Making the most of Mentorship
Have you talked to your mentor this year? If you’re anything like me, you started the year off strong—setting all of your goals, boundaries, and plans into motion. 60 days in, however, you may now find yourself stagnate, sluggish, or slipping back into your old ways. The energy of the new year brings about a fresh perspective, but the drudge of the winter months can take all of the “new year/new you” energy right out of you. This is why it is a perfect time to check in with your mentor.
The power of mentorship is real. They can remind you of your “why” and redirect you when you get off course. They note the progress you’ve made, show you where you keep getting stuck, and provide some fresh perspective. If you don’t have a mentor, now is the time to make the ask. Listen to the “Mentor Me” episode for the exact script you need to hear your dream mentor to say “Yes!” If you have a mentor and haven’t been in touch yet this year, make it a point to connect this month. Here are three questions you should consider asking in your upcoming mentor meeting.
What should I be saying ‘no’ to right now?
In 2016, Shonda Rhimes wrote Year of Yes and while I agree with the general tenets of pushing past fear to say ‘yes’ to new experiences, too often we’re adding more to our plates while taking nothing off. We can (and should) say ‘yes,’ just not to everything. A good mentor will help you strategically identify what you should be saying ‘yes’ to, and what opportunities you should be declining because they won’t serve you.
What gaps do you see in my work experience and what should I do to fill them?
We can’t always identify our own gaps and sometimes, we don’t know what we don’t know. Ask your mentor about the gaps they see in your work and what you should be doing to address them. They might suggest attending a conference to learn new skills, asking for a raise because you’re being underpaid, or challenging yourself to take on more advanced-level tasks. Get specific feedback from your mentor about where the holes are to ensure you’re not sinking.
Who in your network should I be connecting with right now?
Ask for a referral! Don’t let the relationship stop with your mentor. Ask them to introduce you to other folks in the field. Ask if you can be their “+1 guest” at the next networking event or ask if you can shadow them during an upcoming project, to connect with their larger team. Don’t use them just to get closer to someone else but if they have identified a gap, ask who in their network they recommend to help you fill it. *BOOM* connection made.