The word ‘mentoring’ isn’t a jargon anymore. But what comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘self-mentoring’?


First, mentoring is an action.

Second, according to most dictionaries, mentoring is defined as a professional relationship where an experienced person guides someone without such experience to gain knowledge in a certain area. 

But that doesn’t get you close to what self-mentoring really is, does it?

Like me,  you may have been mentored by a good number of people this far so you know how the story goes. But if now, think of every skill you have today and the people who have helped you develop each to the level you are in today.

Sometimes your mentors come to you in person. But other times, you have intimate sessions with them through their books, YouTube videos, podcasts and blogs, just like this one. Either way, you have someone walking with you through the skill-development process.

Get it?

Sometimes,  I practice business mentorship. I’m very particular while picking such clients. My mentees are people dripping with talents and are interested in making money from them; starting small passion-based businesses.

I help them package their talents into products or services that can solve other people’s problems. Through my experience in running my own and studying other people’s businesses, I am able to assist such people run their businesses better and keep them profitable.

For your information, I am not without fault. I have crashed several businesses; my first and third businesses crashed in exactly one year. My first left me totally sunk in debts. That part of my history helps me watch out for common mistakes that drown startups and even small businesses.

But that isn’t self-mentoring either. So what does it entail?

The Story of Self-Mentoring

Every Monday at 9 am, my friends (also running businesses) and I attend a business club meeting geared towards growing our businesses. Last Monday, the 2-hour session was turned into a free coaching session on ….you can now guess the topic, self-mentoring! The session was led by one of the members, Martin, a renowned business coach in Mombasa, Kenya.

This was the definition we used for self-mentoring.

“Self-mentoring is a process which requires you to assemble a realistic, accurate assessment of yourself (strengths and weaknesses) with the goal of crafting your ‘ideal self’ to heighten job performance, career progression or personal ambitions.” Wikipedia

Wow! Wait a minute, you have an ideal self?

If you are curious like me, you are in for even more. Coach Martin insisted on finding that ideal self through ‘dating yourself as an individual.’ Sounds weird because you need to take the tab after the date! 

Think of first dates, what really happens there?

You evaluate the other person. You analyze their good, bad and ugly characteristics. You also take time to discover what they like and don’t like, their strengths and weaknesses. And from this profound research, you decide if the person is worth another chance. Right?

the art of self-dating

Have you dated yourself lately? How did you yourself?

It puzzled us for a while but when he broke down the whole ‘self-dating process’, I must say I felt relieved. You will too.

Coach Martin took us through the four steps involved in self-dating on your way to self-mentoring. That’s what I would like to share them with you right here. So, go ahead and prepare your wallet, you will need to buy yourself a huge mug of coffee and a chocolate cake. Let me see how well you love yourself.

The 4 Elements of Self-Dating Your Way To Self-Mentoring

So you are in on the effective self-mentoring thing? Here are the 4 elements you need to look into.

  1. Physical Element

Evaluate where and how you were brought up. The environment in which you were brought up determines a huge number of your physical beliefs. By environment, I mean your family, neighborhood and even the people you have gathered around yourself while growing up.

How does your environment influence your decision on the food you eat? How about the way you handle finances? Did you know that even your zeal for physical exercises or the lack of it is influenced by your environment?

Think about it, if you were born in a family where physical exercises were treasured, you are likely to feel guilty if you didn’t exercise for a while.

Don’t judge yourself harshly. But if tempted to do so, think of people who grew up as vegetarians, even if they marry non-vegetarians, chances of them eating meat is narrow!

If you take time to answer the above questions, you will see that the things you do are linked to some beliefs you borrowed from your environment. That is a shocker, isn’t it?

  1. Social Element –

Here, review your temperament; how you handle interactions with the people around you. Coach Martin referred us to some personality tests. There are quite a number online. Try the Jung and Briggs Myers’ personality test or the 16 personalities test from Neris Analytics. Both if you are daring.

This will help you understand your social associations and why you connect with people in a certain way. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wondering why certain people hang around you. Think about it, why are they your friends in the first place?

How does each relationship you have build you? Do they make you a better or bitter person?

Remember, you give what you already have within you. So, what exactly do you serve your clients, friends and family?

During the meeting, Coach Martin called us to question our relationships. In particular, he asked, “If you got into some humiliating kind of trouble in the middle of the night and decided to call your friends to assist you, what response would they give?”

How sure are you that they are your true friends?

(There goes an OUCH!)


  1. Mental Element –

Mental element

Mental element in Self-mentoring

In self-mentoring, the mental element points to the way you reason.

What influences your reasoning?

In over 90% of lives’ circumstances, we react to according to learned scripts.; things you learned while growing up. Such are the things you need to evaluate while self-mentoring. Some of these scripts are terrible and prevent your progress.

Even if you were to be mentored by someone else, you would need to alter them so as to see positive results. The good news is, you have some good scripts too. These, you should keep and even make them better.

This got me thinking, the main reason as why I mentor people so passionately and desire to see them succeed. It is largely influenced by my mother who is now a retired primary school teacher.

When I was little, she spent a lot of her after-school hours coaching people. When she wasn’t doing it at church, she was talking to the ladies in the village on how to invest in shares, conduct barter trade, grow the right kind of food crops and eat balanced diet. Being the last born, I followed her everywhere she went, and somehow that rubbed perfectly well on me.

Here I am today carrying that baton!

This script tells me to reach out and help other people. It tells me to share my business knowledge. This script also helps me connect with people people of all walks of life. Whenever I meet young people, I can’t help but notice their talents and things they are passionate about. In almost every such case, I encourage them to turn their passions into businesses. Weird, isn’t it?

What are some of those scripts that you learnt as you were growing? Are they holding hostage your success?

The ransom is rewriting the learned script with positivism. You can do this by reading books that address that limiting factor so as to unteach yourself the habits that limit you. Reading and choosing one or more traits to apply in your life from a helpful book per month will help you build new habits. Your success rate will be fast!

You should also learn new skills; not just any skills, but skills that challenge and build you. One of the skills I would love to build is in body flexibility. For that, I would choose learning how to dance to Indian songs. I find them invigorating and believe they would help me succeed in my desired goal.

Kris, a member of the business club suggested that we read a book called Mechanics of Mind control. How about you also watch it on YouTube too? It has even a part 2 to it!

  1. Spiritual Element –

The last part of self-dating your way to self-mentoring is examining your desire to leave a legacy wherever you go. Most of us have the desire to touch people’s lives; leaving a good taste in the mouths of the people we meet.

Did you know that the two highest human needs are to grow and to contribute? The need to contribute involves making others’ lives better.

While self-mentoring, consider helping people achieve things that they need to achieve. This has everything to do with mentoring people around you. You are an expert at something and there is someone around you who wants to learn it. Would you be kind enough to teach them how to do it?

This for me has led to training people how to do online jobs. Having succeeded in getting jobs as a freelance writer, my aim is to help people earn a living through online freelancing. Most of the unemployed people I interact with have skills they can use to provide services online and get paid for it. It only takes connecting them to possible employers.

Coach Martin emphasized on reacting positively with circumstances that entice you to react in an indifferent manner.

Think of when someone steps on your foot and then makes a face at you to imply that they aren’t sorry. The immediate reaction would be to shout at them.

“Where the heck are your freaking eyes?”

How about responding with a smile and saying, “Don’t worry about it”? That leaves them thinking hard about their nasty actions.

For every good action, you do while you still live, you not only change someone’s life but also make your own heart glad. Don’t you want to live that happy life?

The Process of Effective Self-mentoring 

business mentorship

When you begin the self-mentoring process you will realize that there are a number of things you may have forgotten about yourself. The process will help you rediscover yourself. To make this possible in our business club, we decided to do some cool homework. Besides, what would be the use of such great coaching if we didn’t have something to work on?

Let me share it with you right here.

Building Your Ideal Self Through Self-Mentoring

Create a weekly plan on how to address the 4 elements of your life. For 6 days  carry out an exercise on self-dating and evaluate yourself on the 7th day.

Remember to carry out this exercise for a whole month and then continue with part 2 to 6 for as long as you live. Awesome, isn’t it?

Here is how to go about it.

  1. Understand yourself:

Carry out the personality test; try it out from two different tests so as to get better results.

  1. Enlighten yourself:

Select a book you are going to read throughout this month and begin reading it.

  1. Enlarge your territory:

Choose the skill you are going to learn and start immediately.

  1. Value your health:

Pick one physical exercise to engage in throughout this month; jogging, skipping, aerobics, swimming. And make it fun!

  1. Enrich others:

Write down a list of people whose lives you want to influence positively and do it.

  1. Cleanse yourself:

Identify bad scripts in your life and rewrite them for good. If you run a small business, review beliefs about money as a matter of priority!

This is not going to be so easy. Remember, you have a strong ability to resist change hence you will find it easier to resist than the change. Visualize the richer version of you; the ideal self that has taken steps to succeed and live life to the full potential and then pursues the necessary changes. Besides, what is the use of growing old angry about things you didn’t pursue? 

The richer version of you is only 6 steps away. Jim Kwik, the American entrepreneur behind online brain training and learning firm; Kwik Learning says that the best way to learn something is to learn it with the intention of teaching others. That way, you aim for in-depth learning and continuous practice. That’s the only way you are going to succeed in self-mentoring. Begin today and grow!

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