“I feel stuck.”
Those three words hung in the air as I looked at my client (we’ll call her Jess). Her shoulders were slumped forward, and the corners of her mouth turned down. I had been working with Jess for 10 months now. When she first came to me, she was struggling with PCOS and had endured a life of jumping from one diet to the next in hopes of reaching her dream weight. She suffered from many of the same issues I saw in the other women I worked with: a tendency toward people-pleasing, difficulty setting boundaries with the people in her life, deep criticism of her appearance, and the belief that caring for herself was selfish. She wanted to get unstuck.
In this particular session, Jess was in the midst of a setback. She was going through an incredibly stressful time at work that was impacting her sleep and eating habits, and she struggled with setting healthy boundaries with her family during a recent holiday weekend. She was clearly feeling burnt out and defeated. She stared at me with wide eyes, silently pleading for me to tell her how to get unstuck.
I’ve sat through this scenario many times – a client putting me in the “expert” seat, looking to me to tell them what to do next. Although part of my job is to share my expertise with women, it’s not what helps most women get unstuck. When my clients are feeling stuck, I guide them toward a different, more powerful, trick that’s far more effective than my “expertise”.
“What would your inner mentor do in this situation?”, I asked Jess. Her eyes glittered a little bit, and the corners of her mouth softened. She relaxed her shoulders, and closed her eyes for a moment. I knew she was tuning in to her inner mentor. When she opened her eyes, she instantly looked more relaxed and confident. She looked unstuck.
The Inner Mentor is a powerful trick to help you get unstuck in almost any situation. Whether you’re feeling lost, complacent, or angry, your Inner Mentor offers clarity and wisdom. In this post, I’ll explain what an Inner Mentor is, why it’s so powerful, and take you through the simple steps of finding your own Inner Mentor.
What is an Inner Mentor?
Your Inner Mentor is your future self. She’s the person you desire yourself to be in 5, 10, 20, or more years down the line. She represents the fullest expression of your true self, a woman who lives fully, who is comfortable and confident in her skin, and brings all of her beautiful gifts to the world without fear. She is wise. She knows what it takes to get from where you are right now to where you want to be (where she is). She offers you unwavering support. She is always there for you whenever you need her.
I first learned about the Inner Mentor from the book Playing Big by Tara Mohr. Tara explains that while real-life mentors (or experts) are valuable, they leave much to be desired. For one, they create a hierarchical dynamic where the mentee is placed at a lower status in relation to the mentor. This perpetuates an unhelpful behavior I see in so many women – outsourcing our power. It encourages us to look to external authorities to tell us what to do or how to get unstuck instead of teaching us to trust ourselves to know what to do. Also, real-life mentors are limited by their own perspective. They have no way of fully knowing the grand vision you have for your life. Only you can know that. Since practicing the Inner Mentor in my own life, I started practicing it with my clients, and the results have blown me away.
How To Find Your Inner Mentor
In order to leverage this powerful tool for yourself, you first need to create a very clear vision for your future self. You can find your Inner Mentor in a few ways:
- Listen to Tara Mohr’s free Inner Mentor Visualization. This guided meditation walks you through the experience of meeting your future self, building a detailed vision of who she is and what her life is like, and provides some journaling questions to help you clarify her.
- Write out your goals for your future self. Now, imagine who you must be to accomplish and live out these goals. What does a typical day look like? What does your life feel like now that you’re living out your dreams? Write out this vision in as much detail as possible. Walking through an “ideal day” in the life of your future self, from waking up to going to sleep, is helpful.
The goal is to get as detailed and vivid as possible about your future self so that when you’re feeling stuck, you can clearly and easily bring her to mind.
How Can Your Inner Mentor Help You Get Unstuck?
Women are wise. The problem is, most of them don’t know it.
As women, we’ve spent our lives learning how to look to external authorities for answers on how to do, well, everything. That’s what school is, right? We learn what behavior gets As, how each teacher prefers we write our own name on our papers, and how to recite things from textbooks. That’s what fashion magazines are, right? We learn what we’re supposed to wear and how our bodies should look. That’s what social media is, right? We look to influencers to tell us what to buy and which diet to go on.
It’s not wrong to learn from or feel inspired by external authorities, but there’s an imbalance happening. Women aren’t learning to look to themselves for information. Women are solely relying on the external world to tell them how to look, dress, act, and what to do with their lives. This is one of the reasons why diets don’t work – they require you to outsource your power to a diet guru. Every time we feel stuck, we turn to someone or something else to tell us what to do. This is bananas because every woman has a wellspring of wisdom sitting inside of herself waiting to be called upon, so it’s time to restore the balance.
Your Inner Mentor is the keeper of your inner wisdom. When you say “yes” to something you don’t actually want to do and feel a little pang in your stomach – that’s her speaking to you. When you make a big life change and instantly feel a soaring sense of joy – that’s her speaking to you too. The fastest and best way to get unstuck? Tap into your Inner Mentor’s wisdom. Next time you’re feeling stuck, before turning to anyone else for advice, sit quietly with yourself for a few minutes. Take three big, deep breaths. Bring the situation in question to mind. Then, bring your Inner Mentor to mind. Ask her, “What do I need to know right now to take another step toward where you are?”
What comes through? What does she communicate with you? What feelings or thoughts come up? Let her guide you toward the next right step. After some practice, your Inner Mentor will be the first place you turn to get unstuck.
Over To You…
Who is your Inner Mentor? What kind of person is she? What does she value? How does she fill her days?
When you’re feeling stuck, what is your first instinct? Do you look to external authorities to tell you what to do? Do you tap into your inner wisdom?