As a new graduate, everyday I heard how important is was to find a mentor. They help you with clinical reasoning, workplace problem solving, and achieving your goals … but I had no idea where these magical mentor unicorns lived or where I could go to get them to gift me their precious time and knowledge.
Not only that but I would always think … why would anyone want to mentor me? I’m a nobody. I have no idea where I want to be in one year, let alone five! Why would someone help ME? There are way more motivated, passionate, and driven people out there so I’m just not going to risk the rejection and I’ll just stay safely here (possibly freaking out and stuck in this cycle of wanting to find a mentor but being too scared to find one).
The more I compared myself to my colleagues, friends, and supervisors the less special I felt and the more I doubted myself, and my professional potential. (Does this story sound familiar to you at all?) I know I’m not the only person who has felt this way.
Mentors can help you achieve something incredibly particular, like writing a project plan, or planning for your career. They can be there to guide you over a number of years or just a once off meeting all to help you achieve your goals in the process. In general finding a mentor is all about being:
- relationships orientated
- developing confidence
- improving performance
- career development
- sharing knowledge
Finding a mentor requires a bit of confidence and the ability to JFDI (just freaking do it).
In reality searching for one can be fruitless, unless you know what you want. Shifting this mindset from one of ‘finding’ to actively searching is where you start building your own personal arsenal of amazing mentors. (That’s right, having ONE is not enough - I currently have seven).
Before we can JFDI, we need to figure out a few things. Why do you want a mentor - besides being told it a great idea by your mum/manager/teacher/tattooist ...
- Think about your strengths and weaknesses. Where are you right now on your strengths and how do you see yourself improving on this? (If you’re unsure then check out this sweet document)
- Who have you already met? Think about managers, tutors, friends, random people you have met. Who have you felt a connection with, and have you invited them for a coffee? These are the people that you can start reaching out to and seeing if they are able to help you with developing and improving on your strengths.
- Reach out to those who inspire you. Send an email to two people today, ask them for a coffee to discuss how they started their career journey (... and keep going from there!)
The time to step up, get support, and be inspired about your future is what 2017 is all about. Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what your plans are. I would love to hear about them.
Better yet, sign-up for our 5 month mentoring program. Join us and up your skills to create your own arsenal of mentors that will support you in your professional pursuits.