There’s an ancient proverb that says, When embarking on a journey, never ask directions from someone who has never left home. Dr. Bessie and I know that when you look for a mentor you want someone who has been on the dissertation journey so they can help you by sharing their experiences. Same is true when becoming a mentor for someone else.
Mentoring is about paying it forward and sharing your skills, knowledge and expertise with others. I am forever grateful to Dr. Bessie and all of those who have been there for me on my Big D journey.
The times when things were good as well as the times when I have failed, my mentors have picked me up, encouraged me, and kept me moving forward one baby step at a time.
A good mentor will always listen to their mentees, offer advice, and encouragement, but not do all the talking. The long-term benefits of mentoring and paying it forward are well worth the effort.
These relationships can help both parties grow their network which can lead to more pay it forward opportunities.
Here are some tips to help you find a mentor:
- If you are just starting out on your dissertation, or want to sustain it, you are not alone. There are people around you who can help you in so many ways.
- Reach out to people you admire. Do not wait for a mentor to find you!
- Pick a good listener. The best mentors let you do the talking and help you draw your own conclusions.
- Set goals and identify what you hope to get out of your relationship with your mentor.
- Look for someone with a different perspective who will challenge you and also cheer you on when you need it.
- Good mentors are usually busy, but they will commit. I had mentors who met with me weekly, and others monthly. It is the quality not the quantity that counts.
- Work with your mentor to set up realistic times of communication and communication methods at the start of your relationship.
- Manage this relationship respectfully as everyone’s time is valuable.
- Be grateful to learn and express it.
- Always honor your mentors by paying it forward to others.
Dr. Bessie and I have made lifelong friends by mentoring others. Now, our mentees are also paying it forward to help others.
If you want to change the world, you have to give something back. ~~~ Dr. Patricia Mason ~~~