One of my mentors once told me that mentors are everywhere and that all I needed to do was to seek them out. At the time, I had been struggling with finding experienced practitioners who were as into learning / using technology within student affairs as I was. It took me a while to realize that what I had been looking for was the ultimate mentor. I was seeking someone who matched up with every nuance, every interest area, in effect, the “perfect” mentor.
When I woke up this morning, I had a realization. A thought that I had never really allowed to materialize. I currently have multiple individuals who I call “mentor.” No single person. Not a lone individual. I have multiple mentors. Some of my mentors provide professional advice. Some of my mentors assist me in the “apprenticeship of life.” This cadre of mentors provides me with an amazing breadth and depth of learning, experiences, and guidance. A community of mentors who I look to for strength, insight, humor, and caring.
My mentors come from all over the place. They have been instrumental in where I am and where I want to be. Here are a few ideas that I have been pondering about mentoring:
- Sometimes mentors bring mentorship into your life without it being strategic or intentional. It just happens.
- Age does not always equal wisdom. Be open to mentoring from anyone. Wisdom can surprise you.
- If your mentors are well-known, be prepared to spend less time with them. Learn as much as you can when you have access. Maximize your time with them.
- Social media spans the globe. Your access to mentors has just increased…be ready.
- Sometimes mentors and mentees switch roles depending on circumstances, timing, and need. It’s okay.
Photo credit: quacktaculous