Finding a Mentor
Mentors can help you sort through feelings and experiences to recognize patterns of behavior and transferable skills. Good mentors help draw out of you things that you know about yourself but haven’t been able to articulate yet. An extended mentoring relationship can be very helpful in clarifying your call.
Consider choosing a mentor to share your reflections with. This person can be in your field of interest, or merely be an adult you respect. The mentor relationship can simply consist of one meeting to process what you have learned, or it can extend beyond one meeting into something more consistent.
What does a good mentor look like?
- Good mentors ask good questions, encourage you, support you in your search, and care about you.
- You feel comfortable talking with them, even if they challenge you to think harder or deeper.
- Good mentors have your best interest at heart, and they help you find your own way instead of just telling you what to do.
- A good mentor will keep your conversations confidential.
- You’ll need a mentor who can give you some of their time. Someone might be good at mentoring, but if they aren’t able or willing to give you some time in their schedule, then they’re probably not the best fit right now.
Red flags to help you spot those who might not have your best interest in mind:
- People who don’t respect simple commitments like showing up at the time and place you agreed to meet.
- People who give you a feeling that they are trying to control you or pressure you to do anything (like join a group or a team) to make them happy.
- People who are wanting something from you that is not part of helping you with your faith or call discernment.
- People who want to tell you what to do and not do instead of letting you decide for yourself.
- People who make you uncomfortable in a way that isn’t just the nerves of being around someone you don’t know all that well.
Now that you have some tips, where do you find a good mentor?
- Who did you identify as an Eli in your life back at Marker 3?
- Perhaps there is a person from your past like a former teacher or coach you could ask.
- Ask a pastor, church youth director, or campus minister if they can help. If you have contact with a church camp, you could contact the camp director and ask if they know anyone who could help.
- If you go to church and there’s an adult there whose faith you admire, they might be a good mentor. Ask them if they would have time to be a sounding board for you.
- Do you know anyone who went into a profession to help people emotionally and spiritually? Counselors, therapists, and pastors probably already have some of the qualities that make a good mentor.
Think through each area of your life ((extended family, school, church, sports, hobbies, etc.) and identify some people you might not have previously thought of who might make a good mentor. Write those names down in your trail journal and take a picture of the list to keep on your phone.