Starting out or starting again are both frightening and exhilarating life challenges. Maybe you have hit a quarter life crisis — you’ve just graduated from college and are ready to begin your career, or maybe you’re ready to forge a new path in a different field or with a different company. Perhaps you’ve started your own business. Maybe you have decided to start a family or go back to school. These moments of transition are life affirming, yet also quite scary.
Don’t fret — help is always nearby! One does not have to forgo these moments alone, a mentor is always out there, poised and ready to assist as you begin your new career or life journey.
Little known fact: the term mentor itself is derived from Homer’s classic, The Odyssey. When Odysseus left home to being his journey, he left a young son behind. That son was raised by a trusted friend and advisor named Mentor. The term remains and is now used to describe anyone who has a lasting and positive influence on another person’s life.
Mentors give their time and share their experiences and knowledge to ensure that newcomers are able to establish a firm foundation for success. A mentor is a guide, trusted advisor, teacher and coach all rolled into one. Mentors are attuned to the goals and needs of their mentees. Their goals are your goals, they seek to guide and support you. Mentors answer questions, offer skill development and networking opportunities, and they model positive behaviors for success.
Trust and dependability are a huge necessity for a strong mentor/mentee bond. Most mentors are trained volunteers who freely and happily give their time to invest in another’s future; a good mentor knows they must be steadfast, dependable, honest and authentic, passionate and caring. A good deal of time is spent building a strong mentor/mentee relationship. Trust must first be established before collaboration, problem-solving and open communication can begin.
For the mentee, it is important to remember that a mentor is there for you. They want to answer or help find answers to your questions, they want to coach you through your first networking experience, they want to assist you in finding the perfect interview suit, and stand by your side as you develop the skills you need to succeed. If you disagree with their point of view ask questions and respectfully challenge their thought, a mentor wants to understand your thoughts and ideas so they too can understand and grow. Ultimately a mentor wants nothing more than to see their mentee thrive and to have a positive experience while doing it! Make sure to show them your gratitude as you journey along together.
If you are between the ages of 18-35 and would like to have a positive mentor in your life, look no further than Frederick’s own Women to Women Mentoring (W2WM). W2WM offers mentoring programs for a broad spectrum of needs for women who find themselves in flux in their professional or personal lives. If you would like to enhance your life by becoming a mentor, check out the W2WM website for more information and an application. Whether your journey takes you on the path to becoming a mentor or mentee, the experience will be enriching and rewarding.