I recently heard the comparison that when women look for a “mentor” they are really looking for a female Jesus. Praise Hands. It’s so true, right? If I just had A Mentor, I could … you fill in the blank.
We think of the idea of A Mentor as the singular, wise, older woman of faith who will pour into our little parched souls and help us find our perfect path to fulfillment and profit.
Is it any wonder that most women don’t have one? And really who of us wants to BE one. I for sure, do not.
The first time I asked a woman to be My Mentor, I got a resounding no. She was a mom to six kids, busy leading a life I admired, and I don’t blame her one bit for that no. I was looking for something, she wisely knew she could not be. Let’s be real, any successful mom, business owner, leader, or activist is successful because of their no’s as much as their yes. We should probably be pretty leery of any woman who lock, stock and barrel says YES to being our Mentor.
But … I am perpetually astounded by the wise, brave, healthy, faithful, and successful women in my circle … and oh how I want to learn from them!
So these days I am not looking for A Mentor. I look for micro-mentors, as I have come to think of them. Centered in my own goals, I have started keeping my eyes open for women I can learn specific things from. I learn all I can just from watching and listening .. in real life and online. When I find someone who can micro-mentor me on a skill or help me navigate a bump on my own path, I ask specifically, and with great discretion because I respect these women’s time.
Cary taught me how she manages her time and to-do lists leading multiple businesses.
Anne taught me how she got started with Keto and was successful.
Alisa taught me about local ministry movements to help me find my next place of serving
… I could go on….
Each one of these micro-mentors I approached directly with a specific request.
I did not invite them to a ubiquitous “coffee.” I let them know I respected their knowledge in a specific area, and was looking to learn from them. I met them when and where it was convenient to them. I came pen and paper in hand with questions ready to go to respect their time.
I went home and implemented.
I followed up with them in gratitude, telling them what steps I had taken since our meeting.
Not everyone I have asked has had time. That is okay. I personally say yes to about 25% of the requests I get for coffee or lunch dates. I just can not fit in more than about 2-3 a month in this season of my life. For people who say no, or not right now, I often will ask if they have an influencer, podcast, or book to recommend where I can learn more about that topic. Successful people are learners and every person I have asked that question to has had a tool to share. That book, or podcast, or influencer has helped me take the next step down my desired path.
As we turn the corner toward the end of the year… I am so grateful for the women who have served as my micro-mentors this year. Thank you for sharing coffee, and passion, and knowledge, and love with me this past year! I am a little further down my own path because of you.
As you set your own goals for next year, list out the skills you need to grow in to make that goal happen. Want to start homeschooling, who do you know who is doing it? Ready to train for your first marathon? What podcaster could you learn from while you walk/run? Need to grow your understanding of business finances? Who do you know who can teach you or show you how they learned? Micro-mentors are all around us. We are surrounded by amazing women … in fact, you probably are one.
Joy and progress to you all!