This word gets tossed around far too many times and far too easily. We think someone older, with something to say/wiser is immediately put into this category of mentor. If they give us a pithy one liner or take us out for coffee they are a mentor. If they modeled something beneficial, we attach mentor to their name.
I would encourage you to reserve this title for a little more elite class of “mentor” rather than simply an adviser.
Before you can define WHO your mentor is maybe you should understand WHAT a mentor is.
A person who has gone ahead of you in this journey and will instruct you of upcoming pitfalls.
Okay, I think we all understand this one, but its critical. If this person has nothing of value to bring you than they are clearly not a mentor. A mentor must bring something of value or expertise in an area you are wanting to grow in. They must have a great maturity, knowledge base, and expertise in an area you want to grow in. They are clearly at the top of their field and willing to share wisdom and provide constructive criticism to you.
A person who intentionally listens you to and guides you according to your current obstacles.
A person who wants the best for you and invests a priority of life into you, time, in order to see you succeed.
I think we have people in our lives who give up time, but there is a difference in my mind when some invests in you. They are willing to spend significant time and energy working through ideas in order for you to growth. They can assess who you are and recognize ways you can grow. They see something in you and are willing to give up their time and energy to see that something grow in you.
What other critical marks do you look for in a mentor?
How do you distinguish a friend or advisor from a mentor?