In Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, she talks about the importance of finding a mentor. Aaaand how awkward it can be when someone you don’t really know just point-blank asks you to be a mentor for them. I applaud those people for being confident enough to ask, but I’m with Sheryl on the fact that it can be a little uncomfortable!
I’m also with her on her point that a mentor relationship should be beneficial for both parties. I don’t think a mentor relationship should end up with only one person learning.
The fact that humans feel obligated to return favors has been documented in virtually all societies and underpins all kinds of social relationships. The mentor/mentee relationship is no exception. When done right, everybody flourishes.” -Sheryl Sandberg
I have learned so much from mentors throughout my life, but I have never actually had the relationship status conversation of labeling ourselves as a mentor/mentee. I don’t know if that disqualifies those people as mentors, but if it does, I don’t care. I have had bosses and friends who have been able to gut-check me when I need it, teach me to see things from other perspectives, and push me when I feel like I can’t do it. I have been able to bounce ideas off of them, and know that they are able to understand the craziness that is orientation.
I have had mentors in my career, and I’d say that my own mother has been a mentor throughout my life, but especially now that I am a mother as well. But as I continue to push myself to grow as a photographer (and now blogger), I have found myself longing for a mentor relationship in those areas as well. My other “mentorships” have happened very organically, so as I think about intentionally seeking out a mentor (or mentors), I am struggling with how to broach the subject without seeming like that lost little bird trying to find his mother.
So what tips do you have for seeking out mentors, broaching the “relationship status” conversation, and building that connection??