowledge about the way something works, or a key piece of information. Sometimes I’m missing a certain kind of relationship in my life, or an important contact. Sometimes I need to read a book, or take a class. I’m looking to them to tell me.
The answers to this question can be really interesting. Recent answers I’ve heard from my mentors have included Do you know how much it would cost to ship that to Paris? and Did you know they’re sisters-in-law? and That offer is way less than the going rate; have you thought about countering?
In each case, the answer was no, and I was grateful for the input.
What questions do you ask your mentors? Are these 3 on your list?