Throughout your lifetime, you have probably had many mentors. You may not have recognized them as such, but guidance counsellors, sports coaches, and career managers are all types of mentors. Once you get past 50 though, you may think you know it all or that your experience is all you need to guide you through your golden years. You may question your need for a midlife mentor.
But consider this: no matter how old you are, there is always someone older, wiser, and with more experience. And harnessing their wisdom can close the divide between an ok life after 50 to one that encapsulates all the dreams you had for retirement during your working years.
In fact, you probably do have a few mentors in your life right now…
- If you are planning for retirement, you may have a financial planner or bank advisor.
- If you are trying to get into physical shape, you may have a personal trainer.
- If you are struggling with personal issues, you may belong to a group or a church.
All of these people did or are helping you achieve some sort of objective.
Admittedly, when I was younger, I thought fifty was old and that I would have it “all together” once I reached that milestone. What that meant to me was that I would know where I was going, what I was doing and how I was going to achieve that. In other words, I thought I would have all the answers.
When I reached middle age and I realized that I didn’t, I had an over-whelming feeling of being stuck, bored and agitated with life. I began to grasp on to the idea that I needed to make major life changes to make me happy. A midlife mentor helped me recognize that change can be good, but they have to be the right changes.
I’m not sure why I believed that things would just fall into place for me in some cosmic, natural rhythm, that somehow the life I wanted would just fall into my lap. Up to this point in my life, I had to focus on what I wanted and make clear goals and plans to be successful. I looked to others that I thought had already taken this path and took advice from them.
But now, I was expecting myself to have all the answers.
Why was I approaching middle age completely contrary to everything I had done before?
Again, this comes back to feeling like at this age, one should have all the answers.
Maybe some do, but I don’t. And that’s ok.
What’s not ok, is spinning around in a circle, trying to find answers when the person right next to me may have already figured out that part of the journey I wish to take.
If you are feeling like you are lacking purpose and direction, I strongly suggest you find yourself a midlife mentor.
They can help you in so many ways:
10 Ways A Midlife Mentor Helps You Find And Achieve Your Life’s Purpose
- Helps you decide what you really want from life.
- Helps you set achievable goals.
- Helps you recognize unattainable goals that are clouding your focus and hindering your progress.
- Helps you navigate a path that they have already taken with inspiration and wisdom.
- Encourages you to go outside your comfort level.
- Makes you accountable to yourself.
- Helps you continually reassess your vision as it pertains to your goal.
- Becomes your own personal cheerleader but also makes you strive for more.
- Does not let you dwell on missteps and helps you adjust your plans for success.
- Helps you set a pace that is both challenging but feasible.
Ok. Awesome. You agree that you need a midlife mentor. Now what?
The first thing you really need to decide is exactly what kind of mentor you need. Do you already have a specific goal in mind, like moving to another country, living in an RV full-time or starting a business. Having a vision certainly helps you hone in on the type of person you need and where to look for them.
If you have not a clue what you want to do, then I suggest you get talking, listening and researching until you at least have a vague idea what you want to try.
Keep in mind that goals change. Purpose changes. Circumstances change. If you try something and it is not working, it is ok to re-direct.
Before you go running off in search of a mentor, understand what a mentor is and isn’t. They are not meant to be therapists but guides. Having a clear understanding of your goals and what you need from the relationship will help you find the right mentor.
Where To Look For A Midlife Mentor
- Start with your existing network and beyond. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon, ya, that is a thing. Your mentor could be already in your zone. You just haven’t looked.
- Online. We are so lucky to have so much information at our fingertips. Social media and hashtags make it so easy to connect with people of similar interests.
- Groups, masterminds and forums. Either online or in person, or in our case these days, zoom. From Facebook, to LinkedIn to local, you should have no trouble finding and connecting with others from around the corner or around the world.
Things To Look For In A Midlife Mentor
- Compatibility. You should instantly know if you click with this person or not.
- Trust. If you can’t be totally honest with them, it won’t work.
- Expertise. They don’t have to be miles ahead of you (or older than you) but just enough to be able to share their experiences and knowledge with you in a helpful way.
- Challenging. You want your mentor to push you out of your comfort zone.
- Understanding. They need to know and understand the nature of your relationship. Unless it is a paid mentorship, there must be benefits to both parties.
Have You Considered Mentoring?
You have a lot of knowledge and experience to share with someone else too and mentoring can be beneficial to you in so many ways.
Just like a sponsor in AA, mentoring another helps you with your own focus and goal setting. It also makes you feel good about paying it forward and helping someone else out.
So if you are having trouble finding a mentor, try mentoring someone else. At the very least, you will get a better understanding of the mentor/mentee relationship.
Do you have a midlife mentor? Share in comments how they have helped you achieve your dreams, goals or increase your happiness factor.