Recently, I've been mulling over the value and function of mentoring. Really, it's all about the process and about creating a supportive mental, emotional and energetic/spiritual environment.
If you are a mentor to someone or are looking for a mentor for yourself, what are you aiming to provide? Or what qualities are you looking for?
Here are three to consider.
While you don't need a mentor to practise accountability, a half-decent mentor will make this much easier. S/he will provide a focus for your practice. Talking with your mentor regularly creates multiple minor mileposts: you can use these meetings as opportunities to motivate yourself to complete projects or stages of projects.
It's a bit like having someone come on a regular basis to clean your home or tidy up your garden. Knowing that someone is coming to clean my floors means that I do a quick tidy up beforehand so that the cleaning person has clear passage through the house. This helps ensure that they are able to do a thorough job and that I get value for what I pay them.
Likewise, when I look for a mentor, I want someone who will take an active interest in whatever aspect of my life I want to see an improvement in. For example, I want a financial planner to mentor me in handling my money better by showing an interest in how I deploy my finances and to encourage me to be thoughtful and creative in how I spend my money. I want someone who gives me 'homework' that will help me appreciate the value of my assets and use them more skilfully. I want someone who will support me in being more accountable - to myself - for what I do with any money that comes my way.
Mentoring also involves being a safe enough person that you can be trusted with a person's vision of the results or outcomes of whatever process they are putting in place. Can you be trusted to handle a person's precious dreams with gentleness and respect?
And once you have been trusted with a person's dream, can you be relied on to remember it?
We're all familiar with the Bright Shiny Object Syndrome: it's so easy to become side-tracked - life happens while you're making other plans, is all too true. In the midst of chaos, can you remember what that person whom you have the privilege of mentoring has expressed as an authentic heart-felt desire to achieve? And can you remember to find a way to remind them, gently but firmly, of their heart-felt desired outcome?
Even without the occurrence of unexpected, unlooked for side swipes of life, it's all too easy for our deepest dreams to gradually erode over time. That's when it's important to be able to rely on your mentor to be a keeper of your vision.
Your mentor should be one, if not THE one, of your biggest cheerleaders.
Ideally, s/he should be there to celebrate your achievements, big and small, be pleased with you when you reach a goal or a sub-goal, support you in choosing goals that are achievable and will move you towards sustaining the lifestyle you truly would like to be enjoying.
What is Your Greatest Challenge in Finding a Mentor?
Please leave your comments below.