How to Max a Mentor for Success



So, you know you need a mentor. Here’s what else you need to know.

1. If you can’t find a mentor on your own, you can have someone else do it for you. Knowing that you need and want a mentor in your life is one thing; actually getting one is another. Not everyone has someone in their immediate sphere who really fits the bill. And even Home_318x200_BecomeMemberif they do, it can be awkward to try to approach someone you don’t know all that well, or even someone you do know. You’re asking someone to be part of your life in a big way. So, if you’re struggling with that aspect, don’t do it! Get into a good mentoring program, where you can be matched up with someone who you know is qualified and willing.

I’m passionate about the 4word Mentor Program, and so are the women who have experienced it. I really think that everyone I know should go through it (just ask my friends and family, they’ll vouch for how strongly I feel about this!). I mean, imagine if you had a career mentor who shared your faith and your priorities; a woman who could speak into your life and relationships and faith and work with wisdom and understanding. For most of my life I longed for such a person. But it wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I really experienced that kind of connection with someone. It was powerful. It was life changing. And it was a big part of the reason that 4word even exists. So if you’re reading this, and you haven’t checked into the mentoring program yet, do it. Please. But know that if for some reason, our program isn’t right for you, you do have other options. Many churches offer mentoring programs, and while they might not be designed to match up professional women, if you specifically asked for a mentor with experience in a professional field, I think most churches would try to find you someone. Many corporations also offer in-house mentoring programs, and professional associations too. You are not on your own!

2. You actually need more than one. People tend to worry (a lot) about how to find what I think of as “major mentors;” people who commit a significant and consistent time. And a great major mentor is powerful. But you also need to have some more “casual” mentoring local_group2relationships too. Really you need a team of mentors, both formal and informal. People you might seek out at different times for different issues. If you start thinking about mentors this way, you might realize that you already have such people in your life. Just look for people you admire for one reason or another. It doesn’t take much to go from “respected colleague” to “mentor,” just a simple, “Hey I really admire the way you handled that thing, and I have a similar situation coming up, would you let me take you to coffee and pick your brain about it a bit?” I’m telling you, it really is that easy. And those “casual” mentoring relationships don’t get a lot of press, but they can make a huge difference in your life.

3. There is no perfect mentor. Sometimes when you read the literature on mentoring, it can seem like finding the right mentor is a magic ticket to success and happiness. Don’t get caught up chasing “the perfect” mentor/ Fairy Godmother who can speak to every single thing in your life. Here’s how that looks. You find a mentor, through a program or just by asking them, and they are willing to invest time and energy in you, but as you learn more about them, you realize that they don’t have the professional credentials you were hoping for, or they felt called to have 2014-11-09 09.44.13kids and you don’t, or they never married and you desperately want to. And so you think, “oh no! this mentor must not be “the one” for me.” And once you’ve made that decision, you start to pull back. Maybe you miss some meetings together, or maybe you just don’t share yourself as much as you should, and because you keep the relationship at the surface level, you won’t get all that much out of it, and neither will your mentor.

Sometimes the very best mentors will seem nothing like you, but they can speak powerfully into your life in ways that you might never expect. This was certainly the case for one woman I know who recently completed the 4word mentoring program. She happened to be paired with a mentor who, at first glance, just didn’t make sense for her. They worked in completely different industries, came from drastically different backgrounds and skill-sets. She was not pleased, and she told me that she “raved” at God in prayer. I’m sure she also considered raving at the 4word team! Nevertheless, she felt strongly that God had called her to be a part of the program and to submit to His plans for her. She did, and God used that unlikely match to bring deep things to her attention, with ramifications that go far beyond her career.

Once you have a mentor, trust that God has brought you together for a reason. Dive into the process and let yourself get vulnerable. Your mentor is no Fairy Godmother, but I’m telling you, magic will happen.






Do you feel called to be a mentor? Are you looking for a mentor? The 4word Mentor Program is currently accepting applications for the upcoming fall session. Visit the Mentor Program website today and submit your online application by September 2, 2016!




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