My Mentor

Recently I went to the “Boston’s young professional” seminar, and the most common advice there was “find a good mentor and your career will take off.” I’m sure a lot of you have heard similar advice from other professionals. Truth be told this is great advice, and it’s true finding a good mentor is very important……..but this isn’t new advice is it?  I mean George Lucas taught us this lesson, from the Star Wars movies (even the bad ones).

Here is my pet peeve with this advice; no one ever tells you how to find a good mentor or where to find one, including George Lucas! I think most of us are lost when it comes to “finding a mentor” because let’s face it there is no “mentor” store you can go to, when you can just rent one. So how do you find one?

Start with the basic question, what is a mentor? I think the answer to this question varies from person to person. Some people look at mentors for validation, because they need someone to tell them that they are meant to do something great. For other people, they need a mentor to teach them the ropes so to speak. I need a mentor to be a friend, before anything.  I’ve been lucky enough to meet and talk to a lot of really amazing people in my life, but I wouldn’t consider all of them my mentors. The two people I would call my mentors, probably don’t even know they are/were mentoring me, because first and foremost I consider them good friends,  I would go grab a beer with them or watch a game them or just shoot the breeze. My approach to finding a mentor has always been to find a good friend first, someone who I will enjoy hanging around even if they didn’t “mentor” me.  With that said, if this person happens to be a positive influence on your life (life, career, relationships, so on…) it’s a bonus. So before you go off trying to find a mentor, start with that basic question.  Answering that question will help you figure out, what you need from your mentor. Instinctively that will help you find the right person.

Comments
7 Responses to “My Mentor”
  1. I’d say a mentor, at least for me, is someone a bit more authoritative than a friend. They’re someone in a position of higher power than you in the field that you’re interested in that see your potential and want to see you exceed the goals you have set for yourself. My mentor is the editor of the newspaper I’ve been interning for the past 4 years. Even though I’ve gone away to school, I keep in contact with him and he helps me think of ways to challenge myself and expand my skills and network.

    I’ve also recently found a mentor in a professor at my university; she’s a great role model for me and actively gives me guidance and feedback on things like being assertive and confident, and how to successfully navigate the academic and professional world as a woman.

    Sorry this comment is so lengthy! I’ve just been learning this year how important good mentors can be and how easy it can be to find one. Just be enthusiastic, attentive, and ask lots of questions; someone’s bound to snatch you up as a protege.

    • mukkamala0603 says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you for taking the time to read this! I agree with you, both my mentors were bosses I’ve had at jobs in my career. The point I was trying to get across, is that people based on their personality may respond differently to different types of mentors. For example you probably enjoy having an authoritative mentor, because you feel like they are properly guiding you along. Myself I don’t respond very well to that type of mentoring, I instinctively shut them out, because I feel like they are just telling me what to do. (I realize that’s not what they are doing, but it’s a perception thing)

      • Oh ok, that definitely makes sense. Preception is really important, considering you have a mentor for your own development. Also, being a writer/journalist I think my fear of coming up short dictates my mentoring needs. I could see how in other fields mentoring could look totally different. Either way, great post!

      • mukkamala0603 says:

        Thank you again for reading, and I appreciate you taking the time to comment on it. I’m not a writer by any means so it’s nice to hear some feed back.

  2. spencertucci says:

    Psh I know EXACTLY where to find Yoda! In the Dagobah system clearly. However… finding a mentor on Earth is definitely more difficult like you mentioned.

  3. Greg Zander, the Cultural Architect says:

    I read through your blog post this morning and appreciate your thoughts. Mentoring is one of three strategic relationships that will accelerate your success. You just gave me more the shot of energy I needed to get my book finished on the ABCs of mentoring, masterminding, and coaching. Thanks for sharing.

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