Professionally, mentors are uniquely responsible for your overall trajectory, as they frequently come from the same or a similar field and give you access to wisdom only resulting from years of experience. However, finding the perfect mentor is as difficult as pinpoint exactly what your want from your professional life. In fact, deciding when to pursue a mentor is similarly challenging, because until you’re ready, it’s hard to see how they’ll push you to new professional and personal heights or understand who will act as effective leaders and coaches in your life.
Have 20/20 Foresight
Ideally, your mentor will be an expert or seasoned professional in your professional field. While every industry experiences significant changes, they typically occur over time and even seemingly shocking advancements might’ve been highly predictable for industry insiders. The younger decades of your career are the perfect time to make mistakes, because you’ll have plenty of time to recover for those largely expected errors. However, a mentor has the wisdom to steer you away from ineffective plans of action and towards the best solutions. Essentially, you can use your mentor’s 20/20 hindsight as your foresight.
Gain Access to a Positive, Knowledgeable and Supportive Individual
Positive support systems are integral to the success of any individual. By definition, mentors are positive people who genuinely believe in the abilities of their mentees. When you don’t know how to proceed or need help finding a professional solution, you know a knowledgeable individual who is prepared and happy to help you. Every professional will have moments of uncertainty or significant stress in his or her career, and in these situations, a mentor’s positivity can serve to improve morale and self-confidence.
Understand Your Needs and Commit
As an individual, what do you need to stay motivated? What will you need to successfully attain your personal and professional goals? Of the list you have just created, what can a mentor effectively provide? Once you’ve pinned that down, you will have a much clearer idea of the type of mentor you require, because you’re in tune with personal and professional needs. Next, you have to commit to the search for a quality mentor. You might find the perfect match in the first individual you contact, but don’t expect that to happen. Additionally, don’t be afraid to say no to a mentor if you think they are not the best fit.
When your mentor invests in you, he or she is also affected when you fail to meet a deadline or miss an important meeting. If you want this relationship to be a success, hold yourself accountable personally and to your mentor. Everyone has bad days, but remember your mentor is committed to your advancement, so you should attempt to match and exceed his or her dedication. Young professionals frequently benefit from the guidance of mentors, who equally invest in the success of their proteges. Like any relationship, finding the perfect match may take some diligent searching, but mentees stand to gain the powerful benefits of sound wisdom, expansive industry knowledge and positive support.