Should you have a mentor throughout your PT career?


We have advisors during PT school and some of us have mentors early on in the clinic. Should we continue with the mentorship process throughout our career?

Jenna:  So, Phil, why do you still have mentors, and how has that changed throughout your career? So I asked that not as like, "Why do you have mentors?" in an accusatory way. But again, so many people look to you as a mentor right now. You're very high up in the field. You do all these different things. You have a career you love. At this point, why do you have a mentor?

Phil:  Yeah, I think no matter how far along you are on the trail, there's someone who has gone farther than you.  To me, that's the big thing.  So I like to think of life as different seasons and things like that.  And certainly in your beginning years, where you don't even know where the trail is, it's essential to have a mentor for that. It's essential to have someone to kind of give you a little guidance of maybe what I like, what I don't like.  But with that said, as I'm in a season of life where I'm mentoring a lot of people, there's people ahead of me who have navigated the next ten years that I'm going to navigate. My kids are going off to college, I have all these opportunities. Life's looks a lot different than it did ten years ago for me and 20 years ago for me, and I don't know what's ahead. So that's probably the main reason that I still have those mentors. And also, mentoring looks a little bit different too. I think mentoring should always be collegial, but I always . . .

Jenna:  What do you mean by collegial?

Phil:  Meaning that we're on the same plane or it's not this hierarchy. Like, I'm this low mentee and I'm your mentor. And earlier in your career, that gap is just there. And you can't help but feel that as a mentee, meaning like, oh, man, this guy's so far ahead of me type of thing.  As you go farther in your career, that gap just naturally lessens. And if you've really found the right mentors, you really just truly become friends and colleagues. It takes on more of a friendship relationship than it does even pure mentoring. And I think about that like Gray Cook and I, I mean, he is without a doubt my mentor, the person I still look to for both life and clinical advice and career advice. But with that said, we're best of friends too, and that's the cool part of a great mentoring relationship.

Jenna:  Yeah, that's awesome.



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