Let’s Talk About Mentoring: How to Find the Right Person

This year we’re having a monthly series on mentoring. Head here to read the previous posts.

Okay, so you’re convinced you need a mentor. You know how to ask.You’re just not sure who to ask.

For a long time, I got hung up on the idea that I needed to find one perfect person to meet all my mentoring needs. I wanted someone whose life situation was exactly like my own, except a little bit older and a little bit wiser. That was a tall order, and it’s not surprising I went without a mentor for a long time because I couldn’t find that person.

I’ve since learned to look for my mentors à la carte: I’ve found different mentors for parenting, homeschooling, writing, blogging, and faith. I didn’t ask all these people at the same time; they came into my life one by one. But once I knew how to ask for mentoring, I could do it again and again.

2 ways to go forward

Sometimes you know you desperately need a mentor in a certain area, and sometimes you know you want a certain person to mentor you.

Either way works; just start where you are.

Beginning with the subject in mind

Sometimes we know exactly what we need: maybe it’s marketing advice for a shop, maybe it’s a spiritual advisor, maybe it’s encouragement from a more experienced parent. Maybe you need someone to hold your hand when it comes to your dating life or your marriage. Maybe it’s help in the workplace.

To begin with the subject in mind, the first step is to identify your pain points. (And often, the old proverb proves true: once you know what area you need help with, suddenly the right person for the role seems obvious.)

Beginning with the person.

Sometimes I’m lucky enough to have someone in my life that I just know I want to mentor me. I admire the way she’s living her life and I want to know how she’s doing it. I want some tips and tricks, a peek behind the scenes of her day-to-day. And I really want her–with her greater wisdom and experience–to help me take a good look at my own life.

This way forward is a little bit easier, because you don’t have to search for the right person. She’s already here: you just have to ask.

(And if you’re really lucky, and the stars align, and you do find that one perfect person who is an exact whole-package match for you, be grateful–because that doesn’t happen often.)

Where do you see yourself?

Do you have someone in your life that you want to ask? Or do you really need help in a certain area of your life?

Answer that question, and the next step will be clear.

Where do you see yourself? Do you have someone in your life that you want to ask? Or are you feeling a gap in a certain area that you’d like help with? Help us all think through this by spilling the details in comments. 

how to find the right person to mentor you

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5 comments

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  1. I’ve had multiple mentors over the last several years and I think the hardest part of finding a mentor is that asking part. It takes a lot of guts to invite someone into the mess of your life and to ask them to sacrifice some time for your sake. But it is so worth it!!

  2. I am totally going through this right now! I want my own Sally Clarkson. I do not have someone in mind, but I totally need a mom who has gone through what I am going through now. Stay at home mom life with pants-poopers. Thanks for sharing and I am so glad that I met you at Killer Tribes!!!!

    • Anne says:

      I’m so glad I got to meet you, too!

      And yeah, sometimes we really need someone who gets the stay at home mom life–especially the pants-poopers part. 🙂

  3. JASON says:

    I have discovered the need for a mentor a little later in my life than most, I am shy and have felt it a weakness to ask for help\mentoring, I now see the folly of that thinking.
    I have moved to a new country and don’t know to many people here yet, but have met some people that I admire outside my field. I am not sure how or if they could be a mentor, I say this because my field is very specialised and very competitive. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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