Showing posts with label mentor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mentor. Show all posts

Finding your Mentor: The Do's and Dont's

May 12, 2019 | | 0 comments |
Well first of all Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers reading the blog. 

I haven't posted in a while and you know the lack of posts also means that things have been  a little busy and I am sorry about not letting you know that I wasn't going to be able to publish for a while. Honestly, I didn't know it either. This blog has literally been with me for ages I always come back :) 

If you have been reading the blog for a while, you also know that I have always been a firm believer of having a mentor, so today I thought will share with you what you need to have one. 

The video is about everything you need to know about mentorship- why you need one to how to find one. If you have any questions, please let me know in the Facebook Page.

Connections- What we all need (SIPM Connect)

The traditional models are so yesterday.

You had to walk into a room full of people to network, travel for attending seminars and cold call/email to find a mentor. 

Today, things have undergone a massive change, yes we still do all of the above but nothing is limited to how much you are willing to spend. 

And thats a big advantage for so many, for those who want to learn, for students who are cash strapped, for those who don’t want to fly for hours to get to another country. We are all trying to connect- to the right person, right job, right level of experience and right emotions.

And we believe, well most of us at least that connections can get us to the point, carry us when we need an extra nudge. 

At SIPM Connect, we do just that. Its a FREE forum for anyone to connect. Available globally, the idea is projected in an interactive platform, where you are free to find the right level of connection.

The profile creation  is simple and fast, clear and to the point. And yet personalised for another person to reach out to you whether within your group (e.g newbie) or the other (e.g.mentor). Get the entire overview as soon as you login, effective  and time saving. Browse through the group of your interest, find the connections and hear back from them in the same forum. 

Click the group to explore the world, literally. Choose from countries, industries and drill down to keywords to find the mentor/network you need in the domain you would like. 

And yes I will say it again- its free. Built as a way to give back to the community with the confidence that everyone wants to create the right connection and everyone should have the right to. 

To sign up, click here  

3 Things to do before you wrap up 2017

Lets get straight to the point, the year just went by.

  • Revise your job profile and interest- because you have a specific job title doesn't mean you cannot rethink or change it. The goal is to always be updated and be in a job that aligns with your interests. This means:
      • Observe the market shifting- and get yourself a new certification or  learn something new. Websites like Coursera allow you to enrol for them without having to pay a dime. You join the course of your choice and learn and if you want the certification you can pay.
  • Be thankful and take a break- to revise your goal and intentions you need to remove yourself from the current environment. You can reset your goals every quarter or once in two years. This means you dont need a sabbatical to decide the course of your life- it could be couple of hours in your favorite coffee shop.  For me personally, this year (in fact starting today), I am taking a couple of weeks off where I can travel and revise my goals.
  • Find  a sponsor- mentors are life changing but a sponsor is mandatory. A sponsor is also rather difficult to find,someone who will play a very active role in promoting you and ensuring you are in a role that interests you and climbing up the ladder.  3 ways to find a sponsor:
      • Have a work ethic- project your work personality and what you stand for.
      • Talk about your goal/career path- figure out where you want to career path to be at and then talk about it with your manager, mentors and sooner or later you will find your sponsor. 
      • Prove your worth- this is a no brainer, you have to prove you have it in you and are ready to work for it. No one will be willing to take a risk on you otherwise.
(Pic courtesy: Google images)

Walking Past Your Fear

Have you been scared and still done it anyway? Bungee jumping or public speaking?

Today I wanted to talk about why being scared and still going ahead with it is okay. Everyone starts somewhere even the greatest of speakers or writers. So, why not you?

The job of one part of our brain (reptilian) is to ensure we stay safe and discourages us from trying out new things. The basal ganglia is referred to as the reptilian or primal brain, as this structure is in control of our innate and automatic self-preserving behavior patterns, which ensure our survival and that of our species. We might not be living in the same world as primitive man, but we are still met with threatening and potentially dangerous situations. The brainstem is responsible for keeping us safe now, as it was for early man. The health and functioning of this brain region largely determines our ability to detect and respond to threats. At the most basic level, the brainstem helps us identify familiar and unfamiliar things. Familiar things are usually seen as safe and preferable, while unfamiliar things are treated with suspicion until we have assessed them and the context in which they appear (More here).

So when you feel shaky about taking the stage- its your brain telling you its risky and something new... just stay in the couch, that's something you are used to.

The choice is always there and its yours to make, do you want to stay a newbie for the rest of your life or you want to make that touch call and speak up and ask a questions, volunteer for an opportunity or ask for more responsibility. The difference between those who have done well and who are still waiting is earlier has been scared and still gone ahead and tried something new. Its also Growth Mindset.

Here are 33 ways to overcome your fear and when you decide you are ready, here's a video to watch- Growth Mindset simplified. This is how I am working around my fears :)


(Pic courtesy: Google Images)

Relearning: The Gadget Habits (5 simple tips)

If you spend all your time slouching in the couch and complaining life isn’t taking you anywhere, well you already know nothing will happen.

An average person will usually complaint 15-30 times day. The chronic complainer falls into a perpetual cycle of finding fault, feeling negative, and then being unable to face the next situation with an open mind.  

Instead of picking ourselves and working on our list, we are busy with the Gadget Browsing. We use it every day- new fancy phones, laptops, tablets... hundreds of apps crammed in it. We wake up with the mindless chatter of browsing and we wrap up our day by telling the world we are ready for bed. Does information overload or mindless browsing help your creativity- perhaps not. We are way too occupied with our gadgets (that's where the free times heads to) till we need a mental day off .

Here are 5 ways to re-think about your habits:

  1. Stop all the notifications- this includes your emails, social media and news channels. When you need something (info/news) you can open the app and it’s always better to have a fixed time to do it. Don’t use it as a cure for boredom instead pick a book or go for a walk or meet a real friend.
  2. Delete apps- you don’t need so many apps, delete them. Free yourself from the urge to constantly monitor your behavior, deleting helps. Once done you can decide to login to your Facebook or Instagram once a week or month and check for updates (in case you forgot they also have a website), you really don’t need to prove anything to anyone here. 
  3. Use apps to develop the growth mindset -don’t stop learning because you are out of college, keep that fire in you alive. Use your gadgets instead to learn a new domain, or pick up a interest or a certification. Download the content and you can even use it while you commute even with a shaky wifi. this includes paid and free stuff- read a blog, take up a course and get a certification that will actually help you to move to your new role.
  4. Shake up your timeline- make the time spent meaningful, there’s no point in giving up your time and feeling worthless. If you think browsing through social media is giving you all the negative vibes then just get out of it. Use apps to create real connections, meet your mentor once a month over Skype or use Google hangout to teach... the possibilities are endless as long as you use them correctly.
  5. Positive vibes only- use gadgets to create the life you want, not the life your social timeline dictates you to live by and crib about. Use apps to meditate or write or create amazing headspace that takes you through the day. 

Stop the mindless browsing and create the positive road-map you have always wanted and see how it feels to stop complaining for once.

(Pic courtesy: Google images)

You are Not Limited by your Location- SIPM Connect

If you thought your opportunities are limited by your location- think again.

 You can be located anywhere in the world and yet to connect to continents apart. So, if you are new to project management and what to know more, why limit yourself to your locality. Be bold. Be brave. Reach out to anyone.

The most difficult part of reaching out to someone in the PM community is:
  • You might want to network or work with the best; however you don’t know how to reach them
  • If you reach out, you aren’t sure if they will be open to it

Why SIPM Connect:
  • You can choose a mentor or someone to connect with anywhere in the world (choose based on country, city)
  • You can also choose them based on your domain of work and location (in case you want someone local, for example if you work in projects within advertisement, mass media who might want to connect with someone local or within your country)
  • They have already agreed to be the mentor (they have signed up as experts and chosen to be a mentor), which means you don’t have to pursue them as much to mentor you.
  • Best part, its free. Login from anywhere in world to anyone.  And you will never get bombarded with emails. Never. 

(Pic courtesy: SIPM)

SIPM Connect- The Benefits of Being a Mentor

SIPM Connect is the Community of Project Managers that allows the Newbies and the Experts to interact. Oh and it’s free.


3 top benefits of being a mentor in SIPM Connect:

1.You get to share your experience with someone- the greatest of satisfaction is to help someone our and see them grow. It makes you a better person and professional and it add a boost of positivity in your life. In SIPM Connect, you can choose to be a mentor.  This allows newbies to connect with you easily from all over the world. Mentors can be sort out based on their location, domain or profile insight.

2.You learn from the millennial’s (born between 1980-2000)- Most of the younger workforce who are looking for mentors are probably millennials. 3 things you didn’t know about millennials  
          •       They are motivated (source
          •       They crave coaching (source
          •       Open to change (source
     3. You can earn credits- In most formats, informal coaching or mentoring can be counted as learning or discussions,  so if you are involved you might be able to get adequate credits. Please check with your local chapter of PMI or Scrum  Alliance for more information.

    How to keep your life in control?

    Overwhelmed with the to do list, promises, unending schedule and no time for you?  It’s true for many...Sometimes you have to be make smart choices and know what makes a difference for you. 

    Here are few that can help you re-think:
    • Procrastinate to make decisions- Sometimes you can make the best of decisions when you have all the information you need. A hurried decision in most cases is always the wrong one. A study from Columbia University says, delaying can filter distractions. Now this is something that we aren't thought to think about, in fact procrastination has always been considered a negative aspect in our lives. Want to know how  a mind of a procrastinator works, try watching this TED talk.

    • Try to be happy
        • Create lists- Having a list takes your mind off the stress of constantly having to remember things and working on it. For example- there have been numerous occasions when I have come up with an idea for the blog and by next day I have completely forgotten it, which means I had to take another hour reading through things trying to come up with a topic or stress about how I ended up forgetting it. Only if I had written it down, I would save myself not only the hours but the worry. 
        • Meditate- 15 minutes of meditation can actually help people make better, more profitable decisions, “Most people have trouble admitting they were wrong when their initial decisions lead to undesirable outcomes,” says researcher Andrew Hafenbrack.  MRI scans show that after an eight-week course of mindfulness practice, the brain’s “fight or flight” center, the amygdala, appears to shrink. This primal region of the brain, associated with fear and emotion, is involved in the initiation of the body’s response to stress. As the amygdala shrinks, the pre-frontal cortex – associated with higher order brain functions such as awareness, concentration and decision-making – becomes thicker.
        • Accept you can’t avoid stress in entirety- A little bit of stress is not only okay but is beneficial (watch the TED talk below).

    • Practice positive vibes- Create a routine and wake up doing something that makes you happy. You can listen to the same music every morning or go for a walk, water your plants, look at happy pictures- anything that resets your mood or gives a good head-start . A lot of successful people have created routines that allow them to practice positive vibes that translate into a better day for them and hence trick their minds in being happy or successful. When you start your day on a positive note, small glitches which you would otherwise allow your spirit to be dampened with, won’t set you back anymore. They will be smaller incidents that you can walk past by and still look forward in having a good day.
    • Know when to move on- Ask for a raise, ask for more responsibilities, ask for more learning and if at some point you see nothing’s working- you know it’s time to leave. Be clear about your objectives when you start looking for the next job, don’t be afraid to ask more questions, request to meet your manager you will be reporting to or find out the career and growth path in the organization you are interviewing at. It will only help you make better comparative decisions.

    • Look at the larger picture- Finding something new isn’t easy. It’s also difficult to start something new and perhaps looking for a new job is not something you feel like. Sometimes you have to look at what you want to do in the next 2 years and is being with your current organization, team or manager helping you attain those?  

    What is SIPM- Connect?

    SIPM (Stepping into Project Management) is a community for Project Managers. While this is a blog, the SIPM community is called- CONNECT.

    You can be a newbie in the field OR someone who has been in the domain for years and is an expert. This is an open platform where you can interact within your own group, find a mentor to consult and learn from or simply network.

    Best of all- its FREE!

    The image above is a sneak peek, post login. You get:

    • to maintain your own profile
    • get updated within your network (if you have joined as an expert, you get to see all the experts registered with the site and start a conversation)
    • you get to see the other group as well (example- I can see the newbie list too)
    • My notes allows you to scribble your to dos and things to remember.
    • And of course based on your registration type (Expert or Newbie) you get to see the relevant advertisements, which hopefully add value to you. Ads re not globally placed n the site, its based on your group. 
    Its an active site with a lot going on, so if you are already part of it- a big THANK YOU. If you have been thinking about joining it, please try it out. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me.

    (Pic courtesy: SIPM)

    January- National Mentoring Month

    I have always been very vocal about getting your mentor and mentoring others to give back to the community that has been kind to you.

    The SIPM community website is build on the grounds of finding your mentor- locally and globally. Apart from the obvious reasons you should get a mentor (see bullet points with links below), here are a few others:
    • Finding a mentor when you have plans to move countries-It can be beneficial to have a ally who understands the cultural aspect as a local and can advise you on as required situation. It can definitely give you a heads up in meeting the right people; your mentor already knows them all. Ask for introductions.
    • Get published- look around for doing some research oriented work may be, to get your name co-published in blog posts, journals, books etc.
    • Be a part of a bigger venture- Find out ways to contribute to the community by discussing it with your mentor- join NGO’s, volunteer your time and add them up in your resume.

    You can join the SIPM community today by clicking here.  Find related links below:

    (Pic Courtesy: Google Images)

    To learn more about project management read my book Stepping into Project Management (Welcome to the #PMOT World). To connect with experienced Project Manager's from all over the world, get mentored or shadow for a day see the SIPM Community.

    Talking to successful people

    So, now that you are working out the challenge series and have started the change for a much better and productive life, this video will provide you with that extra edge when you decide to talk (and network) with others and perhaps even find a job.

    Remember to listen carefully to this 4.18 minute video and you can ace what to ask when you meet a prospective mentor!

    What do you think? Is that how you do? What strategies have you used?

    How to find your mentor?

    To help you guide you through finding your mentor and pointers for your sessions, download the excel file here

    How to choose a mentor?

    Nov 3, 2009 | | 1 comments |

    If you don’t have a choice just go with anyone who is ready to help you.

    If you have and to make the most of your time, here are some of the things you might want to consider:

    • Make sure your mentor understands why you are looking for mentoring
    • Be very clear on what you would like to get out of the experience
    • Make sure the timings work for both of you
    • Be prepared and get clear instructions on what you are supposed to get done and how to get it done.
    • Discuss the plan and how your mentoring is help you make sure this includes what you are lagging behind in.
    • Listen to them, however if you don’t agree with something, clarify it and bring in your input.
    • Treasure the experience and learn as much as you can

    To read more about why mentors are very important in your life, click here

    (Pic Courtesy)

    Preaching doesn't help.

    If you are not practicing yourself, stop preaching about it.

    I have written perhaps umpteen times how getting a mentor helps, it sure does. Everybody needs their priorities to be evaluated once in a while, may be on quarterly basis. So, while I was looking for something more, I asked myself- what do I want to do now?

    I write this blog and want to become a project manager but honestly how much progress have I made in the mast 3 months. Not much.

    So, given the limited situation not much of the theories I read about I can really put into use. I have been stagnant for a while and it’s not what you want.

    So, I sent out a tweet saying that I was looking for a project manager to mentor me. Yep- tweet! I did get some cool replies and I’m so grateful and appreciative of the fact that these project mangers that are awesome and so talented actually tweeted me back. I have told you; get into the social media- its helps!

    Very exciting, right. It means lot of work as well. Working with the best in the field means that you will need a lot of preparation and putting in the hours.

    So, I’m putting in the pieces together on what I need to get done:

    • Get into a schedule rhythm- it gets me working to my best. Very hard to start and push yourself to get up at 6 in the morning but it will work! I need to study, remember?
    • Mentally prepping myself up that work shouldn't tire me away and I will work very hard. If the mentor after leading such a busy life is agreeing to help me out, shouldn’t I be more than ready to double up my effort and make it worthwhile for them?
    • Got my space set up, to study of course. Same place, same time everyday, helps me concentrate. I decide 2 hours everyday at least!
    • Oh yeah and the blog wont stop, it will be rolling like never before- more information for me means more for you. Details of my sessions perhaps won’t be revealed unless my mentors agree to it. I’m not asking them now, not unless I have got an A in my assignment.
    • I’d love to snooze for 10 more minutes. I’m awake and writing the blog at 6.30 n the morning. Who knew?

    So, now that I’m doing it perhaps its time to get over the “tomorrow factor” for you as well. Rise and shine and get something done!

    (Pic Courtesy)

    Where's your mentor?

    I have written about mentoring before and I think its one of the most important things to focus on while you are trying to find a ground for yourself in the professional world.

    I read Alec's post the other day and thought would share it with you as well. Here are links related to mentoring I have written before:

    Why it’s hard being a newbie?

    Obviously because no one will take you seriously.

    People are hesitant to give you the chance to whip up a really nice project. They will always blame your inexperienced soul, your lack of domain knowledge, your inability to handle deadline and pressure.

    I know. Newbies might not have 16 years of experience behind them but they sure have the new technology, the zeal to work harder and flame to learn more. Try that.

    So, if you are having a hard time getting a spot in the team:

    • Observe well. Swoop down on every opportunity to volunteer for extra work.
    • Get the best mentor possible and use your persuasion skills to convince them that you are here for real- to be a project manager.
    • When you are pushed to the sidelines, work harder. Finish your assigned task and dive deeper into projects. Read through project documents if you get nothing else.
    • Start a blog. It can turn people around- write truly, honestly and on what you can. Now they know you are into it and want to grow.
    • Don’t take a NO personally. It’s just that most people don’t want to spend the time to train you; they would rather do it themselves. Persistence pays.
    • Stick around. Be there. Listen to client calls, meeting updates, anything really. Try taking meeting notes.
    • Read about terminologies, technology, clients- anything that will help you understand the next conversation better. Scribble the technical jargon you don't understand that you overheard two seniors talking about to "search" them later and learn about.
    • Get along yet be professional. It’s important to be objective as well. Know where to draw the line.
    • Never give up because it’s not happening right now. It will because you won't give up.
    • Do the right thing. Don’t get involved in politics or back door policy to get what you want. It will backfire.
    (Picture Courtesy: Google Images)

    What mentor-ing can teach you?

    When I started mentoring a few newly joined individuals in my office, I always remembered and thought about my mentors and what they have taught me. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have some amazing mentors who have helped me groom as a professional and an individual.

    Mentoring is hard. You are trying to impart lessons of a lifetime to them. I make sure they have good work ethics with a good heart; that helping each other is important. More I work with them, more I figure out about myself.

    What you learn from your mentees:

    Your ability to bring out the best in them- By helping them do so, you work on your patience, your teaching skills and analyzing your own mistakes that you should work on to become a better mentor.
    Teaching skills- As they say, if you can’t help a 10 year old understand a concept you don’t know it yourself. True to the core! Now you know how much you know.
    The basics of being a professional- If you tell someone to be honest and be true to your work and be inquisitive; you will have to show them yourselves in your job. Or what you teach is just for the sake of teaching; they won’t follow it because they see you not doing it.
    They will observe what you don’t teach- I always did and I know they do too. The best teachings are those which are not taught and the mentees simply pick them up by being in your proximity. Your bad habits too. So beware.

    We all want one of those perfectly curious and patient mentees who are easier to teach, who pick up skills easily, are smart and witty and want to learn. When you don’t have a perfect one, remember how perfect a mentor you can be is what will determine their learning curve.

    So what if they are not perfect, you can be.

    (Picture: Google images)