I know the value of mentoring. I have had several mentors in my career - and treasure them all. My mentors have given me wisdom, encouragement and direction. They have propelled my success and continue to influence me to this day. They are my inspiration and I would do anything in the world for them!
That's what good protégés do (that's the secret to having a good mentor). Be willing to give before you get. The more you put into the relationship - the more you will get out of it.
I have had mentors that I've had lunch with, one's that I've house sat for, some that I just read about and even a few I just follow on the internet. But the results are all the same - they are adding value to my life and I am a person who is "in their corner" who is speaking well of them, supporting them and following wherever they lead.
My mentors are people I just "clicked" with upon first meeting them. Sometimes a mentor finds you - but most times you know in your spirit who is assigned by God to mentor, train and teach you some things. A mentor does not have to be anyone famous but they do have to have what ever you lack and are willing to share.
My first mentor was a TV producer, another mentor a publicist, another an advertising manager and another an author. Now at the time I was being mentored by them (in their space) I was serving them. Yes, I was like Ruth to Naomi or Elijah to Elisha. I had no idea that their "anointing" would rub off on me and I would become an Emmy-Award winning TV producer, stellar publicist, ad agency owner and now - an author.
What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you! I'm a witness.
So how do find a mentor?
- School events / careers days
- Online or in a book
How do you approach a mentor? Very humbly. I wrote my mentor and asked what I could do to help them. Once I was in their space, I just asked them every question I could. I know they probably thought I was so "green" but they were happy to share and impart their wisdom.
You can also get mentored by buying all of the products and participating in all of the programs that a mentor has. I have found that as I "studied" a certain mentor, I began to really know them. Then one day I had the opportunity to meet them in person and they were really impressed with the depth of knowledge I had learned from them.
How to be a mentor?
- Be willing to share you gift with a willing protégé
- Coach - don't ignore faults.
- Give them advice and contacts when they've earned trust.
- Don't be their friend, tell them their weaknesses when you see them
- Keep them accountable by giving them assignments with deadlines (this is also a test to see if the protégé is ready to be mentored) As the old adage says, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears."
What makes a good or "uncommon" protégé? These are from the words of my mentor, Mike Murdock:
· The Uncommon Protégé will Invest Everything to stay in the presence of The Uncommon Mentor.
· The Uncommon Protégé Reveals The Secrets And Dreams Of His Heart With The
· The Uncommon Protégé Freely Discusses His Mistakes And Pain With The
· The Uncommon Protégé Defines Clearly His Expectations To The
· The Uncommon Protégé Gladly Sows Seeds Of Appreciation Back Into The Life Of The
· The Uncommon Protégé Ultimately Receives The Mantle Of The
· The Uncommon Protégé Follows The Counsel Of The Uncommon
· The Uncommon Protégé Moves Toward The Shelter of The
· The Uncommon Protégé Will Change His Own Schedule To Invest Time In The Presence Of The
· The Uncommon Protégé is someone who discerns, respects and pursues the answers God has stored in The Mentor for their life.
Relationships grow us up. Divine relationships stretch us. Covenant connections, though God-inspired, can mirror our frailties and put a microscope on our defects. Don't you just hate that?
Those who know us the most tend to agitate us more. My pastor often says, "Don't hate on your help." He's right. Don't give me a hard time if I'm only trying to help you. It will sting for a minute but it is the medicine you need to make you better.
I have found that many young people I mentor quickly turn sour when corrected or pushed to do more than I know they are capable. If I didn't care, I would let them stay mediocre and substandard. But because I know that they can be more and do more, I drive them. Yes, I'm hated at times - yet envied of my success.
I have achieved my measure of success because I had mentors in my life that didn't let me sleep on the job. I have had relationships that were also a source of agitation because I couldn't just slouch, be lazy or hide. Those persons were apt to scold me, embarrass me and make me take a real hard look at myself. Ouch.
We either learn by mentors or mistakes. Those with a "pride" issue usually learn by mistakes. I have learned to humble myself and listen to my mentors. Yeah, sometimes they make me mad - but I know they know more than me so I listen - and learn.
When God assigns you to a person to "shadow" or to mentor you - don't hate them - imitate them. As my mentor often says, "some things in life can't be taught, they have to be caught." Catch the lessons and enjoy the blessings. God does take foolish things to confound the wise.