In the 1989 film Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams played an English teacher, John Keating. To his students, he was a mentor, guide and most of all, an inspiration.
He said, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” His words impacted his students’ lives from day one. Carpe Diem or ‘seize the day’ became their motto to go after what they wanted today, not tomorrow—not someday.
Imagine finding someone like John Keating to inspire, motivate and encourage you to go after your dreams—your goals. This will be especially helpful in high-pressure environments—where you’re trying to be your best self every day.
Let’s explore the idea of mentorship at work and how to find a mentor who not only has your best interests at heart but also goes out of their way to positively motivate you.
Who Is A Mentor?
If you’re asked, “what is a mentor?”, you’ll probably say it’s someone like a high school teacher or a college professor. Someone who has the knowledge and expertise to teach you about success—and life in general. But a mentor is much more than that.
They’re your friend, advisor, supervisor, teacher, support system and role model.
Here are some common characteristics of a mentor—especially in a professional setting:
Not only can a mentor help you learn about a specific area of field but also support you in your career or professional goals.
They have a strong professional network they can introduce you to for better opportunities.
They can help you with things like where to apply for a job, how to make your resume and how to prepare for an interview.
They can help you through a rough time by offering emotional support.
They’re your personal cheerleader, encouraging you to constantly push yourself and never give up.
Mentorship at work can be really rewarding as it can positively impact your work life. You’ll find that it’s easier to tackle setbacks when someone’s looking out for you. Let’s discuss how to find a work mentor so you can make the most of your professional experience.
How To Find A Mentor At Work
Before you start looking for a mentor at work, it’s important to acknowledge that they’ll be investing their time to guide you. Making sure you know your destination—your goals—will help you get a head start.
Here’s how to find a mentor who can help you in your career journey:
Define Your Career Goals
Defining your career goals will help you establish where you’re headed—professionally. You can decide which industry you want to work in or whom you want to work with. Say you want to work in the music industry—maybe write for Rolling Stones magazine. You have your career goals down pat, and you can proceed to the next step.
Find Someone Who’s An Expert In Their Field
In the same example, an expert could be a current columnist, editor or the editor-in-chief of Rolling Stones. Alternatively, you can explore social media and find someone whose profile you can identify with or you find impressive. If you can learn from them, and if they can teach you how to chart your own path to success, you’re ready to move up the ladder.
Reach Out To Them
Now, it’s time for you to reach out to the people you believe can be your mentors. It may be just one person or more than one. Regardless, being mindful of their time, you should reach out to them with a pleasant email or message. Request them whether they can mentor or guide you in a professional capacity. You can even set up an informal meeting if they respond. Of course, it may not happen right away, but you should keep trying!
Build A Professional Relationship
Even after you fix a meeting and maybe meet them a few times, you have to make an effort and build a professional relationship. This means that you have to schedule meetings, keep them updated about your goals—and what you’re doing to achieve them. Ask them for feedback, but also keep in mind that they won’t always be available. It’s not about relying on them for everything, rather turning to them when you’re feeling lost and confused.
Stay On Top Of Things
Maintaining a relationship takes work, even more so in a professional context. You’ll have to stay on top of things to make sure you’re not wasting their time. Act on the feedback you’ve received, ask relevant questions and come up with ideas that you can discuss with them. This way you’ll get the most out of your mentorship.
Mentorship In The Workplace
Your workplace is a maze that you have to navigate on a daily basis. From different power structures to workplace principles, you have to keep track of different aspects of your organizational culture. Harappa’s Navigating Workplaces course will teach you how to find a mentor by identifying the influences at work. You’ll learn how to optimize your work life to put your best foot forward—and reap the rewards!
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