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Nurturing Your Niche: Mentoring and Recognizing the Power of Hopes and Dreams

Every man, woman and child regardless of their age, career and profession wants to believe that we are capable of accomplishing the extraordinary. Our daydreams feature us as reaching the pinnacle of our profession, such as being awarded the Nobel Prize, earning an Oscar, making that game-winning touchdown, etc. However, as we grow older, our parents, teachers, coaches, and friends believe that they are doing us a favor by giving us a “reality check” by talking about what we cannot or should not do, and/or emphasizing the importance of earning a living and being successful which often results in our dreams being squashed and our imagination being stunted.

But, what if a Mentor has the capacity of reconstituting those dreams and reigniting that imagination? What happens when a Mentor conveys a purposeful plan of how mentees can get there when they allow their perceptions of what is possible to change? Everyone would like to possess a roadmap to what brings them joy, so when a Mentor is willing to help mentees draw such a map, the likelihood that they will follow it is great. Note that the relationship between the Mentor and the Mentees is one of a partnership and a collaborative effort rather than the Mentor actually making the decisions and solving the problems for the Mentees. 

Mentors can be instrumental in assisting Mentees with overcoming their fear(s) to allow them to get what they want out of life. Intra-personal conflict and inter-personal conflict are a part of life, so in the pursuit of “Nurturing Your Niche,” there will be “speed bumps” along with way. Humans, being human tend to fear the unknown particularly in cases involving the more powerful unknown unknowns or “Black Swans.” What makes them even more intrinsically difficult is the inability to know what questions to ask in order to identify these Black Swans but they are invaluable regarding the information that they can provide about oneself and others. Consider these principles: 

“Known-knowns” provide guidance while “Unknown-unknowns” provide leverage. 

Learning about others provides insight into oneself. 

Remain cognizant of the Similarity Principle.

When faced with another person’s irrational or “crazy” behavior, search for constraints, hidden desires, and bad information.

Arrange face time between Mentors and Mentees to examine informative verbal and non-verbal behavior.

Dr. Mary Ann Markey