If you don’t have a mentor or you’re not sure you’ve got the right mentor, read on . . . (and listen to the expanded podcast above).
The right mentor will help you manifest your goals in record time. The wrong mentor may undermine your best laid plans. An anti-mentor is a person you’d never want to become. Beware of anti-mentors and wrong mentors disguised as the right mentors.
The right mentor is a trusted adviser who has actually done what it is you want to do.
Example: 1) Want to make millions selling stuff on eBay? Find a mentor who already made millions on eBay (not the dude who wrote a blog on how to make millions on eBay who never made any money on eBay. 2) Want to be a happy doctor in an ideal clinic? Find a happy doctor in an ideal clinic (not some dude who fled assembly-line medicine with an ebook on how to be a happy doctor). 3) Want to homestead and grow all your food? Find a real homesteader (not the gal in the coffee shop who plans to live off the grid one day). These examples may seem simplistic and obvious, but people fall for antimentors and the wrong mentors all the time!
A mentorship is a two-way long-term relationship with someone you’d probably want to be friends with anyway. Look around (online and offline) for a person who has actually done what you aspire to do. A good mentorship is like a good marriage. Get to know your potential mentor first then share yourself, your vision, and your dreams. Solidify your relationship before popping the question.
1) When you’ve developed a relationship with your potential mentor ask, “will you mentor me?” (make it official)
2) Don’t just take from your mentor without giving your time, energy, even money in return. Nurture the relationship so it will grow.
3) Never plagiarize, copy, or steal from your mentor. Be original. You’re not trying to become your mentor. You are seeking a guide to help you become the best version of yourself.
4) Agree on a structure for your mentorship. Whether monthly lunch dates or weekly phone calls, connect at regular intervals.
5) Once you’ve developed a great relationship with your mentor, offer yourself as a mentor to others.
The classic mentor-mentee relationship is vertical. The (often older) mentor or advisor has significantly more skill and expertise than the (younger) mentee. Horizontal mentorships involve a relationship between two (or more) individuals with similar goals such as two premed study partners on the path to getting into med school. Most successful people in life don’t try to figure everything out on their own. They have vertical and horizontal mentorships.
So many people are mentorless. If that’s you then please reach out and meet new people. Find a mentor. While you’re searching for someone to mentor you, offer yourself as a mentor to someone else. In any given year, I’m actively mentoring more than 200 people (mostly premed/medical students and physicians). I guarantee you’ll have a blast. (FYI: the best mentors learn more than they teach).
Pamela Wible, M.D., is a family physician, mentor, and teacher who loves helping health professionals, medical students, and premedical students. Need advice? Contact Dr. Wible.