Get Inspired

Here's the secret to building major confidence this spring

You've heard of spring cleaning your locker, your bedroom and your closet...but what about your self-image? A confidence refresh might be *just* the thing you need to achieve, uh, full bloom this szn. 

But building sustainable self-love is about more than treating yourself to a face mask and a bubble bath now and again. It means making concrete changes in your life so you can bounce back after any struggle—whether it's an awk crush interaction or not-so-great quiz grade.

If you feel like channeling confidence is low-key tricky, you're not alone. A new study from Être shows that girls' self-image plummets between the ages of 13 and 18, thanks to a combo of your brain and social skills developing during high school. Plus, growing up brings all kinds of new pressures (Friend drama! SAT scores! Internships!), so it's no surprise that the percentage of girls who say they're stressed increases by 241% (!!!) at this life stage.

But there's some good news, too: Having a mentor to support you makes a *huge* difference in your confidence level long-term. (In fact, 91% of girls said that their experience with mentorship was directly related to a confidence boost.) Brb, taking notes. 

Turns out the biggest barrier to mentorship = knowing where to start. We asked Illana Raia, mentorship expert and author of The Epic Mentor Guide, some of the most common Q's our readers have about finding a mentor. Step 1: See her A+ advice below. Step 2: Enter your confident girl era—and never look back.

What even is a mentor, anyway?

Ngl, we also had that exact thought. Here's the thing: Every gal has a different vision of what her perfect mentor looks like IRL.

But at their core, all great mentors have one key similarity: "They're another person who helps guide and support you in your journey," Raia explains.

Connecting with someone who can show you the ropes, give you advice and have your back 24/7 can improve, well, nearly every aspect of your life. "Maybe you're discovering how to apply passions to a career path, learning about a new sport and trying out for the team or something as simple as gaining the confidence to raise a hand in algebra class," says Raia.

No matter your goals, a mentor is your #1 point person to help you achieve them.

How can I find a mentor?

Mentors really are everywhere—you just need to know where to look. "Talk to your parents, teachers, coaches, neighbors, school counselors—and even look to social media."

A mentor can be anyone from your drama group leader to your biology teacher to your super cool aunt. "It can be someone who spoke at your school, wrote a book you loved or launched a nonprofit you admire," Raia adds.

If you're looking for a mentor, do some self-reflection to help you brainstorm. "Who are the people who inspire you in your life?" Raia asks. "Has someone pursued a career that you didn't even know existed and are interested in learning more about? Is there a positive influence in your life you would love to emulate?"

What if I don't know anyone who can mentor me in my specific interests?

When you're on the hunt for a mentor, Raia recommends being open-minded about what the people around you might have to offer. "Don't be frustrated if you don't have a personal connection with someone who aligns with your specific interests right away. Think big, be curious and talk to everyone. That way you'll find the mentor you really connect with," Raia says. (Psst: If you still need help getting started, you can also reach out to someone like Raia through her website HERE.)

I found someone I want to be my mentor! But how do I reach out?

We hear ya: Reaching out to someone—even a friend's mom or a neighbor—can be scary. That's why Raia suggests doing some prep ahead of time. "Put pen to paper, write down exactly why you are asking this person to be your mentor, what you admire about them and how you think they can help you in your journey," she advises. That way, you'll feel more confident going into the convo.

What's one piece of advice you'd give to your teen self?

Raia has some serious wisdom: "A mentor doesn’t have to last a whole lifetime. Mentor moments are powerful, and even if they happen in the space of 15 minutes, their impact can last."

Let's just say Raia is a biiig fan of raising your hand (even if it's scary!), asking your questions and stepping out of your comfort zone—so you don't let any potential mentor magic pass you by.

Ready to find your perfect mentor? Learn more here!

Need more life advice? Check out our tips:
πŸ’– The idealistic girl's guide to finding inspo outside of the internet
πŸ’– How to make friends in a totally new place
πŸ’– How to reset when you're stuck in a rut


by Ava Slocum | 2/28/2024