Life can be complicated! With so many influences and opinions surrounding you, from friends and colleagues to teachers, parents and siblings, not to mention social media, it's often tough to know who to listen to and what decisions are good or bad.
We've all got role models. Maybe for you it's the older girl who lives down the road and is successfully running her small business from home; or your teacher who recognises your potential and is pushing you to do great things; it could be your aunt and uncle who are full of wisdom and encouragement; or maybe it's that inspirational girl on Instagram who has it all together. But can role models be good mentors?
How do you know if you can trust that person to give you guidance and advice, and help you make good decisions?
Start with these simple steps:
1. Make a list
Write down your values, why you need a mentor and what you’re looking for in a mentor. This will give you a clearer idea of exactly what you want.
2. Start conversations
If you feel safe to do so, chat with your role models. Ask them what they think makes a good mentor, if they feel they could ever be one, and if they think there are benefits to having one. Write their responses down so you can compare everyone's thoughts and decide on who you agree with the most. Everyone's opinions should help you to pinpoint who you feel could be a great mentor. None of them may be right, but someone they know could be perfect! Now, how do you go about asking them?
3. Take the leap
If it's someone you know, ask for five minutes of their time to chat. Then be honest – tell them you'd appreciate some help and guidance in life, and that you need to know if you can trust them to hold your secrets and in turn give you advice without judgement. Ninety-nine percent of the time, they'll be honoured and should be willing to step up. If it’s someone who has been recommended through a friend, kindly ask your friend if they’ll introduce you either by email, phone or in person. Remember, if you’re meeting someone in person to always take someone with you and to let a trusted adult know where you are and that you have enough airtime on your phone to call if there’s a problem.
Isn’t it great to have so many role models, who could make great mentors too? The right mentor is out there waiting for you!