Search the internet for tips on being a mentor and you will find pages of how-to’s relating to accountability, listening techniques, having a plan, and living out the advice you give. The problem is, there’s not much out there for the poor ole’ mentee.
So let’s agree that no man really wants to admit that they need a mentor for a minute. The question then becomes, “how does one get started in a mentorship?”
In the event that a man becomes willing to subject himself to another man’s teaching there’s a couple things that may help. Here they are in the context of blue collar goal setting:
Stop letting your manhood get in the way of having a mentor. I get it— you’re the man … and allowing another man to speak into your life means you’ll have to give up some control of your thoughts, actions, and ultimately parts of your life. In fact, it makes me cringe just writing that. But it’s foolish to let your masculinity prevent you from becoming a better man. There’s pride involved there, and it’s inhibiting your development as a man. There’s a million excuses to not have a mentor, but if you sift through them I guarantee what will be left in the bottom is pride. “Oh, well I’m not doing so bad,” or “I’ve got a pretty good handle on things,” or “I’m not good at talking about my life,” or “Talking about things is a sign of weakness.” That way of thinking needs to stop. Since childhood we’ve had to learn from someone; we needed someone. That doesn’t stop when you grow into a man. If you think about it, most kids have support up until manhood, then when life really gets complicated and hard as an adult they tend to isolate themselves. Having a mentor doesn’t make you less of a man, letting your manhood prevent you from seeking out a mentor does. Stop doing that.
Start being honest with yourself. Men who benefit from subjecting themselves to a mentor are in all stages of life and have obtained all levels of “success.” You’re never too cool or successful for a mentor. Men are meant to do things and experience the results—because of this design we inevitably experience great successes and devastating failures. Both of which can be a major benefit to our development as men if are honest about how we handle them. So how do we handle them? Typically it’s alone, with biggie size servings of pride and extra-large helpings of resentment. My point is that you need to be honest with yourself about the fact that you need someone to share in the victories and the failures. Consequently, talking through things with someone before you do them may result in fewer failures and more victories. You need mentor, and if you disagree then you’re not being honest with yourself. Start being honest with yourself.
Keep a humble approach. Entertaining this idea requires humility, as does being a man. Throughout the process remain humble, and subject yourself to the possibilities that come with a mentorship. Part of being humble means understanding that you will have to relinquish some control. The thought of that still has an odor. It’s easy to humble yourself for a minute, but it’s hard to keep that approach. It’s not natural. Humility itself is something we merely strive for, it’s not something we ever obtain. Imagine the dude that proclaims, “I’m completely humble.” The statement in itself is prideful. I can tell you from experience it’s going to take humility, the kind that requires effort and consistency. It’ll help you through the process of deciding to get a mentor, getting a mentor, and then allowing your mentor to tell you the truth about yourself. Keeping that approach throughout can be the difference between becoming a better man, and giving up on getting a mentor all together.
As a Christian, I know the Bible has a lot to say on the topic. So believers (and nonbelievers) should reference the scripture listed below that were God-inspired and written by King Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived.