Where have all the mentors gone?

Miracle of Mentoring - Passing the Torch
The Miracle of Mentoring is that it gets us out of our own confined reality and turns the focus on others. (Click to Tweet)

I recently had lunch with a friend and the topic of mentoring came up. My friend is short on time. His schedule is crammed already and he feels like he hardly has time to breathe.

So what advice did I give him?

To mentor someone.

Yes, that is right. I suggested he spend an additional two hours each week mentoring someone.

The lost art

Mentoring has become a lost art. I think it is due, in part, to availability of information at our fingertips 24/7. Who needs a mentor when we have Google, right?

But Google won’t ask the tough questions that you need to be asked in life.

Google won’t ask you what God looks like or why you really hired that person or what’s keeping you awake at night.

It won’t make you think deeply and rarely will it give you an unexpected nugget of truth that changes your life. That’s not its job.

The role of a mentor

Years ago, when large, now-fossilized animals roamed the earth (you know, the 1950’s), mentoring was still commonplace. It was necessary.

Mentoring is how teenagers and twenty-somethings learned their jobs. It’s how they learned to be husbands and fathers, wives and daughters. It’s how humanity passed knowledge from one generation to the next. It’s how painful life experiences became valuable life lessons for those willing to listen.

And we’ve lost that. But you can help change that.

The Miracle of Mentoring

Back to my time-crunched friend…

His schedule is already full. He barely sleeps enough as it is. And he is at the end of his proverbial rope.

And I come along and suggest he spend two additional hours mentoring someone? (I’m a real pal)

Tim Sanders, the former CSO of Yahoo, has often talked about this idea in his speeches and books. I call it the Miracle of Mentoring.

Sanders says that if you pressed for time, you should mentor someone. That’s it. People often respond like this:

“But you don’t understand. I’m already short on time. And now you’re asking me to spend more time helping someone else?”

The Miracle of Mentoring is that you gain much more than those two hours back. I can’t explain it (that’s why it’s miraculous), but it’s true.

There is something miraculous about getting out of our own confined reality and turning the focus on others.

I’ve seen this as a parent when, on days on which I literally had no margins, I impulsively took twenty minutes to go play with my daughter. I’d get lost in play, lost in teaching, lost in the well-being and care of another person. And the rest of the day seemed to breeze by.

Mentoring is the same way. It warps time. It allows us to conquer the grind.

I challenge you be a mentor. To change the world…because you will.

Stay tuned tomorrow as I answer a reader’s email on how to find a good mentor for yourself. Make sure to subscribe to my RSS feed or get posts via email (and get my free book as a bonus) so you don’t miss it.

Are you already mentoring someone? If not, what is holding you back?

9 thoughts on “The Miracle of Mentoring

  1. Let's Grow Leaders says:

    “in learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” -Phil Collins

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Is that a lyric from one of his songs?

  2. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    I am, but not as frequently as I should. There’s a young man that I go to church with that has came to me a time or two with some questions. I suggested to him that we have lunch once a month or so and just talk. He agreed. We just haven’t kept to our once a month schedule.
    Your post has prompted me to text him today to set up another lunch. Thanks Matt!
    Great post, and you’re right, mentoring is a lost art–but oh so important! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      That is awesome to hear Mark!

  3. Joshua Rivers says:

    I haven’t been mentoring anyone directly lately. I do it indirectly through my blog and podcast, but I need to get back to working one-on-one with someone. Thanks for the encouragement, Matt!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Very true Josh. And the one-on-one is great too.

  4. Steve Pate says:

    I’ve found a mentor about two years ago and we make an effort to make sure we at least talk once a month for one hour. He’s been nothing but a blessing to me and his wisdom is strong. The best part, we feed off each other really well! In fact I got asked to write an article about it last year in, In-Site magazine!

    In returned I made sure to mentor a couple of our summer staff last summer and I tell you what, that made the summer for me! To listen what young men think about and see their dreams is just a blessing.

    Thanks Matt

  5. Jon Stolpe says:

    Someone asked me to consider being there mentor several months ago. I think they were a little scared of what that actually means after we talked about it for a little while. I’m sure I play a role in mentoring people at work, at home, and at church, but it is not necessarily referred to a mentoring. I could definitely be more intentional in this area. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Kent Julian says:

    Mentoring. Coaching. Masterminding. All create amazing results. Thanks for sharing, Matt.

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