There are mentors in every area of life and situation. In BDSM it is sometimes recommended to newbies to pick up a mentor but are never given the tools to find a mentor that is right for them. I know that when I first started out there were good people to be around and not so great people that left their mark on me. I do wish that people had lead me to learn what a mentor is and how to go about finding one that is right for me.
First, a mentor isn't just a friend that you can talk to, although they could start out that way. A mentor is someone that you can get advice from, learn from and feel close to in a submissive context. They exist to help you learn who you are and what to expect in different lifestyle situations you may encounter as you grow in confidence and submission. A mentor is not a trainer and should not be directly involved in any physical training that you undergo. You should never have an intimate physical relationship with your mentor.
Let's take a real world example: Big Brothers and Big Sisters. These volunteers are mentors for needy children all over the nation. They become friends and confidants for the kids involved and some go on to be close to their little brothers/sisters well into adult hood. They strengthen the child's confidence and provide them an outlet to learn and grow without the stress of parents influence. It's all healthy and beneficial for both parties.
A BDSM mentor should be similar. There are a few things I'd like you to look for the next time you seek out a mentor for your life. Keep them in mind the next time you approach someone and you may be able to find the person that can guide you.
1. Are their beliefs and definitions similar to yours?
You want to find a mentor that has the same definitions of common terms in BDSM. If they feel that a submissive and a slave are the same thing, and you don't then they won't be compatible with you when you bring up topics along that thread of thought. Treat your first few conversations as an interview. Ask them how they came into BDSM, what they think about safewords and relationships and those all important personal terms. If they mesh well with what you think then keep going. This person could be a good mentor for you.
If you are so new that you don't know what those personal definitions mean to you, then take on what is known as an open mentor. This is someone that is available for new people to learn for themselves and helps guide you into your own definitions so that you can find a more targeted mentor later on if you choose to. I consider myself an open mentor and want to help you find yourself before you key into the specifics of your new life as a submissive. I can do focused mentoring, but prefer to make sure your personal beliefs and definitions are solidified first.
2. Are they open to letting you talk or do they force a lot of questions at you?
A good mentor is going to allow for silence in conversation so that you can think things through and talk about what you want to talk about. Mentors know when to point questions at you that will help you think, but keep the conversation flowing the way that is most beneficial to you, the mentee, not the mentor. You should be able to pick up this trait from the interview phase.
3. Are they professional yet comfortable to be around?
When you first meet someone or talk to someone that is considering being your mentor, are they professional in manner? You should feel comfortable around them relatively easily and feel free to talk about whatever is on your mind. If you feel uncomfortable or their questions are far more private than your relationship allows, it's a warning sign that they are not the mentor for you. A mentor's job is to make a novice comfortable with what they are experiencing and who they are, if that can't happen in the interview phase it may not happen at all.
4. Do they appear to know what they are talking about?
Mentors are not going to know everything, but they are going to be well versed in a lot of aspects that novices come to them with questions about. If your mentor gives you the impression that they don't know a whole lot about what you need to talk about, it may be best to seek out someone else. Great mentors will be prepared for all questions, even if it means they need to research and learn before they can give you quality advice. Someone not willing to work for you as well as with you isn't really taking your growth strongly.
Now there are a lot of other things to look for in a mentor, but for now; take these thoughts and figure out if a mentor would be someone you want in your current situation. If it is, start seeking them. Interview them before you start pouring your thoughts to them. Get to know them as a person and as a submissive. Feel comfortable with them and don't let them lead the thoughts, they are there for your growth. Continue to learn and your submission will develop.
Do you have questions you'd like me to answer? Let me know in the comments or the contact form. If you want to remain anonymous, just make your name 'Anon' or something similar.