How to Find Manly Mentors

Fun question today. It came from Brian from our Facebook community, Five Minute Fatherhood. If you’re not on there, you need to be on there. It’s a blast. We just had a really fun discussion on college. That was a blast, and I love that stuff. I eat it up. It’s really life giving to me, and so thank you for anyone in the group who contributes. Really fun and sharpening and edifying for me and Jeremy. Brian asked, “One topic that I’d love to hear expounded on is manly mentors. For someone like myself who grew up fatherless, this would be advice about finding mentors…” So, how do you find mentors? “Or having multiple mentors, what a mentor relationship can look like. I also think advice about finding mentors for our children, because ideally our children will have multiple paternal figures to look up to.” Really good question. We’ll maybe tackle this from a lot of angles, and it’s hard to answer in five minutes.

I know Jeremy has some really good stuff specifically on how to engage your kids with mentors and expose them to different leaders, yourself, et cetera. But I’ll even talk just from mine and Jeremy’s relationship. I think one thing that’s been prominent for us building such a strong relationship over seven, eight years now or something like that is, is the best way I can say is just don’t make it weird and think about this really specific action items and all these different things, I think. Because the first mistake a lot of young people do is they, I think, engage with too much of a game plan, if that makes sense. It’s got to be this, that, like they’re almost trying to bring the finish line to the starting point and then it just overwhelms everyone. It’s too much.

Literally this is all I can say. The best thing to do is just ask the person you’re interested in learning from a bunch of questions, and that can be at different settings. You can ask him to coffee. You can ask them to dinner. Maybe you’re already in a setting where you’re just over at their house at dinners a lot or in their front yard. Whatever it is just ask a bunch of questions. I feel like that’s how our relationship started in more of the mentoring ways. I just was always like, “Oh, tell me more about this. Tell me more about this. Tell me more about this.” I wouldn’t even say it was like, “Hey, be my mentor,” and then all of a sudden later it was like, “Oh, it’s kind of shaped up to be like that where we just would call each other.” I’d ask questions, and I’d email them and stuff like that.

So, just ask questions, and it tends to just go on its own. So, I think that’s the biggest one is just be very curious, ask a lot of questions, put yourself in settings where you’re kind of taking the brunt of the initiation, if that makes sense. So, that’s one thing I would say. what would you say, Jeremy?

Yeah, I totally agree with that. I think that oftentimes the first step into this is never to go to somebody and say, “Will you be my mentor?” That’s very intimidating for most guys, unless they have a program that they’ve got set up and they’ve talked about it very openly. That feels like a ton of pressure that you’re trying to take from your shoulders and put on them. I think the best way to get people to mentor you is to simply do it by accident. In other words, ask them every month or two like, “Can we go out to coffee? I got some specific questions. Can I pick your brain? I’m really excited about this or that, that I see in your life, and I just want to like talk to you about it.” Man, most people love to take that meeting, and you can do that over and over again.

If you do that for six months, then that person is your mentor. You’re talking to them. You’re asking them questions, and at some point you have a conversation like, “Hey, can we do this once a month?” After you’ve been doing it for a little while I think that’s fine. But I think that it’s better to keep the onus on you as the student of this person and be constantly taking the initiative because you’re really getting the benefit from this relationship. So it’s important not to just throw all the responsibility onto the other person. That’s really fun for people to be able to share their wisdom. A lot of men, as they get older, this is what they’re built to do is that there’s a whole stage in a man’s life where he just enters into this stage of the sage it’s called.

They just want to deliver the things that they’ve… The hard won pieces of wisdom that they’ve really lived out they want to pass on to other people, but it’s really difficult for them to figure out how to do that. So, I’d really encourage you guys to pursue people that you respect, you like the value you see in their life, and simply asked to have a conversation with them. Take them to coffee or lunch or something and get that relationship going. I would also say to you guys, as your kids get older, do the same thing for your kids. If you notice that somebody is really someone your child could relate to, see if they would spend some time with them. This could be like, “Hey, would you do two or three meetings with my son or my daughter?” You can work with your son or daughter and make sure that there are some questions that they’re asking.

But, man, we’ve seen this really benefit our kids. Jackson, for example, right now is hanging out with my friend Ryan a lot, once a week, and it’s been amazing for him. They’ve worked together. Just want to shout out to him because he’s on Five Minute Fatherhood Facebook group. I know he’s listening to these. Guys like Mark [Treese 00:04:44] and Brent White, there’s so many of my friends who’ve invested in my kids in powerful ways, and so it’s really important that your network continue to expand. A lot of times the people that you invest in are going to be very interested investing in your kids.

So, this is a good reason to make sure that you’re also going downstream with this conversation and pursuing people and make sure that you’re opening yourself up to mentor others who are downstream from you, knowing that some of those people probably turn around and mentor your kids. So, that’s been an amazing connection that we’ve made with a lot of people, and it’s really bearing fruit at this point in our…

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