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Find the Right Mentor in Three Simple Steps

Estimated reading time ~ 2 min
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If asked to sum up the last two years of my life and attribute it to a single term, that would be mentorship. Having a mentor has offered me transformative guidance, support, and encouragement through developing my competencies and character. If you are currently pursuing a mentor, here are some ways to ensure you are considering the right one.

Craft Your Goals

While mentorship can drastically change your life, it only happens if you are in tune with your passions, goals, or areas of desired improvement. It's important to ask yourself: What are your values? What do you want to accomplish in one year? Five years? What goals may lead to your success, and in what time frame are you aiming to achieve these? What does success entail to you?

While these are just a few questions to ask yourself, take a sheet of paper, divide it into four sections, and write out personal goals, professional goals, passions, and areas of improvement. While you brainstorm a few of these ideas, attempt to dive deep and make sure you're transparent with yourself. Your next steps are to decide where to seek mentorship.

It Doesn’t Take One

Having mentors absolutely molded me. Notice how I used a plural form, mentors? That’s because, throughout the last two years, I have developed six different relationships with mentors who play a pivotal role in my life. I never limited myself to the idea that I should only have one mentor. Instead, I gained a more valuable outlook by collecting advice from multiple mentors. Each mentor is uniquely equipped to solve a specific problem or goal I am currently working towards.

Be Thoughtful

Once you have self-reflected and crafted a list of potential individuals to be your mentor, it's important to keep in mind only some are open to being a mentor. Don't rush the process; this should be a thoughtful decision. The people who come to mind should guide, inspire, and positively challenge you. Develop a relationship before asking for their commitment as your mentor. Start with coffee chats and regular correspondence. Stay consistent and confident, as these individuals should be people you look up to and will build a strong relationship with.

Here are some questions to get you thinking:

  • Do you have an existing network of people you can tap into? Which of these relationships are more developed?
  • Where are the gaps in needed support? Are there barriers that prevent you from seeking support?
  • Do you rely on the same person to meet multiple needs? Do you see the results you've been seeking? How do they respond to your outreach?
  • Do they practice what they preach?

Some last words of wisdom, share your vision for the future, clarify your goals, and put into action the advice given. This exercise allows you to lay the foundation for authentic and meaningful connections—creating a support system around you. Had it not been for the people who challenged me to be a better person, I wouldn't be where I am today. My support system has helped me overcome struggles and become a passionate, successful professional.

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