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Strong Mentorships

If you were to ask yourself who were your best mentors in your life, I’m sure several people would come to mind from your childhood to even a person you currently see on a daily basis. Perhaps they were a great school teacher, a coach, an academic program advisor, or a supervisor from your first summer job. When you think about those mentors, can you truly remember what exactly they said to you that made you feel ...Supported? Inspired? Captivated? Chances are you don’t remember what they said, or what their hairstyle was, what they were wearing or their overall mannerisms. Often what shines though and has us thinking and reflecting about our time with them is how they made us FEEL. They encouraged, inspired, motivated, and enabled us to see a part of the world that we had not yet been exposed.


Now I’m going to ask you to reflect on another mentoring note – who were your WORST mentors in your life? Who were the tedious teachers, the exhausting coaches, the leaders with lack of patience or who showed favoritism to team members and did not foster teamwork? Those are unfortunately the people who had a large effect on your life in terms of your goals and your career choices. They may be a current co-worker or employer who doesn’t like to your ideas, micro manages you, and frustrates you to the point that you can’t focus on your actual work tasks. Fortunately, there is a silver lining to these negative individuals whom you have crossed paths in your life. It is the negative influence leaders who you should remember, and strongly take note of the choices they make since their role in your life demonstrates an exact OPPOSITE model of who you want to be when you are a leader, a mentor and a role model. Harness the energy, emotions and time you have had for these individuals and in turn, know that you will make choices as a leader to promote the passion of life-long learning, engage in new ideas and be patient as everyone cultivates into professionals and agents of change at a different rate.


I share these thoughts on positive and negative influence leaders in our lives because it is a great responsibility to be a mentor to others. It’s also a privilege. I have had the opportunity to not only mentor fellow colleagues but also be linked with a post-graduate school to be a preceptor to a specific student for 4, 6, and 8 week placements at a time. These weeks can feel more exhausting than a normal work week because all of your moves are being watched by a young professional starving to grow and make a contribution to the real world. Being a professional leader is often focused on the student in training yet what happens in a positive mentor/protégé relationship is that the mentor is the one who learns just as much as the student. I love when students/young colleagues ask me questions such as “Can you tell me why you decided to complete that task first?” or “How did you come to make that decision?” because these are the questions that we often forget to ask ourselves on a daily basis in the midst of our busy lifestyles and careers.


So the next time you are asked to take on a student or a new colleague in training, please don’t hesitate to help as you will benefit in your career as well. Mentorship is a beautiful experience full of reflection and engagement of both parties, bringing everyone to a level of asking more questions and deeper understanding of their careers – and quite possible themselves.  Remember, you could be that positive, influential role model that this young professional needs.
 

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What is a young professional? Why should we network?

What is a young professional?

What is a young professional is a term that can be answered in many ways but typically they are someone who is between the ages of 20-40 years old. Age is not so much a factor in my mind to be a young professional as there are some people who enter the professional world at 20 years old and there are others who enter at 30-35 years old. A young professional is someone who is in the learning and development stages of their careers. These people are motivated to meet others, are innovative, want to be a part of the community, and are humble in knowing that there are others who can provide mentorship and leadership to help develop their own skills. They are hungry for knowledge and the opportunity to meet other business professionals to develop their clientele and social network. Young professionals are the people working early in the morning and late at night to make a name for themselves in the community and in their business life. Through proper networking, education, mentorship, and community involvement, young professionals will be the future business decision makers.
 

Why Should we Network?

Networking can be one of the most powerful ways to spend one’s time to help grow as a person both in their personal lives and their business lives. For me, networking helps in the following ways:

  1. Building a social network- as a young professional especially, you are at the early stages of your career and are finding ways to make yourself of value to the business you work for. Networking is the answer. You need to build a social network of people that are like-minded, have similar goals, and can possible provide you leads and business in the future. It is important to know a variety of people in a variety of different fields as everyone has something to offer.
  2. Lead Generation- Networking is a fantastic way to build your business and your personal profile. Whether you are a brick layer, a fashion designer, or a sales rep, you need to let people know what you do in order to have them think of you when opportunities arise in their day-to-day activities. The more people you touch on a regular basis to remind them of the services you provide, the more opportunities will come your way.  Through networking, you will build relationships with others, have opportunities to talk to people you may have been trying to get a hold of, or just learn about what is going on in your community that will spark up opportunities for you to provide a service.
  3. Personal growth- As a young professional, we still have a lot to learn and are dealing with obstacles that many go through everyday. We are very confident people but also understand that there are people who have been doing this a lot longer then we have. Networking allows you the opportunity to meet people who have seen and done things you may not have. You can talk to them about their experiences, their mistakes, and how you can apply that to your life and business. You can meet people who are where you want to be in twenty years and they can provide you with advice on how to get there. Sometimes it is just nice to talk to someone who is in the exact same position as you; young, working long hours, trying to make a name for yourself. Let it out, work through problems together, LEARN.

 

This world is full of interesting people that can make a huge difference in your life and the only way to meet them is to put yourself out there and network. Your future best friend, boss, wife, mentor, sale could be right next door.

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Brian Rodnick
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May 1, 2019
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