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Day 3: Find a Mentor

August 20, 2011

The Art of Manliness post

“1. Determine what sort of mentor you’re looking for”
The first area that comes to mind when I think about areas of my life that could use improvement is fitness. I still want to lose a substantial amount of weight and since leaving Chicago and stopping martial arts and rugby practice, I haven’t been good about working out other than walking to and from South Station and the office rather than taking the red line.

“2. Draw up a list of three men that you’d like to mentor you”
So this is where the process came to a halt for me. I don’t actually know anyone available who is working out on the almost daily basis that I would like to aspire to. Moreover, I think the low I’ve hit is situational – once I move to the new apartment, not only will I have bike trails and a body of water at my disposal, I will also have an awesome roommate who is interested in martial arts and comfortable with training together.

“3. Write down how each mentor could help you grow as a man”
As for other areas of my life, I feel very fortunate to like and respect my supervisors who seem very invested in my professional development. I consider the women I work for as mentors. I am also receiving professional training every 2nd Friday of the month from my AmeriCorps VISTA program.

“4. Figure out what you expect from the mentor relationship”
I’d hope for an advisor with expertise in my area(s) of interest who was receptive to regular communication and spending time together. Like office hours. Which I didn’t appreciate or take advantage of as much as I should have in school. Being in the presence of someone who I respect and am intimidated by (in a good way) is of course tough, but right now I’m having a hard time thinking of someone who intimidates me in the way many of my good professors did at UChicago. I think I would like an academic mentor to keep my brain sharp in this year off from school, but that would require coming into contact with a learned man or woman – that’s something to work on. I am going to a UChicago lecture…

“5. Ask the first man on your list”
I haven’t asked for anyone to be my mentor, but since graduation, I have emailed an alum in the non-profit industry who I have been in contact with since my second year. I also emailed the alum I did an externship with my first year. And I just emailed the alum whose office I did an internship with last summer – she just started her own media relations firm. I’m not sure I have anyone in mind for one-on-one time, but I am a big believer in staying in touch with people that I can learn from – and that includes good friends.

“6. Expect rejection”
Sometimes, my emails don’t receive replies.

“7. Say ‘thank you'”
Of course 🙂

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