For those of you who attended Vision Expo East over the weekend, you most likely had great conversations with peers, vendors, and speakers in continuing education sessions. However, a common topic I heard at the Optical Women's Association breakfast was the value of a good mentor and how those mentors contributed to the OD's career, life, and confidence. Whether you're a first-year student in a college of optometry, an OD with a one-year-old optometric practice, or a veteran OD trying to move the practice into the digital age, you can benefit from a dedicated mentor.
Today, I want to share some tips on how you can secure a mentor in the eyecare industry.
How To Find A Mentor For Your Optometric Practice Growth
Know What You Want From Your Mentor
There are many benefits of mentorship, from helping you find shortcuts to success, to gaining guidance from an experienced practice owner. Knowing what you want from a mentor will help you narrow down your search to identify the ideal candidate and will give your prospected mentor background information on how they can help you. Look for areas of weakness in your optometric practice and set a goal on how you can turn this weakness into a strength through proper guidance.
Identify Prospective Mentors
To find a mentor worth having, you need to put yourself out there and make valuable connections. Take the initiative and volunteer on boards and committees for organizations or charities that resonate with your area of focus. These organizations will provide you with opportunities to network with optometrists and other professional, and could offer you the chance to gain related experiences.
Ask Your Prospect
Don’t be afraid to ask a peer, a boss, or even an industry expert. Asking your prospective mentor for advice shows that you’re eager to take your success into your hands and won’t waste the mentor’s time. There is no harm in asking.
When you ask the prospective mentor, let them know why you think they are the right person to mentor you, what you’d like to gain out of the mentorship, and how they can help. Keep in mind; the mentor doesn’t always have to be in your industry to be your mentor. If there’s a local business owner that can provide advice on how you can more effectively manage the business side of your practice, it could be beneficial to work with that individual.
For more mentoring resources, check out these mentoring tips from The Optical Women’s Association, and subscribe to the Uprise Blog.