Discovering Your Sensei


May it be the fond exchange of words between Batman and Alfred, or the more intense physical training battles between Master Shifu and Po, mentors have been an integral part of a lot of relationships that we have witnessed, either in our favourite childhood shows and movies, or perhaps in our lives as well. Nancy Varghese takes a look at the mentor-mentee equation in contemporary times


A mentor could be someone in the same academic or professional field that you have chosen and may have achieved laurels or credibility for the kind of work they have done in the same. In this case, the communication barrier is solved and you can interact with your mentor on the same level that you wish to, not needing the effort to explain your problems with them. Taking a look at the kind of work they have done, deriving insights from their method of working etc, will enable you to carve your career based on similar principles.


Not every mentor that you pick will happen to work/study in the same academic or professional background as you. But their work ethics, qualities that make them a leader, fantastic people skills or even the amount of honesty and transparency that they carry themselves with, may be characteristics that attract them as an ideal mentor to you. So, you may not engage in regular conversation with the person or always exist on the same plane with them, but their core values make them someone you would want to model yourself after.


Pertaining to the tech-savvy world that we live in today, it is not uncommon to have a mentor who has excellent social media skills that is worth aping. These individuals ensure that they stand up for everything that they believe in, may it be a strong voice opposing the various bans in the country or an opinion on the judicial system. You can choose to follow them on sites like Linked In and Facebook, among others, and while striking a conversation with them, assessing the kind of image they hold with the public ad get a general view of what people think of them.


Before you go ahead with picking a mentor, make sure you are clear on the kind of goals that you have in mind and on what you need guidance with. It will not be wise to pick one mentor for both your personal and professional goals because while one person may be the absolute star of his professional field, his personal qualities may not be the ones you are searching for to imbibe in yourself. Same goes for your personal goals as well.


Since time immemorial, teachers have been considered as the perfect mentors, primarily because of the relationship they share with their students, one that is free of bias of any kind. These days, however, a relationship with your mentor has ventured beyond that of a classroom. One must take a call on the kind of person you wish to take guidance from. It could be a family member or a friend that has played a significant part in your upbringing and nurtured the growing years of your life. That way, you are sure of the decisions they encourage you to take, as they’ve been around you long enough to know what’s good for you and what isn’t. At the same time, it can also be beneficial for you to have the perspective of someone not belonging to your circle, as this will bring in fresh viewpoint when it comes to solving your problems and honing your skills.


With new-age career prospects blooming in all corners of the world, you can also opt for career/guidance counselors who will ensure you stick to your goals and achieve them with optimum time and resources. If you don’t mind spending money on the highest level of professional guidance and counseling in the field, there exist a horde of specialists who will start from making short-term and long-term goal assessment methods, to perhaps a day-to-day evaluation of determining the amount of time you will require to achieve all of the things you aim to, by a particular period of time.


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