It was a marvellous question! Following a presentation at a women’s conference, a participant asked me, “How do I find a mentor?”
Who or What is a Mentor?
The Oxford dictionary describes a mentor as an experienced and trusted adviser. A mentor is someone you admire, have confidence in, feel safe around, have ‘studied’ (perhaps read their books), and is a step or more ahead of you. You are drawn to how your mentor thinks, speaks, behaves, and perhaps influences others. Your mentor might also be a role model; someone from whom you learn by merely watching.
A mentor- protégé relationship can be distant, informal or formal. Your mentor might be your past supervisor, your aunt, or someone you have never met.
Here are five of my top influential mentors:
- Gwendolyn Jansma: My first spiritual teacher. For over 15 years I attended Heartseek Gatherings led by this intuitive healer who also held a Ph.D. in Psychology.
- Oprah Winfrey: My TV based inspiration and adviser. I accessed her through her TV show, and now her OWN Network, her O magazine, and her public seminars. .She led me to books and people I would not necessarily be aware of. I am most interested in her interviews with the likes of Maya Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings), Gary Zukov (The Seat of the Soul), and Marianne Williamson (A Woman’s Worth).
- Patricia Fripp CSP CPAE: My speaking mentor. She went from hair stylist to coaching CEOs on presentation skills. Next month I will spend another three days gaining wisdom from her.
- The Famous5: My suffragette/feminist mentors. These historical Alberta Women spoke out for the right to vote for women, for women to be deemed persons, and for the protection of families and children. I have studied their stories and speak about them in the program, Wondrous Western Women: Celebrating the Resilient Feminine.
- My Grandma Effie: My creating safety and pie mentor. She taught me there are safe places to be real. She also taught me how to slap a wad of pastry into a mouth watering, lemon merengue pie.
Sometimes you notice that you are drawn to a certain person because of his or her wisdom, experience and willingness to offer you support and advice.
You might not initially tell your mentor that he or she is just that. But you might eventually say, “I learn so much just being around you” or “Thank you for mentoring me”. On the other hand, you might want to establish a more formal relationship by seeking a mentor and discussing an agreement. The agreement might include payment for services especially if your mentor provides counseling, consulting, or coaching.
Take a look at the below Five Steps to Find a Mentor to help you on your journey.
Five Steps to Find a Mentor
One: Decide your focus
- Health and fitness?
Two: Decide what you primarily want to gain
- Discover your strengths and minimize your weaknesses?
- Challenge your beliefs, thinking and behavior?
- Empower your goals?
- Increase your problem-solving ability?
- Deepen your knowledge in a specific topic or skill?
- Give you the grounding in a certain field?
- Open the doors to key people and resources?
Three: Decide on the type of relationship
- Distant, but able to learn about their ideas, philosophy and success?
- In a group or class where discoveries are shared?
- Formal, regularly scheduled, paid, coaching-type relationship?
Four: Seek out Your Mentor
- In a class, group or seminar led by a potential mentor?
- From a book, magazine or television?
- From an internet search?
- By referral?
Five: Absorb and Take Action
- Commit to discover, learn and have some uncomfortable conversations
- Be open to guidance, wisdom and support.
- Report back what is working and not working.
- Take action so that you both can experience momentum, accomplishment and purpose.
- Stay honest, authentic and true to yourself while being guided.
One day, send a thank you note, purposefully describing an accomplishment that was ignited by your mentor. If your relationship is distant, you can still send a thank you note or tell others about what you have discovered. You can tell them what you did to find a mentor right for you. Lastly, be open to lending a hand up and being a mentor yourself. I just bet, you will help the world be a better place by doing so.
The Mentor’s Mentor by Cory Olynik