If you asked me what one thing has impacted my life the most, besides Jesus and boba tea, I would unequivocally say mentorship. HF has been my mentor and friend for over 10 years and anybody who puts up with me for that long deserves a medal and lifetime supply of Swedish Fish. Our relationship has mostly consisted of me crying, yelling and using four letter words while she sits and listens. And when I’m done, HF will pause, smile, and offer a word of wisdom or a nugget of truth that brings clarity to the situation at hand. Just like that, I’m thinking about things in a new way.
This concept of mentorship has been on my mind a lot lately, but I couldn’t seem to get my brain around what make this relationship work. THEN my sister from another mister, Melanie Ray, gave a talk last weekend about mentorship at a women’s conference and as she was talking, I kept saying “YES!” You know when somebody puts words to what’s rolling around in your heart??? It took everything I had not to jump outta my seat with excitement. She so beautifully outlined the process of mentorship and, lucky for you, she’s a pretty cool chick who gave me permission to share it with you. (HI MELMEL!)
Mentorship is just that: a process. It doesn’t magically fix all problems, but it is a relationship with the purpose of helping us grow in any or all areas of our lives. There is a method to the madness in which the giver and receiver both have a part. HF’s part is to keep growing and changing as she walks out her own journey. Just like the rest of us, she can’t give what she doesn’t have. As she matures, her well of wisdom, knowledge and experience gets deeper. So, what is my part? I’m glad you asked.
The process of mentorship on the receiving end involves a series of listening, doing and adjusting. Listening really means two things: stop talking and evaluate your sources. Whether you find yourself in a great place or a desperate place, you got there based on who and what you listen to. Stop and think about it. Who do you tune in to on the regular? News reports? Social media? Negative Nellie and Debbie Downer? At the very least, have you given head space to those people in your life who don’t see or want the best for you? Maybe, just maybe, you have been listening to yourself. We can all be our own worst enemy because we don’t know what we don’t know, and I can get on my own nerves real quick. Mentorship connects us with someone who can cut thru the chatterbox in our head and speak hope, truth and vision into our lives. Mentors have the ability to call out things in us we would never dare to dream for ourselves.
So, after listening and filling your heart and mind with goodness, MOVE. Seriously, DO SOMETHING!!! It doesn’t have to be perfect or right or even good. Just create momentum. I have always loved the saying “God doesn’t drive a parked car” because it’s true. I can’t write a book if I never open my laptop. I can’t save money if I don’t create a budget. I can’t lose weight if I never eat a vegetable. Trust me, I’ve tried. Just go. Start moving in any direction you think will get you one step closer to your desired outcome. Taking action also has a way of building confidence in ourselves and our dream.
Once you’re moving, it’s time to make adjustments. Glance back to see where you started and how far you’ve come. This is the point where I call HF for help. Things don’t always go as I had planned and she’s great at talking me thru some possible changes. It is typically just a minor adjustment that makes the biggest difference. This is an important step in the process. It may cost you some pride, but asking for help really is the quickest way to get where you wanna go.
While the process might seem straightforward, there is one more important thing to consider. Above all else, mentorship requires that we respect the relationship. If we don’t take seriously the process of listening, doing and adjusting, we aren’t really engaged in mentorship. We are just two chicks eating Quarter Pounders and fries in the Target parking lot at midnight.