We are all desperately lacking in mentorship. One of the biggest needs that I see among my readers and patients is the need for better mentors.
Who doesn’t want someone to guide them along the path, notice their strengths and give them some compassion when it comes to their weaknesses?
We are living in a time of abundance when it comes to spiritual teachers, but how do you move from having a teacher to having a mentor? More often than not we feel like we have to wait to be chosen by our mentors, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Mentorship takes effort on your part, it is something you can cultivate and create in your life.
Where to start:
First get clear on what kind of mentorship works best for you. Start with the teachers already in your life, some of them are going to be more directive, some of them more passive. What style works for you? Do you want someone directing you, and possibly having a say in the choices you make? Or do you do better when someone lets you figure it out for yourself? Do you need a challenger to call you on your bullshit? or do you need someone who is going to be soft and accepting even when you mess up? Also how do you resonate with your teachers ethically? Do you respect how they live their lives? Do they have integrity in your eyes? It’s important going into a deeper relationship with a teacher that they be in alignment with your values.
Once you’ve identified teacher who have the potential to be good mentors for you, the next move is up to you.
Focus on Giving
Approach with what you can give, rather than what you can get. Offer to help them where they need it most. Notice what they could use help with and make your offer specific. If you just give a blanket “if you ever need help with anything” offer, you are likely to get ignored. It’s too vague. Offer specific skills you know you excel at. “you know I could organize that class list for you” or ” I could set up your email list in an easier way” or “I can bring you lunch so you don’t have to worry about it”. Feeding my mentors is one of my favorite ways to give back to my teachers, it always helps when they know they don’t have to worry about food in addition to a long day of teaching.
Two things are true of most teachers, one, they love to teach, two they are too busy already. To make it easy on them approach them with things you are curious about. Make it easy for them to teach you more, ask questions. Do the work for them, don’t make them come up with the lesson plan. Approach them with concrete idea of what else you want to learn from them, and a suggestion for how it could be accomplished. Offer to do some of the ground work, like organizing other students. Most teachers are thrilled when students want more from them. Don’t take it personally if they don’t have time, consider the seed planted and be patient.
One of the biggest things I see is that people give up, if at first they aren’t welcomed with open arms. Be respectful, but also be persistent. If you are giving back, and making life easier for your mentor, its ok to let them know you are still excited to learn more from them. D0n’t give up if your first request is denied. Teachers get all kinds of requests, sometimes you have to demonstrate that you are serious, in order to be taken seriously.
What are ways you have found mentorship in your life? What has worked, and what has failed? Leave a comment below.
Allison Carr LAc believes that healing yourself makes the world a better place. Learn more about her work and classes at http://allisoncarr.net/