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    Mentor Toolkit: How to Find the Best Mentor for You

    A mentor is like a flashlight, illuminating your path when the dark of night arrives. Though many of your experiences as a physician will occur in the light, you will have moments of darkness where guidance and advice will prove invaluable.

    3 Benefits of Having a Mentor 

    • Guidance. Mentors can guide with advice, but the best mentors lead by example.
    • Inspiration. A good mentor sparks your enthusiasm and desire to do great things.
    • Support. A mentor can serve as a sounding board and an advocate.

    How Do I Find a Mentor? 

    Start looking! No, really. Think about what you want your career to look like. Then, keep your eyes open for someone who you admire and who you are excited to learn from.

    Though there is no single path to mentorship, you should start by identifying physicians who can help you achieve your goals. Once you have an idea of who might be a good mentor, start building a relationship. Ask questions, listen, and learn! Don’t be discouraged if someone you thought would be the perfect mentor doesn’t meet your needs. Eventually, you’ll find someone who does. 

    4 Essential Qualities Your Mentor Should Have

    To help you choose the right mentor, look for the following traits:

    • Accountability. You want a mentor who is going to be responsive and dedicated to the relationship.
    • Transparency. A mentor should encourage your honesty about everything. In doing so, they will help you figure out what you want from the relationship, where you hope to grow the most, and how you can be a better physician.
    • Trustworthiness. You must trust your mentor to follow through on your behalf.
    • Humility. You don’t want a mentor who is focused on themselves. Honesty about shortcomings promotes trust.

    Guidelines for Mentees

    1. Start early. Don’t wait for a decisive moment in your career to find a mentor, or you may not have the guidance you need at a critical time. Establish a relationship early, and it will be an asset later.
    2. Don’t stop at just one. No single mentor can fulfill all your mentorship needs. Identify your goals and invest in the people best situated to help you achieve them.
    3. Be clear about what you’re looking for. If you don’t accurately identify and communicate your objectives, you’ll be traveling without a roadmap!
    4. Sharpen your emotional IQ. “Emotional intelligence” is self-awareness and awareness of others. A high emotional IQ helps both mentors and mentees successfully navigate the relationship.

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    Pediatrics Internal Medicine

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