Are You Open and Willing to Be Mentored? 4 Questions To Ask Yourself.


MentoringMentoring is a malleable term that looks a little different in every situation. But there are some key components that drive home why mentoring is something we all need and what mentoring can truly offer. The question is: Are you ready to be mentored?

When I was twenty-seven, I quit my hospital social worker job in search of travel and adventure. I took the cliched route of backpacking in Europe. But my experience was unique because of the way I went about it and the mentoring I received along the way.
These mentors gave me valuable advice and provided cautionary tales to reinforce why the advice was to be trusted. “Don’t ever let your passport out of your sight,” cautioned a wise, experienced traveler I met at a hostel in Prague. He relayed his own torrid tale of leaving it in his unattended backpack to go out drinking with a few locals only to be robbed of it. He had a terrible time getting out of Europe as a result. Without question, that is absolutely something I would have done, being the trusting and naive lass I was….and still am.
MentoringWhen I was thirty-two, I went to an advertising portfolio school called The Creative Circus. It was there my mentor, copywriter Heddy Lunenfeld, helped me understand advertising wasn’t the kind of writing I was suited for. She’d been teaching advertising copywriting for quite some time and had an excellent idea about the kind of writing that works for advertisers. She helped me see I was trying to force my writing style to adhere to what works for copywriting, and it wasn’t working. Her mentoring led me down a different path, the one I meet you on now.
When I was thirty-four, my yoga teacher and mentor suggested I consider yoga teacher training. She informed my practice in ways no one else ever had. She helped me discover I was a teacher too.
I eventually came to realize every new experience requires mentoring. No talented surfer, chef, or botanist became that way on their own. But you can’t offer it until you’ve gained the knowledge that going through it yourself lends.
So how do you know if you’re open and willing to be mentored?

Four questions to determine if mentoring is something you’re ready to embrace

  • Are you receptive to guidance? If you’ve got more of a know-it-all personality, a mentoring relationship won’t come naturally to you, and might not work at all. In the yoga world, we often discuss maintaining a ‘beginner’s mind’. A tall order for sure, but the more open you can be to direction and suggestion, the more profitable the mentoring experience will be. Mentoring isn’t about having someone to go to for quick answers. A solid mentor knows to ask more questions to allow the mentee to arrive at the answers that will work for them in the pursuits they endeavor. But sometimes, yes, straight up advice will be given. The mentee needs to be able to hear and digest it.
  • Are you good at hearing all types of feedback? Some folks just can’t take a compliment, right? Don’t be that person. Feedback is a grouping of opinions rooted in experience, knowledge, and wisdom. If you have pessimistic tendencies, learning to hear all types of feedback will help you move towards a more optimistic approach to feedback. Take the positive words humbly and with gratitude. Take the constructive guidance the same. You’ll progress.
  • Do you like to learn and dig in deep to new ideas? Oh good, then you might wind up being a mentoring champion. Getting out of our comfort zones is a vastly important if we want to grow and develop, especially in a brand new field where we have a deep interest, but not a whole lotta know-how. Learning by listening, trying and failing and trying again, but with the newfound knowledge the failure gifted you is how concepts begin to seep in and take root.
  • Do you really want to know yourself better? Taking a serious look within and dealing with whatever the truth unearths is a big part of the mentoring process. Being truly ready to be mentored means you’ve decided you want to grow and change. Becoming a more patient version of yourself and more introspective will alter your point of view in a way that will help you be more receptive. We all know the famous quote by Lao Tzu, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready, the teacher will disappear.” Tis true, ya’ll.
The mentoring relationship isn’t typically meant to be a long-lasting one. There are exceptions to this, but usually, once the needs of both the mentor and mentee are met, the relationship naturally concludes. When the teacher disappears, perhaps it’s time for the mentee to return the favor and take their turn offering another guidance and support. A certain level of trust is, of course, necessary. But mentoring doesn’t require friendship. It does demand the passionate pursuit of a deeper understanding of oneself if there is to be a lasting payoff. If you’re ready, be willing to ask the right questions. The answer is already no if the questions are never asked. There’s so much to be gained, but the readiness component has to be there.

By Lara Falberg

Lara Falberg

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