I meet young, hungry leaders all the time looking for a mentor. Truth be told, I think they’re actually looking for THE mentor. When they tell me what they’re looking for in a mentor it’s clear it will take the perfect mix between Chuck Norris, Tony Robbins, Oprah and Jesus. The job description is weighty to say the least. I don’t want that kind of pressure as a mentor. Do you?!? Here are a few crucial things to remember as you look for a mentor…
Look for several mentors. Please stop looking for a mentor. Look for many of them. I don’t know a single person who can properly guide and advise you in every area of life. The perfect, well-balanced, Renaissance Man/Woman doesn’t exist. Keep looking for the perfect mentor, and you will be crippled by eventually seeing their imperfections and weaknesses. When someone pursues me to mentor them I hope they are not looking for a perfect and well-balanced life. Nor should we.
Look for seasonal mentors. The most fruitful mentors have stepped into my life for a crucial season and guided me for a time. They moved to another state or my needs changed or our migration patterns shifted. Life happens. Some mentors will be in your life longer than others, but mentors are rarely there for life. I’m a big fan of being honest about your commitment to six or twelve months where you meet on a monthly basis. You can always re-up your “contract” later.
Look for situational mentors. Life is dynamic, not static. Our lives change with our current situation and that dictates how we need to grow. As life shifts we’ll need mentoring around relationships, finances, marriage, parenting, vocation, life skills, conflict, and any other crucial area that arises. Most of us, especially if we are experiential learners, don’t truly believe we need a mentor until we are in a hard situation. Then we go ask a crucial question or look for our next right step.
God has put incredible people in my path who have shaped me in different ways. I will never forget many of the words, questions, meals and cups of coffee we shared. Provision in my life has often looked like the right people coming in at the right moment who bring me to the right questions. So please, stop looking for a mentor, go find many of them.