How to Find a Mentor in the Integrative Health and Wellness Industry
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“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” — Oprah Winfrey
How can a mentor help as you embark on your career in natural health and wellness? You may think that mentoring is just another career recommendation that isn't necessary to achieve your full potential. However, is that true?
Mentors can provide you with access to new contacts and additional knowledge and skills within your profession, as well as references and letters of recommendations. Mentors have your back and help you set and achieve both short- and long-term goals. Mentoring within the corporate world has long been an integral mechanism for developing the best employees. In fact, a survey by the Association for Talent Development found that three-fourths of private sector executives considered mentoring critical in achieving their current career status.
But, you don’t have to join the corporate sphere to benefit from mentoring. Many industry organizations have established formal mentoring programs or have members willing to mentor. Networking at industry events or conferences hosted by organizations like the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, Alliance of International Aromatherapists, American Herbalists Guild, National Association of Nutrition Professionals, or Natural Products Association can be a great way to connect with professionals and experts who have found success in your field.
Still wondering where to start? Here are some simple steps you can take to help find a meaningful mentor in the integrative health and wellness field:
Steps to developing a mentoring relationship
Decide what role you want a mentor to play in your holistic health career
Think about your goals and expectations for a mentoring relationship and identify places that you may locate people with the characteristics you find important. For instance, you can attend professional conferences, such as the annual NANP holistic nutrition conference. Keep in mind that you should actively pursue one-on-one communication during these events. Even inviting a potential mentor for a cup of coffee can be the start of a professional relationship.
Don't forget to seek opportunities in your academic setting. You can identify potential mentors through interactions with the American College of Healthcare Sciences—such as professors, event presenters, webinar hosts, and ACHS alumni ambassadors—while taking your online courses.
Working with a mentor can open many career opportunities by providing knowledge, encouragement, and connections to others in the field. You can meet mentors anywhere, not just academic or professional associations. Don't forget about social media or other online groups, family members or friends, authors of articles or books, or community organizations.
Reach out to potential mentors
Do this one at a time and on a somewhat formal basis by email or in-person meeting. Be straightforward about your goals and expectations and make sure you both are on the same page about the mentoring relationship. You will know when the fit is right. The AMTA has a great article on maintaining a healthy mentee/mentor relationship.
Once you have established a mentoring relationship, meet or communicate on a regular basis. It's important to keep the relationship going with regular meetings to facilitate the exchange of ideas. Remember that mentoring is a two-way street—you want to keep your mentor abreast of your progress. The mentor should be aware of the importance of their role in your professional life. Both of you should ultimately learn from each other.
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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.