A mentor doesn’t have to be someone you’re in an ongoing relationship with. It needs simply to be someone you’re taught by. For myself, I have a spiritual father who I don’t talk with on a regular basis, but I know that I can pull on him if I need to and he is available. It’s not the amount of time I spend with him that is important. What is important is the authority I give him in my life.
Another example is an author who really stands out to you. Because being mentored is a condition of the heart, when you decided to open yourself to him or her, this person immediately becomes a mentor for a season. Consume their content in a certain field or area you want to go in. It doesn’t have to be someone you know. It can be a public speaker, public figure, or pastor of another church.
There are a few primary benefits of having mentors in your life.
1. A mentor can see what you can’t see.
When I was at a financial low point, I kept unsuccessfully trying to fight my way out of it, but with little success and a lot of negative emotions. I was really overwhelmed trying to change my reality, but being so overwhelmed I could neither accurately assess my current situation nor could I see with any hope how to move out of it and into something better. In that moment, a mentor stepped in, outlined where I was at, and gave me hope and permission: hope for the direction I was heading and permission to not have to fight as hard as I thought I needed to.
They had a vantage point of not being directly emotionally connect to my circumstances. That, coupled with their heart for my success, allowed them to clearly outline what I needed in that moment.
2. They believe in you long before you believe in yourself.
They give you help and security when you need it because it’s like a reassurance that you can get through the moment you are in, and they can celebrate with you on the other side of breakthrough.
Not only that, but if they are a healthy mentor, they really do believe in you. I don’t know anyone who has been able to advance their internal belief system without having people around them speak to where they’re headed and not where they’re at. A lot of people spend time with God to hear from Him what He says of them, and that is important. But you can’t just try to gain belief in yourself with you and God. There is a ceiling with that, because there is a compounding power the more people agree (where two or more are gathered principle). It creates momentum when another person or a group of people who see where you’re heading, speak to your destiny and remind you with words of affirmation and encouragement how they believe in you. It’s ok to choose to believe someone else’s view of you before you believe in it yourself.
The concept of fake it until you make it is misguided if you don’t have anyone else around you affirming that approach, but when you do, it can help launch you into your destiny. The Biblical story that comes to mind here is Joshua. He was second to Moses for years, which positioned him to be able to lead the Israelites into the promised land. Could he have done it on his own? Maybe, since God called him to it. But because he did learn from Moses, he didn’t have to just go as far as he could’ve taken himself. He was instead positioned to be able to take Moses’s mantle and run with it. Another extreme example is Jesus and his disciples. All twelve disciples chose to be under him and were willing to learn. The ripple effect after his death is that they affected all of church history.
3. They carry authority where you don’t.
They also have the advantage that, because they’ve gone before you, they have authority in the are you are working through. It’s like geese that try to fly by themselves verses ones that fly in a group V. A mentor is like the tip of that V who is the one working the hardest to make things easier with those following them. You don’t have to fight as hard with someone else leading the way. They have paved the way for you to have access to their breakthrough with less effort.
What is the point of all of this?
This is one leg of a tripod that holds up your anointing and calling. We’ll go into the other two “legs” in the upcoming posts. Doing everything on your own can not only lead to pride, but God never intended for you to build a legacy on an island. You can try to move towards your dream and calling but you’re making your process harder than necessary if you choose to do it on your own without someone pouring into you.
We oftentimes can’t fully or clearly see our calling or our gifts. Having mentors positions us behind someone who has overcome obstacles that lay before us. When something feels overwhelming, too daunting or impossible to achieve, a mentor can cheer you on and share real life stories of how they made it through, which helps you hold on to your promises in those moments when they feel impossible to hold on to.
A mentor doesn’t have to be older than you, they just have to be ahead of where you’re currently at in a specific direction you’re going.
The challenge is to find one or two people that you admire and respect that you see has accomplished what you desire to accomplish (spiritual, business, relational, health, finances) and reach out to them. First step: position your heart to be teachable. Once you know who your ideal mentor is, write down three questions that you would want to ask them if it is all you could ever ask him or her. If the opportunity presents itself, ask one or two at a time and let the conversation open up from there. If that’s not available, then take those questions and do a google search for what that person has to say on those subjects.
Digest the answers and anointing that comes from where that mentor has been based on the questions you have right now. A lot of people are more accessible than you think they are, especially with social media. The excuse that someone is too busy doesn’t work too often anymore. Take 20 minutes to see if you can find his or her Facebook, email, Instagram, twitter, etc., and ask the questions with whatever communication platform is available. Perhaps you won’t get a reply, but you never know. 😉
The last step in this it that once you find the answers to your questions, don’t hesitate to implement these answers. Sustainable growth comes from application, so you’ll learn more putting these into your life practically than you did researching the topic.