January is National Mentoring Month; time to celebrate the impact an experienced mentor can have on developing your personal and professional goals. A mentor is often someone with more life or work-based experience who can offer assistance, input and advice that will help shape your future success.
Some schools and workplaces have formal mentoring programs that connect you with a senior student or staff member who will give you guidance and support.
You may be able to gain some great insight and assistance from a mentor who can help with your short-term goals such as job leads or contacts. Or you may be able to talk with someone about their successes and how their career developed. Mentors can help answer such questions as “How did you get started in this work?” or “What education is required for this job?” Once you have developed a relationship, you may be able to go to your mentor about specific workplace situations or difficulties you are experiencing.
Remember this anonymous, but wise, quote, “In today’s complex and fast-moving world, what we need even more than foresight or hindsight is insight.”
It is refreshing to be able to learn from someone who can help you plan for the future while minimizing mistakes along the way.
Almost every successful professional remembers what it was like being a new graduate and starting out in the field.
Armen, a Seneca College student who is actively involved with the college’s Student Mentoring in Life and Education (SMILE) program, said he became a mentor in this program so he could give back to his fellow students as his mentor had done for him.
“My mentor made me a better person and helped me to change the way I was looking at people and situations. He pointed out the desired traits and qualities I needed to help me deal with people and showed me how to make it in the business world,” Armen said.
“My mentor ... was very influential in helping me achieve my personal and professional goals.”
A good mentor can provide more than just information — he or she can help you grow as a person and as a professional.
Find a mentor, get connected and appreciate the wise words and insight a mentor can offer.
Tracy Rogers is the Career Services Co-ordinator for Seneca College, Seneca @York Campus.