“I would have contacted you, but I didn’t have any concrete action steps or questions, so I didn’t want to waste your time,” She replied to me reaching out to see if she wanted a mentor meeting.
I asked if she was stuck. She said, “Yes, I don’t know my next step.” We met and it turned out to be one of our most productive mentoring sessions.
I learned a lot through this interaction. Part of being on a journey toward your ideal career is that you frequently don’t know what’s next. And that is when you need high quality people who are on the same journey around you. That means that some are ahead of you, some are behind you, and some are right with you on the path.
That group, along with your guide, can see things that you can’t. I used to think that answering questions was one of the most important parts of mentoring. Actually it's not. It is being there and being understanding when the person is stuck,...
“Fix the hip extension,” he said nonchalantly. The ease of his answer frustrated me. I had struggled to improve a patient’s dorsiflexion for two weeks and his answer was too quick. I was convinced he hadn’t listened to me and pressed further.
“I don’t think you understand. I can get the ankle better and restore the range of motion with manual treatment, but it doesn’t stick,” I repeated.
“Yes, so fix the hip extension and the dorsiflexion will stay without needing to mobilize it every session,” he stated confidently.
I knew the SFMA and I understood the concept of regional interdependence, but there were many other things I would try and improve on this patient before I’d think about fixing hip extension. But, he wasn’t changing his answer. So I left to improve hip extension, prove that wasn’t the problem and then come back to get a different...
My career right now is pretty great. I like what I do, I work with amazing people, and the flexibility allows me to be involved with my four boys on a daily basis. But, the journey to get here was not a straight line nor a direct route. No, it was more of a wandering path. You could say that I took the scenic route, only the scenery really wasn’t that great at times. There was a lot of indecision, frustration and really a lack of guidance. So, do PTs need a professional mentor? No, you don’t need one. But, you don’t need a map or a GPS in a new location either, although it helps a ton. I didn’t have a designated professional mentor through much of my career. However, I believe I would have been able to get where I wanted in my career much faster (and with less disappointment/frustration) if I had a professional mentor.
Here’s how it usually goes… You graduate from PT school and start a new job. On your list of must-haves...
Almost everyone is seeking a great mentoring relationship. Whether you are a mentor or want to be mentored, it can be challenging to foster a high quality mentoring experience. A great mentoring relationship is such an elusive thing.
I have found 3 characteristics of high-quality mentoring relationships. Shared experience, mutual vulnerability, and showing up can result in the meaningful mentor/mentee relationship we all seek. This triple threat is not something we look for but rather can take steps to develop.
I think the most important quality of a great mentoring relationship is shared experience. I have always admired those who have served our country. I am amazed at military units who bring people together from all walks of life and geographic locations and yet become and remain best of friends. Certainly shared life-threatening experience causes a relational and emotional bond that can't be described. But I think it goes deeper than that. When you are...
- You may change your mind about scheduling your next meeting.
Phil finished telling the story by nonchalantly stating “It happens.” I was in disbelief to how matter-of-factly he said it.
“It DOESN’T happen,” I argued.
Earlier that morning I received a text from Phil stating, “Well, I had a Plan B in case it was noisy in my office for filming, but not a Plan C in case….” The text preview was cut off and my next patient had just arrived so I left the phone and planned to answer when I had a chance.
Phil was supposed to film that day so that I could then edit the footage for the course, Bulletproof Career Rebellion, that we are working on. From the sound of the preview, there was some sort of complication with filming. When lunch came, I opened up the text and immediately knew there was no Plan C for this:
While getting a standard oil change, his car was backed through the waiting room that he was sitting in.