On Mentoring: One Response
This is a comment I posted recently in response to one of my readers who was unsure as to how to go about having a mentor and asked for advice. I’ve added a couple of points since my original statement:
I appreciate your personal disclosure. Fact is, everyone needs help at some time in their lives. Looking back on my own life I can see so many ways that I have been helped by others so I’m very open to the role of mentor myself because I see it as a way to reciprocate the kindnesses that was shown to me by turning around and helping someone else.
I’m pretty sure you’ve inspired others as well. The funny thing about that (for me at least), is that sometimes you might just be figuring things out as you go along, doing the best you can, and someone else can find something from watching you that ends up helping them on their own journey.
Another funny thing about mentoring to me is that it solidifies my belief that there is no teaching without learning. I’ve learned something from everyone who has ever thought of me as a mentor at some point. Has this been the case for you?
In terms of acquiring a mentor, is there anyone in your work or personal life who might be doing something similar to, or exactly like what you would want to do?
For me, finding a mentor involves understanding that I need guidance in some area, and looking for someone who can help.
I think things can flow more naturally if you find someone who you already know and admire, but it can also work if it’s someone you don’t know. Find a way to get introduced, send an email or call. Share your genuine story & how it relates to their experiences.
Like many other areas in life, sometimes things work out, sometimes not. You can count the successes as victories you can reference to when things feel as if their not working out. On the flip side, you can learn lessons from closed doors. Have courage, reach out. For every person who might not help, there’s someone else who will.
That was one response, but what about yours? Do you have any mentors or people who you admire? How did they become your mentor? What was the process like for you? If you’ve been a mentor yourself, what does the role feel like to you?
Grace & Peace,
From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW