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PT and Mentorship: Do’s, Don’ts and Key Questions

Wilfred Peterson once said, “Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it.”

So, you want a mentor?

Before you begin your “search”, think about these three key questions:

  • Who are the dreamers, believers, planners, and doers that you strive to emulate?
  • What characteristics and values do they uphold?
  • What exactly are you doing to advance the trajectory of your personal and professional pursuits?

The key is developing relationships with people whose spirit ignites a fire within you.  Mentors can serve this exact purpose; someone who recognizes your limitless potential, challenges growth in your weaknesses, harnesses your strengths for further advancement, and sets a fire within you to become the best you can be.

Related Post: Looking for other ways to boost your industry knowledge? Don’t miss our five favorite TED Talks for physical therapists.

So what actions should you take to find a mentor?

  • First, identify your core values and goals.
  • Determine the characteristics you are looking for in a mentor.
  • Create visibility for yourself in your workplace, the community, the profession, and social media.
  • Make sure to open yourself up to new opportunities. This is the time to seek out new people and experiences. This demonstrates initiative and showcases your drive, abilities, and skills.

Mentors & Me

Mentors have played a pivotal role in my professional and personal life, and many of these relationships developed organically as I navigated through my career as a student and now as an early career professional.  I have had the pleasure of serving the Academy of Neurologic PT (ANPT) since my 2nd year in PT school, and as I created a role for myself managing the social media within the ANPT Membership and Public Relations Committee, I naturally fostered relationships with other committee members and inadvertently secured a team of mentors.  They knew exactly how to utilize my energy to pursue my personal and professional goals. To this day, I still call upon them asking for advice on work-life balance, clinically complex patients, and career goal attainment. Their guidance continues to play a pivotal role in my growth.

The truth is mentorship is bidirectional.  We all have gifts and varying life experiences that allow us to learn and grow from each other. You must be genuine, vulnerable, and curious. Remember, there is no exact formula for mentorship; however, to get the most out of it, the relationship that develops should be one of purposeful reciprocity. Good luck!

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