How do I find a mentor?

While my husband worked for one of the big four accounting firms, he was a mentee and later also a mentor.  I found it interesting that this global firm realized the necessity of having someone who is ahead of you in the game guide you.  Proverbs 1:5 states that “a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” We all need wise mentors. The person at a small firm with no official mentoring program.  The school teacher.  The college student.  The stay at home mom.  Everyone.  But, how do we find a mentor?

My first notable mentor in adulthood found me.  Soon after meeting me, this older lady immediately took me under her wing.  We would frequently walk around her neighborhood while I asked all sorts of questions and learned much from her wealth of knowledge and wisdom.  Sometimes she would have me over for dinner.  She included me so much in her life and was always eager to answer my questions.  I had not realized the significance of having a mentor until my relationship with her.  However, as life goes, people don’t stick around forever and I found myself with no local mentor.

I kept waiting hoping someone else older and wiser would notice me and step up to guide me.  No one did.  Finally, I talked to the women’s ministry leader at our church about the situation.  She suggested I initiate a relationship with someone that could be a mentor.  Me?  Initiate?  That was a novel concept I had not considered.  I pushed past my discomfort and reached out.  There was one lady in particular that I had wanted to ask a certain question to get her thoughts.  I didn’t know her well, but I asked her if she would be willing to meet me at the park and talk while my kids played on the playground.  She graciously said yes.  That park meetup was several years ago, and we are still friends today.  Her perspective has been invaluable, and I greatly enjoy our occasional lunch where she pours her life into mine.

How do you find a mentor?

STEP ONE: Initiate!

Another lady had attracted my attention with her wisdom and experience.  I decided to pursue that relationship in more earnest.  We met a bit more regularly, but I was always initiating.  I reached a point where I felt needy by always being the initiator.  I figured I was probably a bit of a nuisance to her.  Thankfully I voiced this self-doubt and she assured me to keep on initiating.  She doesn’t think about contacting me to get together, but she is more than willing to get with me when I ask.

How do you find a mentor?

STEP TWO: Keep initiating!

There is one more mentor I want to tell you about.  She happened into my life.  Sure, I initiated the relationship, but I wasn’t looking for her to be a mentor.  She was in a hard trial, and I was simply trying to reach out to encourage her.  I did not know her well, but over time as I sought to encourage her, we became friends.  She now frequently pours her wisdom into me as well.

How do you find a mentor?

STEP THREE: Serve others

I love mentors.  It is so encouraging to have ladies who have gone ahead of me in life and better understand the course I am running.  Their insight and encouragement are priceless.  I highly encourage you to seek out mentors.

But I have to give one major warning about mentors that I learned the hard way.  Mentors are not God.  Their advice is not inspired.  Compare what they say to Scripture.  Pursue mentors but never put them on a pedestal.  They are a sinner just like you.  The mentor I put on a pedestal is out of my life and broke my heart as she slammed the door behind me.

Now that I have reached an “old age,” I have had younger ladies approach me about me mentoring them.  Wow!  Sure, I’ve gained some wisdom that I can pass on to them, but I know all too well that I am far from perfect.  Having someone want to look up and emulate me is a bit unnerving.  I never, ever want anyone to put me on a pedestal.  Get to know me well enough, and I’m sure to disappoint you!  Don’t get me wrong.  I am very thankful these younger ladies want to learn from me.  And I know I can share from my experiences.  But I am not perfect.  No mentor is.  And as you look for a mentor, I think it is imperative that you keep that truth in mind.  Mentors can be mightily used by God.  But never let your mentor replace God.

Mentors have helped shape me into the person I am today.  I am forever grateful to the ladies who have given of their time to guide me on my journey.

Who do you want to guide you?  Take the next step.  Go initiate!  You’ll be glad you did.

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