Monday, November 23, 2009

Monthly Mentoring Discussion Topic: Transitional Review by Amy Lam

Unlike a student's life in school, where definitive stages are marked by the end of a grade or a semester, I became accustomed to a continuous flow of daily routines and lifetime objectives. I couldn't pinpoint the reason for my feelings of restlessness, but I realized I needed a way to better gauge my life. I decided a few years ago to use the end of the year as my own reminder to consciously take time in private and reflect on the past months. I would count the number of office projects I've completed, new people I've met, new programs I've learned, trips abroad I've taken, and personal dollars I've saved to ultimately answer the questions: Did I have a good year? Am I happy with how this year turned out?

This year I found myself frustrated by the pace of my professional growth so I took on my annual survey as a more frequent habit. My monthly meetings with my AWNY mentor reinforced the exercise and helped me see the flaw in my review: my measurements did not provide the true gauge that I wanted. My mentor encouraged me to redefine myself, own my abilities and explore different opportunities. As a result, I have refined my own personal review process that better serves my growth and my life as a whole.

For the month of December, I encourage you to work with your mentoring pair in reviewing this year together. Think about the following questions: How have you grown from the day you wrote your mentoring application last year to now? How has the mentoring relationship changed you? Here are my tips for starting the conversation and developing your own review process:
  1. Reflect on the past. Find your old mentor application(s) and reread what you wrote. How have you and your mentoring partner worked towards addressing your concerns? What did you like/dislike throughout your mentoring journey and why? What have you learned and how are you applying this knowledge? What are you most/least proud of and why? Talking with your partner or just talking aloud can clarify your thoughts and stimulate more ideas. Know you will not do all your reflecting in one sitting so spend time your own before and after discussing with your partner. Take notes--it may come in handy when you define your future goals.
  2. Acknowledge your present. Know where you are now in order to get to the next point. How do you feel about your current situation? What do you want and why? What is and isn't working for you? Use the AWNY mentoring application as a tool and start a list of your current personal/professional desires. Understand it can take time to reach your next point so in the meanwhile, celebrate how far you have come with your partner!
  3. Set your future. Visualize yourself and your life. How do you see yourself 3 years from now? How do you see yourself 10 years from now? How does your present align with your future? What do you find is holding you back? Define your goals and set your priorities. Breakdown the most important goals into baby steps to formulate a plan. Set a timeline for each step and determine your measurement of success. Work with a partner and commit to checking-in with each other often. Ask your partner for feedback. Know your goals can change as you learn more throughout the process.

Amy Lam is an online marketing manager at Direct Brands, Inc., responsible for enhancing brand experiences and generating conversions through all Bookspan digital platforms.

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