Have you ever heard someone say, The more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know? I’ve heard it, and I’ve said it. It is inevitable that as you learn more about something or someone you realize how clueless you actually were up to this point. That’s exactly what has happened to me when I got married to my wife, Stephanie. It happened again when I became a parent to my son, Matthew. I learned so much. I still made and continue to make plenty of mistakes, but it does seem that the frequency of those mistakes is getting less and less frequent. I am learning slowly, but steadily.
For the past 6 years, I have been involved with a men’s discipleship group. There are four of us and we meet on Thursday nights. There are two older gentlemen in the group who are grandparents and two of us younger guys. Both of us younger guys have gotten married and had our first child in the time we have been meeting as a group. We get together and we discuss God, the Bible, and our lives. There is not an important decision in my life that I make without going through this group first. They provide me with amazing advice and help keep me accountable as a man of God.
Now that I am a parent, I am seeing that my role of being a mentee to older, wiser men, is switching to the role where I will play the part of the mentor to my child. He will look to me to be his example. As he grows older, he will hopefully come to me for advice. In addition, I have set a goal for myself to find someone who could benefit from my experience and be a mentor to them. I am still working out exactly who that is going to be.
The more I can teach others, the more I will learn myself. It’s one of the greatest ways to learn and one of the greatest ways to grow. I will always still need a mentor myself. A person who has walked the road I’m currently on. It is also important that I let what I have learned flow out into someone else who could use my help.
If we want to see real growth in our lives, we all need to find a mentor to guide us and at the same time, be a mentor to others by sharing the lessons that we’ve learned.
Here are three steps we can take to do this:
One of the greatest character traits we can have is to be humble. Admitting we don’t know it all is a form a humility, and then being willing to learn from others is the action that follows. Without coaches and mentors in life, I’d still be struggling in some areas and making some of the same mistakes over and over again. I still make some of the same mistakes. However, when I admit to myself and even to others that I don’t know then I’ve given myself a great opportunity to learn and grow. And change happens next. Change in our marriages, change in our parenting, change at work, and change in how we live our lives. The key word is change.
Start where you are and use what you have
There were times in my life where I wasn’t sure how to find a mentor or what makes a good mentor. And, of course, there were times where I felt there is no way I can help anybody as I don’t know what I’m doing myself. I’m certain you can relate to that as well.
Finding a mentor doesn’t have to be this great and complex process. Who do you know personally that you’ve learned something from, that has experienced something you have yet to, and is where you would like to be in a particular aspect of your life?
The same goes for being a mentor. What have you learned from your experiences? There are plenty of people, both youth and adults, who can benefit from your experience. The first that should come to mind are your kids, if you are a parent. We must start with our kids, but don’t end there as our mentorship is needed for others.
Find one, be one, and walk with one
The first (find one) and probably the most important is a life mentor who can pour into you. Someone who has been there and done that and can help guide you. The second (be one) is having a mentee, or someone younger or less experienced than you, that you can pour your knowledge, lessons, and experiences into. The third (walk with one) is a peer or peer group. People who are at or near that same stage of life, development, and experience as you. These are people who walk side by side with you. That completes a circle of learning for you and allows you to get the most out of what you learn and what you experience.
God did not design us to do life alone. We are surrounded with people we can learn from and also people we can teach. Let’s choose today to make the most of our opportunities to be both. Only through these types of relationships will we grow into the people that we were designed to be. Only through these types of relationships can we reach our full potential. And that is what we really want isn’t it?