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A 6-step process for finding your mentor…today

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by Kat

Kat Lee is a writer, speaker, and the reigning CandyLand champion in her home. She blogs at Inspired to Action, where she helps overwhelmed moms become focused and purposeful. Kat and her husband live in Texas with their three children.

mary-poppins

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a Mentor Fairy? You leave your request under your pillow and then the next morning a Mary Poppins-ish mentor shows up at your front door, ready and willing to teach you everything you need to know.

If she could show up with a Dish Fairy, Bathroom Cleaning Fairy and Dinner Fairy, I think I’d be all set.

But, sadly, there is no Fairy Dream Team. The only way to get a Mentor is the good old fashioned way.

Ask.

A Simple Process For Finding A Mentor

We have talked about the importance of mentors, what to do if you don’t have one, keys to personal growth and more, but today we are going to talk about exactly how to find a mentor.

If you take an hour or two to walk through these six steps, you could have a mentor by the end of the day. Ready? Let’s go!

1. Select Your Focus Area

Pick just one area of your life that you want to focus on. I know that’s hard, but keeping it simple is crucial. I encourage you to fight the urge to attempt an Extreme Makeover: Me Edition. All the reality shows on television (Biggest Loser, etc) depict the results of a slew of professionals and a controlled environment.

Controlled environments are a daydream for a mom. Every day is different and if your family is anything like mine, they want to eat food and wear clothes. Every single day.

Our daily responsibilities aren’t going anywhere. So our personal growth has to fit in between diaper changes, grocery store trips and late nights with kids whose energy levels seem inversely proportional to our own.

We need to keep it simple and work on one thing at a time. Don’t worry, we’ll eventually get to all the other areas, but let’s dig deep and work hard on one area at a time.

2. Set a Time Frame.

Two keys to goal setting are making goals measurable and time sensitive. So set a time frame for how long you want your first focus area to be center stage.

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Deciding on a time frame will make the concept of growing more realistic and less overwhelming; it will also make it easier for your potential mentor to say yes. A busy person is much more likely to agree to mentor you if they know it’s not an indefinite commitment.

This period of time could be anywhere from six weeks to six months or a year.

3. List possible mentors

Start jotting down people who might be able to help you in your focus area. You’re going to be somewhat vulnerable with them, so make sure they are people you generally enjoy and believe to be trustworthy.

Beyond that, keep your requirements low. Your mentor doesn’t need to be great at EVERY area you want to grow in, just the one you’re focusing on right now. They don’t need to be a gourmet cook if you only want them to teach you how to be a more organized mom.

Pray about who should be on your list and in what order you should ask them. Don’t keep anyone off the list simply because you imagine they are too busy. You never know until you ask.

4. Pick the mentoring method.

There are a lot of different ways to go about the mentoring process. It’s a good idea to have something in mind so that when you ask your potential mentors, they have an understanding of how much time and energy will be required of them.

Weekly email
I have a friend who asked me to mentor her and she simply emails me each Friday with an update on how her focus area went that week.

If you use this method you’ll need to be pretty self motivated, but it certainly increases the chances your potential mentor will say yes.

Monthly coffee
Meet your mentor for coffee each month. Come with a list of questions and report on how you implemented what you learned the previous month.

coffee

The Combo
You can mix it up however you think it will work best for you and your potential mentor. You might meet in person the first couple times and then email weekly after that.

The goal here is to simply offer a structure when asking mentors so that they have realistic expectations.

5. Draft and send your email

Keep it short but clearly state all you are asking from them. Tell them briefly about yourself, what you are hoping to learn, why you chose them and what you would like the relationship to look like.

If you want to increase your chances of getting a “yes” – offer them something in return. Offer to schedule meetings at their house and help them fold laundry while you talk. Offer to treat them to lunch each meeting. Granted, most mentors just love helping others, but by offering something, you are showing them how valuable their wisdom and experience is to you.

6. Be persistent

Don’t give up. The first person might say no. The second person might say no. The third person might say no. Eventually, someone will say yes. Your persistance in pursuing a mentor will be indicative of your persistence in your own journey of personal change.

Start Now

If you start right now and work through these six steps, you could have a mentor by this evening. The only thing stopping you is…you. If you are serious about growing and learning, then it’s time to get started.

Ready? Set? Go!

What is the biggest thing holding you back from asking someone to mentor you…today?

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Comments

  1. Oh I love having a mentor, in fact — I have a few! Some are super casual and are more friend focused, others are women I have a more scheduled “session” with :) Having a mentor has been super beneficial to growth, personal + business focused. I love the accountability having a mentor brings… Even just thinking to myself, “how would _____ handle this?” has been it’s own form of mentorship for me.

    Great post Kat! xx

    • Thanks Gussy! I love that you’ve surrounded yourself with mentors. So, do you have different mentors for business and personal growth?

  2. Thank you for this post! We’re hosting a brunch at our church soon to bring our young moms together with our older moms. I was just telling someone how I’d love to give the ladies info on finding a mentor and here you have! Would you mind if reproduce this for our church?

    • If it’s fine with Tsh, it’s fine with me! I love that you’re bringing the older and younger moms together. What a blessing that will be for them, especially the younger moms…

  3. I don’t have any formal mentors but there are several women I think, “what would so-and-so do.” And I’ve definitely gone to different people for advice in specific situations. My husband is relatively new in full-time ministry and I’d love to find a seasoned pastor’s wife to guide me through some of the tricky situations I find myself in. I’ll have to start jotting down some possibilities.

  4. When a bridal shower was thrown for me about 3 1/2 years ago, guests were instructed to bring a 3×5 index card with a piece of advice written on it for marriage. One of the ones said she felt led by the Lord to tell me to get a mentor. Ever since then, I’ve wanted a mentor, but have not known how to go about it – post on Facebook, wait for one to pop up in my life, ask in person? Thank you for this post because I now know how I can try to find one!

  5. I have been thinking about this for the last few days. I want a “friendship” mentor. I’ve been stuck in trying to think of an older lady to ask, but haven’t come up with any names. Would it make sense to ask someone who is close to my own age? I mean, there are probably ladies in their mid thirties who have been intentionally honing their friendship skills for twenty plus years, right?

    • Ann,
      I think it would totally make sense. Tsh is my blogging mentor and she is a couple years younger than I am. Go for it!

  6. I’ve rarely read such practical advice about mentoring! You are so right about specifying a time frame; if open-ended seems overwhelming to me as a mentor, it’s bound to feel the same to someone I’m seeking to learn from. I also like what you said about a mentor for a specific area of life. My own mentor (that I’ve–thankfully!– had for 14 years) says we should always have a Paul, a Timothy, and a Barnabas in our lives; that is, someone we are learning from, pouring into, and walking alongside. For me, that’s a good reminder to be intentional to pour into others as well.

  7. Fabulous words. I really appreciate the practicality of this post, it’s so easy to wish everything would just drop into our laps. But anything that is worth having is worth working for.
    We recently moved across the country and are still building friendships and community, during this time I find wisdom online. I’m pretty picky about which blogs I read and view them as a mentor-ship of sorts, even though they don’t know it. =)

  8. This is something that has been on my heart for several years. Right now, I am in unique situation that my husband is battling Stage 4 Colon Cancer. When folks hear the word CANCER they scatter. Members of our church do not have much to do with us. There isn’t any cancer support groups in my area. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Oh, JONI! (((hug))) You sound very lonely. I am sorry that you don’t have the support you need. I am sure there’s someone out there for you.
      Some thoughts- I might try your husband’s oncologist, ask him/her if there’s a way you can make a connection with another spouse-of-the-patient. Or possibly, a hospice care org. Sometimes people emerge from the grieving process with a heart for others, and would be willing to support you.

    • Oh sadness,
      a former member of our church (pastor’s son) who just turned 30 also is battling the same cancer. He is not married and so lives with his parents. I don’t know where you are or anything but if you email me I could connect you to his parents if they agree.
      rkholty@springgrove.coop
      Kimberly

  9. Great list Kat. We all need help at times. The way you lay this out help stay focused on what is important.
    Debbie

  10. I’d like Tsh to be my mentor :)

  11. This post is so timely for me. I literally just posted a Facebook status yesterday that simply said, “I want a mentor.” And then a friend sent me this link today. Thank you, Kat – you’ve given me several concrete points to help get me started.

  12. Awesome post! I also think having a mentor is a great plan to help you figure out life. I have been blessed to have some great mentors through different life stages. I am going to start meeting with some new mentors next week.

  13. This was timely for me as well. I’ve realized (off and on) my need for a mentor since going to college but have only experienced that relationship a couple of times in very short duration. It now seems like a glaring hole for me and I have been praying (and asking a few friends to pray as well.) So thank you for the practical advice!

  14. Such great step-by-step wisdom. Also loved how you modeled mentoring. Not only seeking mentors but also mentoring others. (and you rock…the end).

  15. Oh Kat!! I love your posts about mentoring and this one is just spot on.. I am blessed to have some amazing mentors for my business and work-related goals.. BUT I need a mentor for my personal life and your posts, especially this one, encourage me to take action right now.. I look forward to updating you with how my journey goes:-)

  16. Do you have a suggestion for a person like me- I am supposed to be a mentor! I could use one or two or three myself!

  17. Sometimes I feel my journal is my mentor. If I write daily and seek positive quotes of reinforcement it is really all I need. Maybe I am self motivated, who knows?
    Loved this post,
    Pam

    • Pam I loved what you wrote about your own journal being your mentor! My journal too is like my own self therapy. Whenever I’m struggling with something, all I have to do is write it out – and the answer comes!
      Love this blog about mentoring. Great food for thought. I’m in need of a mentor who can help me figure out my writing strategy. I am writing an ebook and at the same time setting up a blog site. Do I put all of my best helpful content out there for free on my site, attract a big audience and then come up with some kind of spin off content to sell later? This can’t just be a hobby for me. I’m working 6 hours a day on this and need to ultimately earn income for my time. I think this ebook is going to be fabulously helpful to so many mothers, but I need content for my blog site too and I just don’t know which to concentrate on now. Anyone care to mentor me? I am usually much more concise, but its 10:30pm here in Spain and my brain is frazzled. ;)

  18. I’m starting a series on mentoring next week. This is great information. I think we lack this aspect of mentoring in our culture and it’s so important!

  19. avatar
    Alisha Santiago says:

    I was just paired with a mentor on Monday and I’m so excited. There’s a women’s Heart 2 Heart mentoring program at a nearby church that I found out about recently. I’m thrilled to be meeting with my new mentor next Monday! I think mentoring is an important biblical practice for women. Thanks for sharing your insights on mentoring.
    Alisha

  20. Urgh. I’ve wanted a mentor since you first wrote about it with your picture of a neat porch seat! I want an elderly woman who has raised good God-Fearing children into notable God-fearing adults. Someone who can direct me, who is blunt but loving, etc (I’m not so good at getting a hint, so blunt is vital…) I have a woman in mind, but she moved to another part of the country. Most frustrating.

    • Such women actually exist? I was beginning to think I could never find such a mentor–ever. Apart from the ideal person, I like the approach in this post to look for someone with a specific strength. Finding a mentor doesn’t seem so impossible then.

    • She sounds like a great woman to approach about being a “email mentor” or mentor by Skype if you both have that technology! Another idea: email or call her and ask for someone SHE would recommend as a mentor in your local area. If she recently moved away, she must still have some friends near you that could fit the bill. Ask, ask, ask!

  21. I keep reading about mentors–how valuable they are, how I need one. I’ve since said “yes” to being someone’s mentor, but didn’t know how to find my own. These steps are just what I needed. The encouragement to work on it now and possibly have one by the end of the day (or at least the next week) is so exciting! Thank you!

  22. I suppose the biggest thing holding me back from finding a mentor is that I don’t know if I feel comfortable with something so regular and committed, eeks! I’m also more about the organic feel of mentorship; e.g. I’ve emailed and build relationships with people who I suppose are mentors, it’s just that I never formally labeled them as such.

    Weirdly, if someone were to ask me to be a mentor, I would be all game for it lol! So I suppose I shouldn’t hold myself back from doing the same.

  23. I guess this is just going to be a “pride-swallowing-siege”, but I need to do it! Thank you for the little extra push Kat. It is greatly appreciated.

  24. Kat, thank you for writing this post. I have incredible and beautiful women who are offering to mentor me. And yet, I resist. Asking for help is hard for me. First I have to acknowledge that about myself. Then my heart can be open to their fabulousness. Thanks!

  25. We were so blessed to have a wonderful man take us under his wing and mentor us several years ago when we first began our ranch operations. I’m actually formatting a blog post myself today about “Chasing the Dream” and how a mentor was instrumental in making this happen for us. Great minds think alike, eh? Loved reading this – thanks for posting. ~TMR~

  26. Our church is having a women’s retreat this month with the them of: Mentoring! Can’t wait – I can’t imagine a better environment to ask someone to be my mentor!

    And, I LOVE this idea of focusing on one area to seek a mentor. I think we commonly do this in fitness and call it “finding a workout buddy,” but really, that’s reaching out to someone who will hold us accountable and help us reach our fitness goals… a mentor!

  27. I read many many posts to find dates and many other things. I never read any post for finding a mentor. After reading your post I am realizing that one should have a mentor, who can guide you in all aspects of life. I am also thinking that if I would have mentors, my life would have been completely different, obviously better. Extremely informative and useful post. Thank you so much.

  28. Thank you for this post, I followed Kat Lee here.
    I very recently connected with some great Christian business mentors. I’ ve been a stay at home mom for a long time and I got so wrapped up in being the perfect wife/and mom that I’ve felt guilty for wanting something of my own to pursue. I took a leap of faith, put myself out there and God is doing amazing things in my now work at home life.
    What an amazing God we serve.

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