Do you need a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, a cheerleader in your corner or are you capable of being your own support system? A mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser. Typically that would be someone who has been through “it” already and is able to help you see a new perspective. An aerial view when you are sill macheting your way through the jungle of self-discovery. Where do you get your inspiration? Who gives you insight and a different perspective?
Maybe you have someone or a group that can give you the type of insight you need to plan for the future and maybe you don’t. How can you become your own mentor?
First, it helps to know what makes up a mentor. An experienced and trusted adviser. A mentor may share information about his or her own career path, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling.
A good mentor possesses the following qualities: See if these bring a person in your life to mind or how YOU can fill these shoes for yourself and others.
Good listener/sounding board
Someone that is going to hear you out, listen to your dreams no matter how ridiculous and unattainable they may seem.
They are able to meet you where you are on your journey When things get difficult, speed up or drastically slow down, they are able to adjust and maintain interest and input.
Value diversity of perspectives
Someone who can see things from all angles and even if they don’t have first-hand knowledge are able to be open enough to explore other ideas.
Has seen a thing or two and when in doubt, will do some research to come up with an educational and thoughtful approach.
Listens and responds without bias. Are able to help you with your vision since it is YOUR vision.
Able to give constructive feedback
Understands constructive vs destructive. Can respond with helpful ideas and a new approach to help you over a hump or around a sharp curve.
Honest and candid
Direct but thoughtful. You aren’t looking for someone to mince words but you do want a gentle touch from time to time.
Able to network and find resources
People need people. Willing to meet and introduce new experts into the equation. Ask questions and explore their ideas.
Willing/able to devote time to developing others
Takes the role seriously making you a priority. Understands that helping others to reach their goals helps in their own self-development.
Eager to learn
Never too old or too wise to learn something new from everyone they meet.
I am queen of the pep-talk. I will rally behind someone at any moment and quite possibly without being asked…oops! I love a happy ending and I see possibilities everywhere. Sounds pretty peachy huh? Well now let’s talk about the downside so we have it all on the table. Sometimes people just want to vent and they don’t want you to solve their problems. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It’s real. Some people just want you to be a sounding board and not step in as the superhero. This is so uncomfortable for me but even this is a chance to grow. I have to learn to just listen and be supportive without offering any advice.
Some people don’t like sunshine when it’s cloudy. Some people want time to process the challenge, sit with the sadness, and then move at their own pace. I know weird right? But I have to learn to respect that process and not try and force the clouds away to quickly. Moving someone through the process at an abnormal speed may mean the lesson is rushed and therefore missed altogether.
Some people don’t want ME to solve their problems. Ouch right? But seriously, even though I think I’m being helpful, solving everyone’s problems is not helping them at all. They need to experience life just like everyone else, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Moving through every stage will give them the tools they need to handle what else life has to throw at them.
Life is full of challenges so to say you’ve been through some and have more ahead is an understatement. You are met with challenges every day. How you react and what you learn is up to you and could help you to create a foundation of wisdom.
If you blindly react, blame, and deny your responsibility then you miss the opportunity to grow. You have choices in life and not everything happens to you some things happen because you reacted with the information you had at the time or you gave the power to someone else to make decisions that weren’t in your best interest.
Can we really get to a level of perspective to see the learning in all our challenges? This is one of those important milestones along our journey. Self-reflection, responsibility, and change!
Some of the simplest things can be the hardest to understand and adopt. For some reason we know it to be true, we even feel it deep down, but until we claim it and say it out loud it’s like the concept doesn’t even exist.
So be kind to yourself, these may be some newly adopted ideas. But remember, as a mentor, they wouldn’t just help you through a challenge with their depth of knowledge, they would help you evaluate where you currently are, help you identify areas for improvement and help you prepare to avoid future potential threats. They would help you take your time and see a situation from all angles weighing in past experiences and relying on your values and intuition.
Sometimes you have to trust yourself. That’s hard to do when you’ve struggled and found yourself in what seemed to be, hopeless situation after hopeless situation. The more you accept and look for the lesson the faster that will happen until one day….YOU just know and are confident in your decisions. Ask yourself and then listen without judgment and be patient.
Sometimes it takes breaking it down to the nth degree to get a clear understanding of just what choices you have. Most people can identify being at a crossroads more than once in their life and being paralyzed to move. Full of self-doubt and not feeling qualified to make the next move. What an overwhelming feeling. But the fact is, you have the power. You’ve had it all along. Maybe not a full understanding of everything life throws at you but the power to work it out, to find a solution, and to make the right choice.
Don’t be so quick to look to others for all the answers. Invite in the experts, listen to your heart, do some reminiscing and fact gathering, probe life events for the lessons, and trust yourself.
CHALLENGE: Forgive yourself for past failures and instead look for the lesson that could give your foundation stability. Before you rely on others’ opinions or direction trust yourself to have your back and be the support you need to find your way through. Share this new confidence with a friend as they find their own footing.
I Know YOU Can Do It!