If you’re looking to start a career in the design world, one of the first steps that you should take is to find a mentor in this field. Sometimes this can be a challenging task, and since we are advocates of “mentorology” at the Over My Shoulder Foundation, we wanted to share some helpful tips for how to find a mentor:

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LinkedIn is a powerful resource for connecting with potential mentors. Source: pursuethepassion

  1. Consider what you hope to gain out of your mentoring relationship. While you may be well-educated, establishing a relationship with a mentor that is experienced in the design field can help you to gain new insight and wisdom that you might not have had otherwise.
  2. If you are already employed by a design firm, check with your HR department to find out if your company offers an internal mentoring program. Be sure to check out the Over My Shoulder Foundation blog to learn more about ways that a company mentoring program can be advantageous to you.
  3. Turn to organizations that you are involved with to find a mentor. You don’t always need your mentor to work within your organization.
  4. Use LinkedIn to perform an “Advanced People Search” to uncover prospective mentors in your industry. You may find someone that graduated from your alma mater or is involved in the same organizations that you are.
  5. Don’t rule out a mentor that may be younger than you. Just because the mentor is younger doesn’t mean that they have less experience than you.

If you’re in a successful mentoring relationship today, what other tips or best practices can you offer for how to find a mentor?

If you enjoy the content provided by Over My Shoulder Foundation, contact us! SHARE your mentoring stories, consider donating to our non-profit, and don’t forget to follow Over My Shoulder Foundation on Facebook, too!

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Take time to get to know your mentee.

At the Over My Shoulder Foundation, our mission is to raise the awareness of the positive impact that mentoring can have, both cross-generationally and cross-culturally. If you are interested in helping guide a younger person to success, we wanted to share some helpful tips for how to become a mentor courtesy of Management Mentors:

  • In order to build a strong relationship, you need to first take the time to get to know each other. While it’s important to share your wisdom, it’s even more important to listen to what your mentee has to say.
  • Discuss what each of you expects to gain out of this mentoring relationship and outline goals that you would like to achieve.
  • Be open about your ideas, thoughts, and feelings about the mentoring relationship and encourage your mentee to do the same.
  • Determine up front how often the two of you will meet and the preferred type of communication, whether it be in person or on the phone.
  • To be most efficient, come up with a rough plan of what you plan to talk about with your mentee prior to your meetings, and be ready to adjust your agenda as necessary.

It’s always important to keep in mind that it takes two people to build a strong mentoring relationship, and establishing expectations of each other up front can help the relationship to be mutually beneficial.

To learn more about how to become a mentor, please contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.

Image Source:  U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region

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Come hear their mentoring ideas at the conference!

 

 

The 2013 Design Bloggers Conference will take place March 3-5 at the Hilton Los Angeles in Universal City, California. This highly anticipated event is the premier new media conference for the interior design industry and will focus on the numerous benefits and opportunities that interior designers can gain from blogging, social media, and more.

The Over My Shoulder Foundation‘s own Patti Austin and Dawn Carroll will be featured as guest speakers at this conference, sharing their mission of Designing the Next Generation through the power of mentorship. Just like a designer sees the possibilities of an empty room, a mentor can help bring out a mentee’s full potential. Designing a space that mirrors yourself can help you to grow into the person that you want to become.

In this way, interior design can function as a mentor of its own. The two women will share their own personal mentoring success story as Patti enlisted the help of Dawn to help guide her in achieving her dream of becoming an interior designer. To learn more about the Over My Shoulder Foundation and the concept of Mentorology, please visit our website or browse through our blog.

In addition to the all-star lineup of guest speakers, conference attendees will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of related topics to assist with their content marketing strategies, from using Houzz and Instagram to promote your brand to creating inspirational content.

Are you planning on attending the Design Bloggers Conference? If so, which topics are you most excited to learn about?

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Dear Readers,

This topic is so close to heart because finding a mentor is important to everyone. Finding a mentor is SO IMPORTANT that I have dedicated a large part of my life to starting Over My Shoulder Foundation and promoting the idea of Mentorology – the art and science of mentoring. Justin Locke, a previous member of the Boston Pops Orchestra, appeals to teenagers as he writes this Beginners Guide to Being a Successful Mentee. Yet, most of as really ARE all still just kids at heart wondering what we’re going to DO when we grow up. Mentoring IS often understood as an older person teaching someone younger how to do a specific thing, or teach that youngster some lessons about life. Yet in Mentorology there is an even exchange. Mentor and mentee share valuable insights with each other and grow because of it.

Even Warren Buffet’s career advice is to “do what you’d do if you were independently wealthy.” Why not start now by finding a mentor? It’s so easy with Justin Locke’s step-by-step mentoring advice below.

-Dawn Carroll, Over My Shoulder Foundation Co-Founder and Executive Director

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Okay, so you’re a high school kid who has been reading this Over My Shoulder blog, and now you’re saying to yourself, “wow, how do I get in on some of this fabulous mentoring action?” Well, read on, we will explain the basics
of how to do it, or at least one approach.

Finding a mentor is actually pretty easy to do. Even if you’ve never encountered someone who took any interest in you up until now, if you follow the rules and procedures, you too can have a fabulous mentoring experience.

 

STEP ONE:

Step one: It all starts with desire. Here is a trite question, but it’s also one of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself: what do you want to be when you grow up? It’s kind of important to not take this lightly. Also, you are probably surrounded by people who are trying to influence your decision and tell you what they think you should want. So sit down in a nice quiet room someplace all by yourself and imagine that everyone around you is happy and content and willing to accept whatever career decision you make on your own. And then, ask yourself that question: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Bear in mind, this can be difficult, and you may not get it right the first time. This is a process of discovery. But before you can present yourself as a candidate for mentoring, you need to at least say, “I am seriously considering doing [x] as a career, and I was hoping you could give me some advice in the matter.”

STEP TWO:

The next step is finding potential mentors and hooking up with them. This is a whole lot easier than you might think. Start close to home, in your current “network.” Ask your parents if they know someone. Ask your friends and their parents if they know someone. If that doesn’t work out, start expanding your network. For example, there are wonderful things in every town in America called “Rotary Clubs.” They sponsor all sorts of programs for high school kids, including scholarships and leadership training. Not only that, but practically every Rotary club has at least one lawyer, one doctor, one banking professional, one real estate agent, and one everything else. They know everybody. They are a magnificent resource of connection, they would be happy to give you some advice, and all you have to do to start is send an email to the president of the club.

STEP THREE:

The next step is, again, based on the answer to the question in step one. You want to say to these people, “I’m seriously considering doing [x] as a career, and I’m looking for an adult who can give me some advice.” It is important that you be serious about your desire, because they will notice right away if you aren’t. Also they will notice right away if you are, and that will command respect.

Now at this point you may be asking, “why would any of these busy people want to take time out of their day to spend time talking to me?” The answer is, for all sorts of reasons. Every single one of these people was, one
time or another, a teenage kid just like you, so they can empathize with your current situation more than you might think. Many of them will have memories of being a somewhat lost and confused teenager, wishing that
someone had helped them out and given them guidance. Helping you is a way to heal their own past. Or perhaps someone helped them out way back when, and now they are eager to “pay it forward.”

There’s also just plain old ego. Many people are eager to share their philosophy, or just show off their knowledge. And no matter who you are, it feels good to help other people. And don’t forget, there is tremendous
“equity” in youth. Older people like to be around younger people. You’re so full of life.

Getting Into Your Mentoring Relationship

There are all sorts of ways to get into a mentoring relationship. You can take someone to lunch. Or, you might volunteer or sign-up for an internship. The best mentoring opportunities are totally unique and don’t
fall into any pre-existing forms. To make it happen, just hang around, or maybe offer to make yourself useful. Ask people the magic question: “How can I help you?” Offer to help out with menial tasks or just
sweeping up the place. If you want to be a lawyer, filing the papers or washing the windows in a real law office for a couple of weeks will tell you more about the actual business than any book on constitutional law.

Once you hook up with a mentor, bear in mind, being a good mentee is not the same as being a good student. This is not a relationship where you should be eager to demonstrate that you “know the answer.”
The real world is not school. When in doubt, keep your mouth shut. Be humble. And remember this principle of applied stupidity: “The dumber you look, the more stuff people will tell you.”

There are more mentoring opportunities out there than you can count. And remember, it’s important to go to school and get good grades, but networking and making connections is just as important to your success in
life, if not more so. There are lots of people out there who are genuinely eager to help you. It all starts with articulating desire.

So, what you want to be when you grow up?

© Justin Locke

 

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Justin Locke spent 18 years playing bass with the Boston Pops before becoming an author and speaker. In his books and presentations he talks about the confluence of education, history, and the performing arts, and how this affects current issues of organizational dynamics and management.

His books include “Real Men Don’t Rehearse” (his humorous Pops memoir) and ”Principles of Applied Stupidity” (or, the benefits of going against conventional wisdom). His upcoming book is titled “The Emotions of Money: Undoing the Effects of Poverty Thinking.”  J

Justin has been featured on Chronicle HD, CBS Radio, WGBH’s Greater Boston, and in the Boston Globe, and he recently appeared as an “author@google.” Justin’s plays for family orchestra concerts are performed all over the world, and he writes a monthly article of managerial “people skills” for the American Institute of CPAs. Justin appears regularly as an entertaining and inspirational speaker for more information please visit his website www.justinlocke.com. [/box]

 

[box] Have you successfully found your mentor? Please write to us and share your mentoring stories with Over My Shoulder Foundation so we can keep inspiring others to do the same! [/box]