Saturday, October 27, 2012

Where the Journey Begins

I am always on a journey. I wouldn't have it any other way. Life is too interesting to be held back by fear or indecision. As much as I have, and do, enjoy my destinations, I spend most of my time reveling in the trek. With as much roving as I've done through life, at times I need a little GPS help. I'm in need of some of that help right now. I'm having a hard time seeing the forest through my cubicle trees.

I have never been in a mentoring relationship before, so the first thing I need to figure out is what I'm really looking for in that relationship, and where I think it should lead my insurance career. I also need to decide who I think might be a good match for my career goals & personality. I hope my choice in mentor is open to helping me, and has the available time to dedicate to the task.

Hmm, what am I looking for?

I need a sounding board. Are my ideas any good? Am I on the right path?

I need an attitude check. Am I taking suggestions from my weekly department meetings too personally? Should I be looking towards the greater goals of my company?

I need constructive criticisms. Maybe I need to take a business writing course. Maybe I need to put more effort into dressing professionally. 

I need a little direction in taking advantage of industry trends. Which trends are flash in the pans? Which trends could help my insurance career? An experienced mentor could teach me how to identify and evaluate industry trends.

That sounds like a good start. Now, to find a mentor...

Who should be my mentor? Naturally, I'm thinking of someone I work closely with or someone from my association. But it occurs to me that my mentor could come from anywhere, like a neighbor, a relative or a previous co-worker; as long as I've already established a relationship. I'm considering someone who responds reasonably quickly to email & voicemail and appears to have time to spend with me. I also would like someone not known for gossip or speaking too freely where they shouldn't. Someone whose ideas and knowledge I respect. I need someone with a vision towards the future and a knowledge of industry trends. 

Most important to me would be their attitude. I need a mentor who not only laughs at my jokes (just kidding) but who will listen to my ideas and either help me build a bridge to my goals or help me understand why those goals may not be the direction for me.  Someone positive who doesn't immediately jump to the limited "that can't be done" mode of thinking or is stuck in the "box".

This all sounds like a tall, possibly unreasonable definition for an insurance career mentor, but I think I can find that person.

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