Last month, I challenged you to reflect on the type of mentoring relationship that works best for you. Specifically, I asked you to reflect on the time commitment that you want your mentor to provide, the amount of contact you would like from your mentor, and the way you best handle disagreements. In addition, we explored what the process of good mentoring looks like using three guiding questions:
- How often should you meet with your mentor?
- What specific things should you be asking your mentor to do or provide?
- How will or should disagreements with your mentor be handled?
As we begin the new year, it is important to renew and reflect on your “why.” Why have you answered the call of being a counselor, leader or advocate? While investigating why you are drawn to counseling and/or volunteerism, you should also reflect on how you are furthering your professional development and filling your wellness cup.
The first step in renewing your “why” is to ask yourself, “Are you currently fulfilled and passionate about your role in leadership, advocacy or the counseling profession?” When reflecting on this question, be honest about whether you are still passionate about your current role in leadership and advocacy. Do you find serving in the role or providing advocacy still gives you butterflies? Do you feel that you are stretching yourself and learning new things with the advocacy and leadership roles that you are taking on? Think about areas where you still need to add specific expertise to your counseling and/or volunteerism toolbox. Are you saying yes to opportunities that will provide you with the new skills you need to develop this expertise?
The second step in reflecting on your “why” is to ask yourself, “Are you continuing to develop and learn new skills that will aid in future leadership, advocacy and professional opportunities?” In this step, reflect on whether you have been consistent in gaining professional development and learning new things about the counseling profession that will help you in your leadership roles and with advocacy issues. Also use this question to investigate your connections and networks within the counseling field and beyond. You should consider whether you are still taking extra steps to expand your connections and networks beyond your first leadership role, your common list of references or those in your immediate circle. How plugged in are you to your professional network? Are you still in the same leadership role, or are you still expecting people to recognize you for that former leadership role?
The third step is to remind yourself that you are a whole person and you are more than your leadership, advocacy or identity as a counselor. You should be nourishing and pouring into yourself so that you are fulfilled beyond your professional or leadership roles. Nourishing your self-development allows you to focus on the big picture and not chase the next goal. Pouring into yourself is a form of self-care and helps replenish you for the next phase you are preparing for in your life.
I hope the three steps involved in reflecting on your “why” will help you investigate and continue your journey to pursue your life’s work and passion. This month, I challenge you to use the steps outlined in the process of asking “What’s your why?” to see whether you are expanding your knowledge and skill set to best answer the call to be a leader and advocate within the counseling profession. In addition, I want you to examine if you are nurturing yourself in ways that allow you to be true to your whole self. Until next month!