About a year ago I took on a new role in the Bristol Clear Team. The team has been built around Claire and Mike’s vision for a mentoring scheme for our research staff. This was part of my new role, to help build, manage and grow the scheme. Now, mentoring was a new concept to me and I’ve not had much to do with it before, but a year into my new role, here is what I’ve come to learn about mentoring and why it is so important.
You have the power
What I’ve come to realise is that no one can tell you what to do, what path to take in life, how to achieve a goal or fix a problem. (No matter how much you may want someone to tell you those things! – that would be so much easier, right?) But sadly no one can do that for you. Only you have the answers about what is right for you. However, once you grasp that concept, that can make you powerful. Just think of that… you have the power to do whatever you want and make your life however you want it to be…
Face the fear
But along with this powerful realisation, comes the fear. The realisation that where you are now and where you want to be is totally down to you – that can be a pretty scary thought.
But that is why mentoring can be so vital.
A mentor’s importance
A mentor is someone impartial, a non-judgmental person who you can bounce your ideas off. Ask a question that you may not dare to voice to your colleagues. Perhaps speak out loud your ambition of that dream job that feels totally out of reach at the moment or that crazy idea that you’ve kept to yourself because it’s just too ‘out there’.
A mentor is someone who can act as a sounding board for those ideas.
They can help you to work out the answer to that question.
They could help you think about the steps you need to take to get that dream job and work out goals you may need to put in place to make it achievable.
They can challenge you about how to make that ‘crazy idea’ a reality, which may perhaps lead to a lightbulb moment.
No one does it alone
Mentoring is about taking responsibility for your choices. Being bold enough to face your dreams, ambitions and fear. Working out what you want, what your options are and taking action to bring what you want to fruition. But, most importantly, knowing that you don’t have to do it alone.
So, what I’m saying is – we all need a little help sometimes, whether that be in the form a supporting guide, a push outside our comfort zone, or someone to set you a challenge. A mentor can be all these things and more.
Come to think of it…. I think I need to find myself a mentor!
Find out more about The Bristol Clear Mentoring Scheme.
If you are Research Staff, and in Science, Engineering, Arts or Social Sciences and Law (Life and Health… coming soon), you can sign up for the March-Sept mentoring cycle now.
Other mentoring events coming up:
Academic Journeys Event – Friday 22 February, 14:00 – 16:00