Moving into the role of Mentor can sometimes feel like an overwhelming step. You may feel that you are not fully equipped to be a mentor or you may be striving towards that “finish line” that always seems just out of reach before you ante up to step into the role

Let me speak a word of encouragement: you may not be exactly where you want to be in life, but you’re always a few steps ahead of someone else. And maybe the world isn’t waiting for you to be perfect or “arrive.” 

 

Maybe it needs you to come to the table, exactly as you are, and choose to invest in someone, imperfections and all.

Think about this: you could change someone’s life…

Like I said, the world needs you to show up, just as you are. You have been gifted with a unique set of gifts, talents and experiences that can provide value to the lives of others. What if someone missed out on something that you had to offer because you doubted yourself, or allowed your fears to prevent you from stepping into a mentorship role? We (society, the world) need you to share your unique gifts, experiences, and perspectives. And I am certain there is someone out there who will be impacted by you letting them in and allowing them a front row seat to what you’ve learned. It might not be polished and perfect, but that makes it all the more impactful – because it’s real.

You don’t have to search far and wide to find a mentee.  

The best way to find a mentee is to get involved in your community. It’s important to identify what you enjoy doing and where you’re currently involved. Do you participate in a church small group, a local mom’s group, a book club, etc.? Once you’ve identified where you’re involved, it’s important to identify who in your community might be seeking a mentor.

Is there someone in your community that looks like they could use some encouragement? Look for people who are eager to spend time with you. Is there someone who lingers around the kitchen counter when they babysit your kids, or someone who stays late to speak with you after your small group wraps up? These are the people you will want to create a pathway into a relationship with. It’s also important to remember that you can’t force someone into mentorship, but you can nurture relationships. 

Often, people are waiting to be noticed and just need someone to take the first step, or initiate a mentor/mentee relationship. Take the initiative to ask someone to join you for dinner or coffee. By taking the first step to initiate a relationship, you might just be able to build a thriving mentor/mentee relationship down the road.  

You’ve got to let them walk their own path.

As much as you connect with someone (or don’t connect with someone) try to refrain from projecting your own story onto your mentee. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like, “Oh I know exactly what this person has been through,” but you don’t have their personality or their unique lived-experiences. There will always be nuances that make their story unique from yours, even if your paths have been eerily similar.

And don’t get me wrong: it’s both valuable and important that you share your own story and provide encouragement and perspective that you’ve gotten through this and they can too. But it’s equally important that you don’t project your own experiences onto them. Make sure to let your mentee have room to share their own story and experience their own unique set of circumstances. 

As a mentor, It’s also important to practice restraint. It’s important that you let your mentee walk their own path. You are there as a guide and a sounding-board, but you’re not there to direct every move they make. 

Avoid giving unsolicited advice and remember it can be helpful to provide insight, but be mindful of their situation and wait until they ask for your input. As a mentor, it’s important to walk a fine line between guiding and overstepping. Remember, your mentee is not a replica of you.  

Letting go can be tough, but it’s a necessary part of mentorship. 

Sometimes your mentee will make a decision that contradicts the advice you’ve provided. As a mentor, it’s important that you learn to let go and trust that God will take care of them. Pain is an inevitable aspect of life. It’s not healthy to micromanage your mentee, or prevent them from experiencing pain. A good mentor reminds their mentee of their own personal agency and empowers them to make healthy life decisions. 

It’s also important to understand that your relationship with your mentee will not always be equally weighted, like other relationships you have with friends or family. Sometimes your mentee may miss a meeting with you, or they may invest their time in other events or relationships, instead of investing in time with you. In situations like this, it’s important that as their mentor, you be the bigger person and show them grace. If a pattern persists, of course, have a discussion and evaluate whether or not the relationship is beneficial, but in the case of isolated incidents, always leave room for second chances. 

Don’t let imposter syndrome keep you from becoming a mentor.

Often people don’t feel qualified to be a mentor. One of the biggest things that limit people from becoming a mentor is imposter syndrome. It’s so important that you overcome these limiting beliefs and trust in your unique set of skills, talents, and gifts. Remember, you are the only you in this world, and your unique perspective could be exactly what someone else needs! 

Kelsey Chapman
Kelsey Chapman

Kelsey Chapman is a BIG believer in the power of women championing one another. She attributes where she is today to the impact of her own incredible mentors, who took her under their wing and taught her how to build a life of freedom, fullness, and joy. Today, Kelsey has put on the mentor hat herself and encourages hundreds of women through her Radiant community, podcast, and book What They Taught Me - because she believes we can go further TOGETHER.

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