I was hanging out with my girlfriends recently and as I looked around the room I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude.
When these ladies came into my life I was overwhelmed with juggling my roles as “mom” to three preteen boys, as “wife” to a busy business owner, as “taxi driver” going back and forth to sporting events, and as “entrepreneur” as I tried to get my small business up and running.
I call them my “life preservers” because when I met them I was a mess, I was struggling, and they saved me.
- revealed that they struggled with some of the same things too
- encouraged me when times got tough
- gave solutions to problems
- included me in their circle and never once made me feel like an outsider
- edified me when I beat myself up
- affirmed me when my self-esteem was low
- prayed for me
Over time, and by their example, I have done the same thing too. I love to mentor women I’ve met both in my day-to-day life and those I’ve met online through my life coaching business. Truly, what better thing is there to do than to tell someone that you’re there for them, through thick and thin no matter what?
Everyone needs a mentor and everyone can be a mentor, no matter where you are in life. It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are or whether or not you’re already where you want to be —there is always room for growth, support, improvement, sharing, and listening.
The three things that mentors are called to do:
- Give hope
- Give wisdom
- Give assurance
Oprah Winfrey is quoted as saying “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”
We are not meant to do life alone. When things seem bleak and hopeless a mentor helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hope for a better future. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for solutions. Hope puts things in perspective. Hope is giving. Hope is inspiring. Everyone needs hope.
With Age Comes Wisdom
There are no classes or extra credit courses you can take to help you navigate life. With age comes wisdom. A teenager can “speak life” (mentor) into a preteen. A college student can “speak life” into a teen. A parent to teens can “speak life” into the parent of “littles.” An employee can “speak life” into a new recruit. A retired business owner can “speak life” into an entrepreneur. There truly is no end to who can mentor who.
It’s important to lift our eyes from what we’re doing, to see beyond the busyness of our day and our agenda and make space and time for others who need us. There’s just nothing like someone coming alongside you to let you know that you’re not alone, to share in both your trials and your triumphs, and to give you a shoulder to lean on.
Been There, Done That
Being human guarantees that we will make mistakes. Everyone has got “something” that trips them up. Everyone has fallen on their face before. Everyone has a skeleton or two in their closet that they wish wasn’t there! The world truly is one big crowd of messy misfits!
Being vulnerable can be difficult for some. As a mentor, the best way to “break the ice” is to be vulnerable too. Let the other person know that you’ve “been there done that” and turn your mess into a message by letting them hear your personal story too.
Sharing your message is important, but allowing them to share their thoughts and feelings is equally important. To get the conversation rolling ask open-ended questions like:
- What’s the hardest thing going on in your life right now?
- What’s the best part of your life right now?
- What do you wish people knew about you?
- What’s your day like?
- What do you wish was different about your day?
- What fills you with joy?
- What scares you?
- Is there something in your life that you’re ashamed of or embarrassed about?
- What do you need more of?
- What’s a stumbling block for you?
- How can I help you?
Learn to listen well and show no judgment. We’re all a work-in-progress, under construction, and perfectly imperfect. Be sensitive to those crossing your path. Someone is waiting for you. Someone needs you. You may be the answer to someone’s prayer.
“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” John Maxwell
How about you? Are you making yourself available to others? Are you a mentor? Do you have a mentor? Do you have someone that affirms you? Do you have someone that helps you see another perspective? Do you have someone that supports you emotionally?
Send me a note and let me know the answers to these questions. Need someone in your corner? I’d be happy to step in and help you.
Best wishes to your health and safety!