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Relationships with Mentors

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Question: If you have a mentor, how did you find that person and build the relationship? What is the best advice your mentor has given you?  -- Amy Beth Miller, Editor, Personal Report for the Administrative Professional


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In my previous employment, my supervisor became my lifetime mentor. She was an extremely smart person but never acted that way. She was always well groomed and handled situations as an adult. I listened to everything she would say, take her suggestions very seriously and watched how she handled herself in various good and bad situations. After several years, I hope that I currently do her justice. The greatest thing she said to me that I never forgot was "never sell yourself short and do the best you can, no matter what. Remember, you control you." These words are always with me. She is now retired but I still keep in touch with her. She made me pursue my career. Thanks Betty.

My previous boss is my mentor. I work for him for almost 10 years and he has the gift of mentoring. He really found me more than I found him. He still mentors me to this day. I believe it takes a special relationship to have a positive mentoring experince. You must be able to trust this person with huge part of your life and never take thing personal. It is important to never put your mentor on a pedestal because they will fall and this could damage your relationship. Open and honest communication is the life blood of your relationship.

The best advice he gave me was to be true to myself and to take advice from others but to always test the information within myself.

My mentor found me! A mentor is someone who enjoys teaching and reaching out to people who need help or guidance. Some people just naturally do this. They remember how they got started and they don't want someone else to flounder as they did.
But if this doesn't happen, then seek out the person closest to your job title, that has been with the company for a year or longer - this person will have the knowlege to help you.
I think a lot of companies have an official mentoring program, but if they don't there is nothing wrong with seeking someone out yourself. However, just because you choose someone, doesn't mean they are capable or willing to oblige. Talk to this person and explain what your needs are - more than likely, they will offer their expertise and assistance.

My mentor happened to be a co-worker. She has turned out to be the smartest lady I have ever met. She is younger than I which was difficult at first but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to my career as an assistant. The one important thing about learning from a mentor is to ask questions and then be sure to put their advice to work. Do the work yourself so that you will learn from experience. The best advice my mentor gave me is to have confidence in myself. Jump in with both feet and before you know it, you will be blessed with the confidence of others. Thanks for everything Erin...... Now I have become one of those people within my organization that has other assistants calling for advice. I am carrying on the important task of helping others as Erin has and does help me.

I worked with a good friend of mine which happened to be the owner. She is extremely intelligent and had her own business in the travel industry for 11 years. I listened her and how she spoke with her clients and was able to handle situation that arose with regards to the event planning she and I were handling together. She taught me how to use the Franklin Covey planner, which I still use to this day and that includes the goals for my life. I am so grateful for the years I worked with her and what she has taught me. She has since sold her business and moved to NY and I have since moved on and I have exercised all the skills and knowledge she has taught me. My kids tell me I am too organized. I have a planner that I follow for every day and calendars at home with appts on etc. She was a great mentor and even if we were not friends first I would have made her my mentor

Would it be presumptuous to say I have BEEN a mentor to a good many young admins? As an "Administrative Professional", I have made it my goal to instill a sense of pride about the work we do and to encourage admins to constantly look for ways to be better at what we do. The phrase "just an admin" or "just a secretary" is so degrading to an honorable, important profession but I hear it too often from others in the field.

For me personally, I had a teacher in high school who taught a two-hour business class for seniors. She is the one who made me decide this is what I wanted to do. It was from her that I learned the basis for the skills I have and more than that, I learned to be proud of the job I do and to never allow myself to accept less than my best in everything I do. To this day, when I am tempted to submit work that "will do" but isn't my best, I cannot do it. I hear her in my head saying something like "You know you can do better than that." My only regret is that I never got to tell her what an impact she made on me.

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