Photo by nannetteturner
Last time I sat on the front porch and sipped tea with you here at Simple Mom, we talked about the importance of having a mentor. You nodded your head, eyes wide, eager to find that mythical creature for your own life.
But many of you came back with the same problem, “There’s no one around here to mentor me.”
That’s a tough one, but I’ve come up with a few ideas for you, so take another sip and keep reading.
Find An A La Carte Mentor
Photo by Jim Legans, Jr
The biggest reason so many of us have a hard time finding a mentor is because we think we have to find someone exactly like us, only better. They should have the same goals, the same focus and the same interests.
We want an older, wiser, more successful clone of us.
Unfortunately, that’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
Instead, we only need to find a la carte mentors. People who can help us specifically in the the areas on which we are currently focusing.
For example, if you’re focusing on Motherhood right now, it doesn’t matter if your mentor is a fitness expert or a social media ninja. All that matters is that she’s a good mama and she’s willing to help you become one too.
I currently have two mentors, one for blogging and one for motherhood. It was so helpful for me to realize I didn’t need to find my perfect “mentor match.”
Once we stop looking for an “all-in-one” solution, we’ll discover a wealth of people around us with wisdom to share.
Create A Mentor Environment
Photo by Kelly
Imagine there are two groups of kids at your child’s high school:
Group A: Drug addicts, dropouts, aimless vandals.
Group B: Kind, intelligent, successful students.
Which group would you want to surround your child for all four years of high school?
I’m going to take a wild guess that you picked Group B.
Because people are the sum of their surroundings. We tend to be like those with whom we spend the most time. While there are exceptions to the rule, the more we see something, the more appealing it becomes. You want your child to behave like Group B, and you know they have the best chance of that when surrounded by Group B.
This chameleon tendency of ours is applicable to so much more than friendships. It is a human characteristic we can hack, as moms, for our own benefit by surrounding ourselves with people, words and images that inspire us.
If we want to be fit, we read fitness blogs, subscribe to fitness magazines, or hang out more at the YMCA.
If we want to be good at business we attend business workshops, read business websites and listen to business news.
If we want to be good moms we attend moms groups, read books about motherhood and ask questions of great moms.
Notice that I didn’t say we have to DO anything. We don’t need to actually work out, start a business, or be the perfect mother.
The beauty of a “mentor environment” is that we can impact our FUTURE actions by being intentional about our CURRENT surroundings.
If I want to become more fit, but I already feel overwhelmed with life, I don’t need to commit to working out an hour each day. I can start by putting up an inspiring quote or poster. I can then read just one fitness blog post each day. That’s it. Anyone can read one blog post a day.
But if I faithfully read that post, I will learn more about fitness. The more I learn about fitness, the more interested in it I will become. The more interested I become, the more I’ll want to try it, until I actually DO try it. The more I try it, the more I’ll want to learn about it. And the cycle repeats and grows.
All from putting up a poster and reading one blog post each day.
Media, art, music, and our own thought patterns influence who we become. Therefore it is IMPERATIVE that we surround ourselves with things that reflect who we want to be.
Who and what you surround yourself with matters.
Be Your Own Mentor
Photo by fuzzcat
Whether you are able to find a mentor to invest in you or not, becoming your own mentor is a crucial component to your success. Our pursuit of a “Yoda” can’t be in hopes that someone else will push us and motivate us. Yes, a mentor can help, but it is vital that we not rely on others for our motivation.
We must learn to develop our inner Drill Sergeant who will constantly push us outside our comfort zones. Unless we are ALREADY pushing ourselves, a mentor isn’t going to make a long term impact in our lives.
No one else cares about your personal growth like you do. The more you can exercise, how ever slowly, the muscle of self discipline and self motivation, the better off you will be. Don’t give yourself the excuse of relying on a mentor.
Photo by jakeandlindsey
1. What are your goals? Just jot down a few character traits, goals, or dreams that you aspire to. It doesn’t need to be a complex or thorough process, just a framework of the person you hope to be in 5 – 10 years.
2. What goal are you going to work on first? List a few people that might be able to help you in that area. Contact them and ask if they’d be willing to meet or email once a month.
3. Evaluate your environment. What is influencing your life right now? Do you have any negative influence? How can you eliminate or reduce their impact?
4. List resources – books, blogs, magazine, art, movies, quotes and any other resources that will push you toward the goals you listed above. Surround yourself with those resources.
Great women aren’t made inside comfort zones. The more we are able to claim that truth and let it push us past who we are, the more we’ll move toward who we want to become. After all, that’s what having a mentor is all about.
What is one thing that inspires you to grow? Is self discipline a struggle?