Blog Author: Jamie Rauscher, LVT
A mentor is “an experienced and trusted advisor to someone.” I believe that a true mentor is so much more than that. A mentor is not only an advisor but a friend as well. Twenty years ago, I met my mentor, who has since become one of the most influential people in my life. My practice owner started years ago as my boss…over the years, she has become one of my most trusted confidants and closest friends. We have formed a relationship that has allowed us to be open and honest. We can give each other feedback on our life situations, whether personal or professional and know that the feedback is impartial and sincere. As a teacher, she has always been willing to step back and let me learn, make mistakes, and grow from them. She truly enjoys her career, and being able to teach someone something new gives her joy. She is my biggest advocate and supporter in life, personally and professionally. Always willing to listen, she is a great resource for me to bounce things off of, and I know she will be truthful in her feedback. The special thing about our mentor/mentee relationship is that we have been growing it for two decades. We are always tweaking it and molding it to both of our needs. At this point in our lives, our relationship has grown so much that we are often on the same page about many things, from our day-to-day work interactions to our family lives. But, in the end, we still depend on each other to keep both of us on our toes and make sure we are doing beneficial things, always growing and never accepting the fact that we cannot learn and do more than we already do.
Is that the case with all mentor relationships? No. Many people have mentors who help guide them professionally, advising or training them in a certain area of expertise. A mentor helps to develop a partnership between someone with vast experience and someone who wants to learn. Why does this relationship just have to be professional? Why cannot it be personal as well? Does it become more of a personal relationship than a work one in the long run? We spend so much time each day with the people we work with, sometimes more than the time we spend with our family. The people we work with become a different type of family to us, allowing us to continue the relationships long past the end of the work day.
Everyone can be a mentor in their own way. I believe that a mentor should be someone who is honest, a good teacher, and patient. A mentor needs to be someone who is able to devote time to the person they are mentoring and allow them to be a part of their life in more than just a professional setting. Needing a mentor does not stop just because the work day ends. People seeking mentorship need it 24/7, 365 days a year. Being able to devote time to being a mentor is not something everyone can do all the time. Depending on our lives and schedules, being a mentor is something only a select set of people can accomplish. You need to be able to devote the time to the person as they need it, not as you deem fit. Everyone is different, and your mentee’s needs will vary depending on the situation.
Are you a good mentor? Sit back and evaluate yourself. Be honest. Are you the best person to teach the one you are mentoring? Can you do more? Could you do better? We all can. Let’s try for that in 2024. To be the best we can be so others can benefit from our teaching and grow themselves to be better people.