Thursday, October 6, 2016

the thing about mentors...

I don't have a mentor – which is something that I've been thinking about a lot lately as I try step back and take these "big picture" looks at my life, my career path, and my future. As someone who's desperately in need of being creative at all times, I've found myself a bit out to sea when it comes to figuring out what to do or where to go next. I've said this before to a couple of people, who all argue that I don't really "need" a mentor. But...I don't think I'm done learning yet (who is?). In fact, I've sort of found myself in this rut where I'm not learning as much anymore.

As I've been thinking about all of this, I started to wonder if I was alone in being mentor-less and wondering why (Am I too stubborn to take advice? Too arrogant to think I can get by without a mentor? Should I have worked harder to identify a mentor and keep in touch with people who could've served as mentors? The answer to that last question is most likely, yes.), I decided to take my inquiry to Facebook (like all good, serious inquiries, of course) and ask my friends about whether or not they have mentors – or if they're like me and searching for one.



The result? 100% of people said that yes, having a mentor is important. But when it comes to finding the right mentor...that's another story. About half of the people who answered my status are pretty much where I am: looking for the right mentor.

My friends who have mentors and who responded to my status brought up a few key traits that are necessary in a strong mentor: humility, the ability to make a time commitment, and a mutual effort between the mentor and mentee. (See the vlog for more on these answers!)

It's not that I haven't come across brilliant and wonderful people, and I've often asked for advice from people I respect and admire. But that's not exactly a mentor/mentee relationship, which is something that – as one of my friends pointed out on my status – requires a lot of TLC.

The other reason I've been thinking about mentorship lately is that I'm realizing more and more how important it is to have a mentor in order to become a mentor as well. I'm in this place right now where people come to me for advice and guidance, and have lately said they see me as a mentor. Of course I've worked hard to get to where I am, but I feel so strongly that I missed some things along the way. It might be too dramatic or candid to admit this, but having others seek mentorship from me makes me nervous because I don't know if I know how to be a mentor. It's something one of my friends commented on my status: that feeling of having "imposter syndrome."

I don't know if that makes sense, and it's a bit difficult to articulate (also, I'm waiting for the waves of judgement that may come my way from putting this out there), but it's just been on my mind. I wish I had some concrete answers here for all of you still trying to figure out where and how to find a mentor, but I guess we're going to have to keep trying and learning together.

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