1. You will learn that it is beautiful and okay to need support.
If none of us ever supported each other, how would we survive? What gifts and stories would we rob people of showing? What aches and fears would we unnecessarily continue to suffer through? How fulfilling was it when you have offered time and expertise to someone? Even if you feel afraid, reach out to that person who inspires you in area(s) in which you hope to grow.
2. You will learn to ask questions and be teachable.
I’ve learned that you don’t have to immediately ask someone to mentor you. You can simply introduce yourself (via email, social media, or in person), express how their work and/or being resonates with you, and ask if they would be willing to briefly meet with you and share insights. Prepare some thoughtful questions based on research and curiosity. Chances are that they’ll be excited to chat and learn about you, too! When your first meetup concludes, you can ask if they would be open to you keeping in touch!
3. You will learn to enact wisdom and see results.
At the risk of sounding “school-y”, do your homework. Actually look into the literature, resources, and contacts that your mentor recommends. Follow up with them about your takeaways and goals for life application. Also, actually pay attention to any prompts for personal and professional reflection. Plant organic fruit by investing in yourself.
4. You will learn that “this, too, shall pass.”
All of my mentors have motivated me to believe in a larger, more hopeful picture. They encouraged me to literally stay alive. Whenever I struggled financially, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and the list goes on, I was reminded of “next pages” and all things connecting for my good. Something that’s been major is my mentors’ transparency about trials that once consumed them. With time and support systems, they continue to press through!
5. You will learn that there is grace for the process.
I’m fasho not always patient with myself. If it were up to me, I would choose a tear-free, mistake-free, and expedited path toward growth. My mentors help me to move at the pace of grace, which often times requires stillness and forgiveness.
6. You will learn that learning is lifelong.
Though mentors are educators, they are also learning within the context of their own journey. They’ve had mentors of some kind, too. I’m gradually understanding that learning is something that I always can look forward to, with gratitude.
7. You will learn that more is possible and to never settle.
Don’t settle for a scarcity mindset. Don’t settle for safe living. Choose more than chasing wind. Be grateful, cultivate integrity, and make God primary (as many times as you have to).
8. You will learn to receive love and savor celebration.
It feels so good (Teddy Pendergrass voice) when people (who know how far you’ve come and believe in how enough you’ll always be) celebrate your blossoming. They teach you how to celebrate yourself and your loved ones.
9. You will learn that you, too, are generative.
It’s already something inside of you that will bless your peers, elders, and generations after you!
10. You will learn how to pay it forward by becoming a mentor.
Thank your mentors by showing up for others. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be available.
Don’t dwell in discouragement if your search for mentor(s) takes time.
Similar to friendships, some mentors are only for a season. With discernment and intention, own your part in sustaining mentoring relationships.
Some mentors aren’t people you know in real life—though I believe those individuals are crucial. Perhaps, some counselors for you are authors, podcast hosts, historians, or pastors.
You can have a village of mentors who speak to different parts of you. They can include trusted folks in your family as well.
To all my mentors, thank you beyond measure! I love you so much.