We all need guidance. Our lives are complicated and challenging, and we are all asked to perform roles in which we have limited or no training. Whether that role be in our work, in marriage, as a parent, with our finances, culturally, with our cooking, etc., we all are in over our heads in some area.
When I got married, I knew that I needed guidance on how to create a great marriage. To this day, we still are in contact with the pastor who performed our wedding ceremony, and he is a great source for accountability and counsel.
When I had kids, I definitely knew I was in over my head. I knew what kind of kids I wanted to produce, but I wasn’t sure of how to accomplish that feat. One of the first things that I did as a new mom was to set up a lunch date with an experienced mom who’s kids I greatly respected. With my infant in hand, I asked this lady if we could create a relationship between us where I asked her my parenting questions. She agreed, and I did. Over and over and over.
For those of us who aren’t physically close to family (or for those who don’t have family that they want to emulate), we need to establish relationships that serve as family for us. We need to have people from whom we draw for the various roles we fill in our lives. We need to have people in our lives to guide us. And because we play so many roles, we need to be open to having many mentors, or many people to whom we turn for advice and counsel.
The mentoring relationship won’t happen on its own. It is important for you to have specific, measurable objectives and to find a mentor you will respect and trust to help you reach their goals. Once the partnership is under way and working, it is up to the partners to make the relationship thrive. It takes time to find people who are both willing and able to help give advice. It takes time to establish relationships based on trust and respect to whom you can go. But believe me, it is worth it.
So how do you find a mentor?
* Take some time to think through the areas in your life in which you are struggling, or not performing the way you’d like to.
* Think of people who are doing that task well and who you respect in that area.
* If you already have a good relationship with that person, then make the ask. Be clear with them what you’re asking, and let them know why you’re asking specifically them.
* If you don’t have a strong relationship yet, then start making strides in that direction.
“I’ve learned… that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.” – the late Andy Rooney