During this month of new year´s everything you might consider finding a mentor. If you want to raise your profile at work, one of the best and most effective means for doing so is to find someone who can offer good counsel, be your advocate, and stick around for the long-haul. January is a good time to start, because, well, because it´s a great way to jumpstart your career. But don´t wait for someone to tap you on the shoulder and say, "Hey, I´d like to be your mentor." Be proactive. Check with your human resources department and find out if a formal program (that you might have missed somehow, maybe because you were so busy with end-of-the year tasks) exists and what you have to do to become involved.
In my third book, Wish It, Dream It, Do It: Turn the Life You´re Living into the Life You Want (Simon & Schuster), I recommend to readers-and now to you-that instead of finding one person to be your advocate you look for many. In other words, create a mentoring squad-a cadre of people who can support your career efforts. Consider this quote by George Eliot from Daniel Deronda published in 1874: Those who trust us, educate us. What does that have to do with finding a mentor you might ask. Well, trust is probably the single most important factor when it comes to creating and then nurturing a mentoring relationship. If your mentor can´t trust you, then he or she is unlikely to teach you anything worthwhile. So make sure you understand the ground rules with your mentor.
For example, if your mentor shares confidential information, then of course you must keep it that way. If you ever wonder if what your mentor is talking about is proprietary, then by all means ask. It´s always better to ask then find out later that you´ve shared information that was never to go any further than your eyes and ears. Here´s a list of questions to ask yourself as well as you consider the ways your might create your mentoring squad:
1. What could I learn from my peers?
2. In the ideal world, who would be my mentors?
3. Would I be more comfortable in a formal mentoring relationship or one that is more casual and not as structured (scheduled meeting, written expectations, etc.)?
4. Is it necessary for me to have a lot in common with my mentor/mentee?
5. Would I ever feel threatened by a mentor/mentee?
6. Would I be a good mentor?
7. What could I offer as a mentor?
Next time: More about finding a mentor in the new year