Do You Have a Mindful Mentor?

We're here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.
(Whoopi Goldberg)

During a recent conversation with a colleague, I was asked if I had a mentor. I thought about it for a minute, and there are only three people who know about my personal and professional goals - my best friend, my mister and my dad. Since they don't really qualify as a mentor, I had to admit that I didn't.

His recommendation was that I find someone who (generally speaking) is in my field of interest—a lady, a few years my senior, and someone who takes a liking to me—ideally, the person is local.

As I thought through my (very) small rolodex of women in the Raleigh area, no one came to mind. I've only lived here for 2 years and have a pretty tiny circle of influence. There are many reasons for this, but it's primarily because I have found it significantly more difficult to network outside of the supportive structures of a college campus.

I understand the benefits of having a mentor and would like to work towards cultivating such a relationship, but I am perplexed as to where to start.

You have been so supportive of me and my creative endeavors, so I thought I would turn to you to help me brainstorm. Whether you have a mentor or not, please feel free to share your thoughts to the questions below in a comment—or email me directly at hello AT kaileenelise DOT com.

  • How did you establish a relationship with your mentor?

  • What are the most important qualities of a mentor?

  • Do you mentor anyone? How does the relationship benefit you?

  • Many people offer coaching and mentoring services—what are the benefits and disadvantages to this style of advice?