If you feel stuck right now, you might be allowing too many voices to be contributing to your life! You might need to stop listening to just about everyone! Let me explain…
There are two ways to learn how to be a rock climber. You can hire a guide or find a mentor. Both guides and mentors add value, but they are inherently different.
A friend of mine recently hired a guide to help him climb Half Dome in Yosemite, California. He got to the top, learned a lot, and had a great time. A guide will show you the basic skills and help as long as you are willing to pay them. They invest in you only to the extent that they receive compensation.
A few years ago, at a conference I met a fellow pastor and rock climber named Jason Graves from Southern California. A few months after the conference, he invited me out to spend a week climbing in Yosemite with him and a few other guys. He taught me the basics of climbing big walls and to cap off the trip we climbed Half Dome together with two other guys. A year later, we met up again and the tutelage continued. Next year we will be climbing the fabled El Captain together. A feat I could have never even considered attempting with out his mentorship.
A mentor, is a person who will invest their time showing you the “ropes” freely. You can’t buy their help. But you can loose it if you don’t value, appreciate and follow their leadership. A mentor will invest deeply, if you are responsive, attentive and willing to submit your development to their process, availability and input.
There are lots of guides waiting and available for hire. Great mentors on the other hand are rare, and these relationships must be nurtured and cultivated over time. This same dichotomy exists in all areas of life. If we want to grow as leaders, parents, spouses, professionals, Christ followers or employees… there are many guides willing to help us for a price. Countless authors offer guidance, for the paltry price of a book. Many great leaders offer their perspective for free via blogs or podcasts. Life coaches offer guidance through pricey person coaching sessions. Health and fitness gurus offer guidance through various social media platforms and downloadable food and exercise plans. All of these voices can be good. However, they can also be confusing and contradictory. How are we to determine which voices to listen too and which ones to tune out?
Finding a mentor who will invest in your life personally through deep relationship is indispensable. A person knows the path to success will have infinitely more impact on your life than countless guides, who offers great ideas, but can’t possibly invest personally in you and your journey. An yet, so many of us fail to allow anyone close enough to have this kind of impact, preferring instead to consult countless disconnected guides.
Paul identified this tendency when he challenged the Corinthians, “For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers” 1 Corinthians 4:15. One of the definitions that the Strong’s concordance offers for the greek word pater (which is translated in this verse as father) is “one who has infused his own spirit into others.” This is what mentors do for us… it takes time, accountability and a willingness to submit to the fathering or mentorship.
Perhaps, we need to stop listening to EVERYONE, and start listening to a few trustworthy mentors. Consider the following scenarios!
- Spiritually Stuck? Have you submitted to a spiritual mentor?
- Professionally Stuck? Have you cultivated a professional mentor?
- Relationally Stuck? Have you identified a marriage or parenting mentor?
- Physically Stuck? Have you found a health mentor?
- Mentally Stuck? Have you looked into a psychological mentor?
- Habitually Stuck? Have you pursued an accountability mentor?
10 Tips for Finding a Mentor:
- Pray – As God to help you find a mentor
- Look – Observe the lives of those around you
- Identify – Intentionally people who are succeeding in the area you need help
- Nurture – Build a relationship with the person before asking for help
- Add Value – Ensure you are contributing to their life in some way
- Ask – Be brave enough to ask them to mentor you
- Be Specific – Be clear about the specific area you want mentorship
- Implement Advice – If you don’t do what they suggest, they are just a guide
- Keep Asking – If they say no or isn’t responsive… don’t give up. Ask someone else
- Be a Mentor – Ensure you are mentoring others as well
I would love to hear your thoughts… leave a comment below with your input!