Comments on
How to Become a Mentor


One of our wonderful readers recently posted a question that I wanted to explore together in more detail.

She wrote: I was wondering how you become a mentor? I have had friends and relatives refer some of their friends to me when they have needed help and guidance, and I have received good feedback from the people I have worked with. They have said that I have really helped them a lot and that they don’t feel so alone anymore and like that they have someone who understands them. I enjoy sharing my experiences to help others, so how would I go about becoming a mentor to others?

What a great question!

7 thoughts on “How to Become a Mentor

  • August 12, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I think the KEY part to remember when considering mentoring: β€œWe become a mentor when we are ready,willing, AND able, and when the student appears.”

    This cannot be stated enough! I hear so many people “want to help others” but honestly they need to help themselves first and only then when they are stronger in recovery, can they consider mentoring. Mentoring is wonderful, but extremely challenging, and you have to be in a place where you are able to take care of yourself first. πŸ™‚ Thanks Shannon as always for posting and being an advocate for mentors.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Awesome point, Kendra. That desire and willingness is such an important signpost pointing us in the right direction….but it is when we use it as fuel for our own recovery work that it becomes the most powerful. We want to teach what we most need to learn…or at least that is what my own mentor constantly reminds me! πŸ˜‰

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  • August 12, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    “We want to teach what we most need to learn”

    That’s so true. I think it’s because we know what it’s like to need help in that area, so we want to provide it. And we learn more from teaching it than we do being taught, I think.

    Thanks for sharing those resources at the end. I’m gonna go check them out.

    Reply
    • August 17, 2010 at 5:50 pm

      Wonderful, Pam – I hope they are helpful to you!

      Reply
  • August 12, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Hi Shannon,
    What a fabulous article you have written. I would love to be a mentor to my three teenage children, but the older two think I am old and daggy and have nothing to offer except to wash their clothes and cook their meals. The youngest (15) is like yourself, articulate and observant and very sensitive. He and I have the relationship every mother and child should have but rarely do.
    I would be very happy if my children had a mentor or even another adult who simply took an interest in them.
    Sonia

    Reply
    • August 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm

      Hi Sonia – I am sure that many parents can relate to what you say – I can remember being a teen and thinking I knew so much, but today at 39 I realize I still know so little! Maybe that overconfidence is just a protection to get us through what we only realize in retrospect were the most frightening years of our lives. πŸ™‚ But sometimes too mentoring for teens can more effectively come from other adults in positions of influence – teachers, coaches, spiritual leaders – and as a parent the best way to participate can often be in facilitating those kinds of connections. For instance, even though I didn’t listen to my mom as a teen, she connected me with music teachers and I allowed them to guide me. We just have to keep trying until we find something that works!

      Reply
  • August 19, 2010 at 9:12 am

    I believe being a mentor and being a mentee is critical to sharpening the interpersonal skills that an eating disorder dulls and/or poorly attempts to sharpen. Like the re-feeding process, it’s the re-friending process and it helps mentees realize that “relationships replace eating disorders”. On the other side of the equation, being a mentor maintains the truth of this phrase. My mentees have given me so many reminders to make time for my relationships not ED, just like I make time for them.

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