In a previous post we talked about the important characteristics that you should look for in a mentor. The definition of a mentor, as you may recall, is “a trusted guide who has knowledge and experience in a certain area, and is willing and able to share it.”
So it then follows that the definition of a mentee should be “a person in need of guidance and instruction, and is willing to receive it.”
But how do you know you are ready to be mentored?
First things first – if you reading this article, that is a really great sign! Interest in being mentored is a great harbinger of readiness, and you know what they say about readiness – “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
But since so much of readiness is about great preparation, it is also important to know how to make the most of the teacher when he or she arrives.
In my book, Beating Ana: How to Outsmart Your Eating Disorder and Take Your Life Back, I have compiled a comprehensive list to help you get ready for a fulfilling, empowering mentoring experience. I will share a few of these qualities here and you can read more in the Chapter called “Just for Mentees”.
- Screen your mentor carefully. A willingness to be choosy about choosing a mentor speaks volumes about your readiness to engage in a mentoring relationship. Knowing what you need and what you want to get out of a mentoring relationship will help you discern whether a mentor candidate has the life and recovery experience to guide you toward the next stage of your own self discovery process.
- Seek complementary recovery experiences. It is not essential that you can relate to your mentor’s exact life experience or recovery journey, but it is important that you can relate to what those experiences taught them.
- Be clear about your readiness and motivations for seeking mentoring. If you wake up each day longing for someone who shed light on a particular challenge or issue, but yet you are equally willing to keep working hard on your own to tackle that same challenge until your mentor arrives, then you are ready for a mentor.
- Trust your gut. Like any other relationship, there is a certain “chemistry” that indicates a good mentoring match. It may take a few tries to find the right fit, but if you persevere then once you do, it will be worth it!
- Understand mentoring’s limitations. Each member of your support team has their place, and none is meant to supercede or replace the others. If you want to connect with someone to hear their story and what they learned from life’s challenges and opportunities, then you know that you have an open and waiting space on your support team for the unique contributions a mentor can make.
Today’s Takeaway: Get out your journal or just meditate on the five points above. Ask yourself if there is anything further you can do to get ready to be mentored. If you have a mentor on your team now, consider whether you are maximizing the opportunity to work with that person to achieve your personal dreams and goals.