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FINDING A MENTOR: HOW I DID IT

It's not as painful as you think. Promise!

Once in a while, you get lucky and meet the right person who makes a huge impact on your life. They’re a great leader, smart, respected, and most importantly, share one of your passions. Isn’t it fantastic to find that one person who you can look up to and hope to be like one day?

At the time I found my first mentor, I had no idea she was a mentor. She never presented herself as one and I certainly didn’t seek her out. She just happened to be my store manager when I was working in retail. She gave me the opportunity to be an assistant manager when I was only 18 with no experience. She coached me, and gave me ground rules and expectations of the retail management world. Was she easy-going and flexible? Heck no! She was tough as nails. She set the standard for everyone I encountered as an applicant for employment after that.

Before you look for a mentor, you need to know what you want a mentor to show you. Do you want to be a world famous coffee barista? Would you like to have those scribbled pages on your floor made into a book? Your latest investment just went belly up; now you need some financial guidance. Define your passion and end result. What do you want to achieve from doing what you love? Your mentor should be the person who is going to help you grow toward success.

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HERE’S YOUR MENTOR CHECKLIST:

  • Your mentor should be your friend. Your friend should not be your mentor. What this means is that she should be someone you want to be friends with. They possess the characteristics and attributes that you consider when you look for a friend. I’m not saying your BFF isn’t awesome in her own way, but maybe she isn’t the right person to be your mentor.
  • A mentor needs to be engaging. The whole point is having someone guide you. For example, you want someone who will give you the tools to learn how to achieve your goals. They should be able to provide you with resources so that you can take your next career steps on your own.
  • Trust is a big issue. Your mentor is going to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. You need to feel confident with your conversations. Knowing that a mentor is not going to steal or trash your idea will allow you to feel more confident in talking with her.

A mentor/mentee relationship is never one-sided—your mentor will be teaching you vital things that you will need to know to be a success in your passion. You need to be prepared and receptive to the information you are receiving from them. After all, they are where you want to be in the future.

Want to connect with other vinas looking for career advice? Start here!

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