Get your red ready, it’s time for Valentine’s Day (& Galentine’s Day)! It seems like everywhere you look is messages of love, commitment, pink and glittery arrows. This week, we’ll be discussing how to have a committed relationship... with your mentor! Here are some tips and tricks on how to keep some of your most important business and career relationships intact, even if there are obstacles like time, distance, and career changes.
Change is okay. You can’t stay in one place forever. Eventually you will progress in your career, move cities, or take time off and it may mean that it is harder to connect with your mentor. Whether it is because you are physically farther away, on a slightly different path, or advancing beyond a mentor, these changes can create potential strains on a mentor relationship. Know that it is okay for you to make these changes and although your relationship with your mentor may change, it can still stay solid.
Keep in contact. Even if you have moved far away or changed paths, stay in touch with your mentor. It doesn’t have to be a daily phone call, and it probably shouldn’t be, but schedule a time every few weeks or months where you can chat and catch up. Even sending update emails can be beneficial to keeping each other knowledgeable about what is going on in your life.
Don’t be scared to give back. When you started out you may have been asking your mentor all the questions, looking for them for inspiration and opportunities, and relying on them to be the more worldly, knowledgeable one in the relationship. However, you may find yourself in a position where you can help your mentor. Don’t be scared that it will offend them if there are genuine ways you can help their career.
No pressure for monogamy. There is no reason to feel like you should only have one mentor. All of us have different goals and wide ranging career aspirations. Don’t feel guilty for having more than one mentor, or for being closer to some than others.
Just because your path changes doesn’t mean they can’t still be part of your journey. If you decide one day that you are going to drop everything and do your own thing, go for it! But that doesn’t mean that you need to drop everyone. Keep those contacts even if you are radically changing your career because you never know what could be helpful in the future.
It’s okay to let go. It’s all too common that someone is scared to leave a toxic relationship. It doesn’t normally apply to mentors, but it can! If there is someone who is no longer being a positive influence in your life, don’t stress too much. It’s okay to let go. Handle the situation with grace and maturity by explaining why you no longer would like to keep in touch with your one time mentor.
Valentine’s Day is fast ahead and focus on more than just your love life and friends, extend the holiday of love to your work life and those positive, beneficial relationships you have with your mentors. Reach out this February and say thank you to those who have helped you to get where you. Is there someone you’ve been thinking “wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since we’ve caught up?”. Reach out! Commit to your mentors and mentees this week!