This is a guest post by Tyler Braun. Tyler is a writer and pastor from Oregon. He is the author of several books, including a book on mentoring and Why Holiness Matters (Moody), which is on sale for FREE this week only (ebook version). You can find Tyler on Twitter or his blog, www.manofdepravity.com.
How a Mentor Will Change Your Life
We all want to achieve some level of greatness or significance with our lives. What we often underestimate is that this only comes through our engagement with others, not in isolation. We all need people behind us that continue to push us forward.
Only when you understand who you are, will you start living into how you were made to engage in your current context. I believe we were each made with an intense longing to have other people speaking into our lives. A mentor will help you discover who we are in a way you would not know in leading an isolated life.
There is no life-change without life-exchange.
For over a four year period I waited for an older and wiser man to mentor me. I assumed that if I waited long enough this person would give me a call and make my life better. The call never came despite desire and my frustration continued to grow.
Eventually I worked up enough courage to flip the script and asked someone who I thought would challenge me to be a better person. And sure enough, the time I spent with him changed my life.
Looking back I see the specific ways interactions with a mentor facilitated change within me.
Clarity Within Community
A lot of people have clarity of vision for their life, but they lack the relational engagement needed to see the full extent of the vision.
A mentor provides added perspective. You have blind spots—areas in life that you struggle to navigate well.
Personal clarity without the input of others often leads down treacherous paths.
Your life needs fresh eyes to lend perspective on where you are going astray. A mentor is not a babysitter or a parent, but they can shed light on areas of concern. A mentor—having navigated life further down the road—can give you the nudge needed to keep you walking the right direction.
The culture at large teaches that you should surround yourself with people who give positive vibes, but what you likely need is someone who is willing to give you the honest truth when you would rather ignore it.
Hikes Not Maps
I’m stubborn enough that I typically look for someone who will provide me with enough information for me to continue on my way. These information givers are like shopkeepers who provide maps.
The problem is what I need is a trail guide who can walk the paths rather than just providing a map.
You need a trail guide, not a shopkeeper. On a lonely trail, you need a hiking partner, not a map.
Plenty of people can give you the information you need to take the next step but a mentor will walk alongside you throughout the journey.
A Character Driven Life
In my weaker moments I’m often drawn to make decisions when my emotions are at their peak. Instead of taking the time to process through it all, the knee-jerk reaction seems to come naturally.
A mentor helps you sift through the emotions to make character based decisions. What are the principles and values that under gird your life? Those should drive your decisions.
At one point 6 months ago I was about to make an emotionally-driven, irrational decision because I sensed a need to make a drastic change in my life. My mentor helped me see how that decision directly contradicted a few things I believed to be true about myself.
A character-based life allows for short-term wins to translate into long-term sustainability.
Wings to Launch
The Millennial Generation has been described as “failing to launch.” The reasons for this are many and highly debated, but it doesn’t remove the truth that many people feel relegated to their current state—flightless with no wings to see beyond it.
This is right where a mentor can step in and help you navigate how you have been gifted and how those gifts can launch you toward the life you’ve been created to live.
Take the step. Make the ask. Get a mentor. It will change your life.
In what ways has a mentor changed your life?