Mentorship in the real world: Value must go both ways

My mentors became my mentors because of a mutual, beneficial relationship.

During my first year of physical therapy school, I spoke with a faculty about a project using the Functional Movement Screen.  My excitement about this screening tool had to be irritating, but I can only guess that my enthusiasm was just enough to that the faculty gave me a chance.

With my limited experience, there was not really  much I brought to the table. It was not a chance for me to piggyback of their work.  It was a chance to show I could be valuable to the field of healthcare.

Initially, I did not understand that all I was getting was a chance to show value, persistence, and dedication. Seriously, my only value was how hard I could work because I was not efficient, my writing sucked, and I had no value in study design or stats. My first attempt at writing the background for the study was so terrible that it became the example of what not to do.  We had a talk afterwards and it was a wake up call. I rewrote the background, completed the methods, carried out a reliability study, and got it published.

It took about 30 revisions and two years.  I gave more effort than I ever thought possible.

BUT it kicked off one of my most valuable relationships because I realized that as a mentee, there is an equal responsibility of effort. It is not a one way contact where the mentee just takes and takes.

Now as I take the mentorship role, I find that many students and colleagues view the mentor as a the source and the relationship as one way. I look at my mentors now, I keep trying to think of how to keep giving them back more and more value because it comes back to me ten fold.

No one likes a leech.  Try not to be one.

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