Podcast #5

Bee in a flower
Mentees need to work hard, need to put in the effort, and need to constantly be working to get the most they can out of their mentor relationship.
New graduates are told over and over how important it is to find good mentorship. How it will ‘make or break’ you in your first job to have a good mentor, and find a good clinic.

Although this is very important (see 4 Mentors Every Vet Needs for more information), it is MORE IMPORTANT for you to be an open, receptive and active Mentee!

This blog will discuss the ways that you, as the Mentee, can improve your Mentor Experience:
1. Set Personal Goals:
Target with dart in center
Having SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timed) goals are important for success.
No mentorship is successful unless there is an objective for the mentorship. Before you enter into a mentorship relationship determine for yourself what you hope to get out of the relationship, and what you hope to achieve for yourself.

It is important to have SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timed. For every aspect of your career, you should determine exactly what you want to achieve, how you will measure/determine success of that goal, ensure that your goals are realistic, and set a time-frame for re-evaluation and completion.
2. State Your Needs:
Be specific with your mentor about what you need to achieve your goals. Show your mentor your list of goals, and discuss their role in your plan to achieve these goals.

Ex: If your goal is to be confident and proficient with ‘routine’/common surgeries within 6 months, and you currently terrified and overwhelmed, TELL your mentor that you NEED them to scrub into all surgeries with you for 1 week, and then re-evaluate. 

If you don’t let your mentor know WHAT you need, they will never be able to provide it. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for what you need.
Stuff animal kangaroo (named Bouncer) climbing up a mountain
Continually be climbing to achieve your goals! If you actively participate in your mentorship, you will reach your goals faster, and will achieve more than you could imagine!
Take an ACTIVE part in your mentorship. Being mentored is not a passive process. You need to be constantly determining, evaluating, and re-evaluating your goals, monitoring and assessing your own progress, and asking/demanding what you need, whether that be more time, or more feedback.

The more you put into your mentorship, the more you will get out of it.
4. Be Consistent:
It is so easy to let time run away from you. Ensure you are re-evaluating your progress on a set, consistent schedule, and make sure you stick to it! Push your mentor to stick by these meetings. Have set dates & times instead of ‘sometime next week’.
5. Be OPEN:
Part of being mentored means that you are actively looking for someone to help you IMPROVE. Improvement can only occur when you push yourself to try new things, to go beyond your comfort zone, and whenever you try new things you will ultimately fail or fall short sometimes. This means that you will need to be open and receptive to CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. Embrace and be OPEN to both new experiences and suggestions for improvement, and interpret all criticism as positive and oppourtunities to grow!
6. Contribute:
Mentees, especially new grads, will have information/ideas and an ENERGY that is important to a clinic. Make sure you contribute to not only your mentor/mentee relationship, but also to your clinic! Share your ideas, share your energy, and be part of the team! This will not only help you achieve independence and medical proficiency sooner, but will increase your job satisfaction!
7. Self-Evaluation:
Canadian Goose looking at reflection in water.
Critical Evaluation of yourself is important to achieve any goals!
Be critical of yourself, and have high expectations of yourself!! Part of this includes evaluating yourself. Make a set date/time every month (or bi-weekly) to sit down and evaluate your progress. You can use this Progress Assessment Sheet to track your progress. Adapt it as needed! Goals without evaluation/re-evaluation are nothing but dreams.
8. TRY… Really Hard:
As a mentee you need to TRY. Being a vet is a challenging career, and succeeding and being proficient takes time, energy, and effort. In order to succeed you must work hard, and TRY. Every day, every consult, try to improve a little bit. Be a little bit better than you were the day before. You will have days that are hard and days with failures, but push through and keep trying!
9. Be Honest:
In a mentor/mentee relationship it is important to be honest with both your mentor, and yourself. Be honest about your goals, be honest about your progress, and be honest about your evaluations. Don’t over-evaluate yourself to try to get a ‘better mark’, but don’t under-evaluate yourself due to Imposter Syndrome!
10. Have Fun!:

		kitten investigating and playing with a flower
Try to continue to find joy, and happiness every single day. Take time to enjoy the career!
You worked hard to become a vet. For many of you, it is a life-long dream com true. Try to have some fun! There are so many components to being a vet, and not all of them are easy, fun or desirable. Every day try to reflect on the positive aspects of your day, and HAVE FUN!!!

Do you need help determining your goals, or setting realistic expectations and time-frames for yourself? Do you need help determining WHAT you want? Contact Us or check out our KICK ASS Consulting for help! 

Written by Dr. Ann Herbst BSc, DVM

Published November 10th, 2019

Advocate for yourself, you are the only one that will!

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