As a child I can remember writing about my role model in grade school. I can remember describing how I wanted to be just like… you guessed it, my mom. Cheesy? Yes, but I can remember how I wanted to be smart and successful like her. I can recall how I wanted to be a teacher just like she was. While I might not have become a teacher, I know that my life was influenced by many role models I developed throughout the years. But the big question is: do we stop having role models when we “grow up”? Can adults still have inspirational role models?
Although I have “grown up” and graduated college, there are still people I look up to. There are still successful individuals who influence my education and career choices. There are people out there that I want to be like and learn from, just like my childhood role models. The only difference is I don’t call them my role models; I call them my mentors.
I know I have harped on the importance of having a mentor many times, but it is something that you just shouldn’t go without. As young adults, we need mentors to show us the ropes. You can learn so much more from someone who has been where you are than by going it alone.
But what makes a good mentor? What qualities should we look for in a role model as adults? Unlike choosing a childhood role model, young adults should put thoughtful consideration into who is the right mentor for them. We must determine what qualities our mentors should have in order to help us achieve our fullest potential.
Qualities to look for in your mentor:
- Ability to Inspire. If you are interested in a mentor because of their specific occupation, you should find an individual eager to share their knowledge with you. Your mentor should be passionate about their position and inspire you to achieve success in their field. Mentors who have first-hand experience who love their jobs can help you decide if this is the right field for you.
- Clear Set of Values. All mentors, no matter what field of work, should have a clear set of values. Mentors are there to serve as a guide for you to navigate life. They should know what matters to them and how they can share their values with you. Mentors should also exhibit the highest of ethics. They are there to help you choose an outcome in difficult situations.
- Acceptance of Others. Mentors, especially those who are blind or visually impaired, should be accepting of others. They should be understanding and tolerant. They know the process of disclosure and how not everyone is as accepting as they should be. Your mentor is there to help you learn to work with others and help explain your disability to employers and coworkers.
- Perseverance. It is important to look for someone who never gives up. Finding a job is a difficult process. You can’t expect to get the first job you interview for. Your mentor is there to ensure you won’t let rejection hold you back. They are there to show you how you too can find gainful employment if you persevere.
Interested in learning more about mentoring or finding a mentor? Check out the AFB CareerConnect e-mentoring program and discover a mentor that has all of the qualities you are looking for in a role model.