It has been repeatedly said that there is nothing new under the sun. There are many who desire to do incredible things with their lives, but stop just short of putting that desire into action. Why is that? How can the dream to reach one’s potential, remain just that, a dream? Is it that we become short of steam after enthusiastically chasing that dream, to only realize that we lack the endurance to push through? Could it be that we have actually worked hard and tried everything but fall short? Or maybe we know what we want to achieve, but as we attempt to navigate ourselves to that destination, we soon realize that we might be a little lost, and in need of some guidance. If you can identify with any of the previous 3 groups, this blog is for you. In re-stating that there is nothing new under the sun, I mean to say that there is a great power derived from the influence of someone who has already done it, setting the path for you, while also being willing to guide you through a similar journey in light of their experience. I would like to take a few moments to share with you the power of having and eventually becoming a Mentor!
From the time we are babies, we come to the natural conclusion that someone or something has a greater understanding of the world than we do. It is with that profound realization that we maintain confidence in their guidance. Initially it is our parents or guardians, and later our teachers and coaches. Why then does it seem as though when we become adults, that desire is masked by our self-pride, and our individual desire to do things on our own because we are, “all grown up?” I would like to suggest that the necessity for a guide is just as pivotal and essential in adulthood as it is in childhood. This profound level of guidance is mentorship. Many successes are built on the backbone of mentorship. To give a few examples of individuals you may be familiar with, Bill Gates was mentored by Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey was mentored by the late Maya Angelou, Frank Sinatra was mentored by Bing Crosby, and Michael Jordan was mentored by the late coach Dean Smith. The list goes on, but in light of the accomplishments of those listed in the sentence before, their mentor’s value and influence on their given accomplishments is inarguable.
In every phase of our lives we can and will benefit from the guidance, influence and motivation of a mentor. Someone has already done it, so why not find such an individual and learn what positive and negative lessons they discovered along the way? Why make the same mistakes when we can learn from them, propelling us further and faster toward our goal? This mentorship process takes more than a meeting or two; it requires long-term investment from both sides. Your mentor becomes a crucial ally along your journey. One such mentor of mine has been Greg Todd, a successful physical therapist, business owner, and marketing genius. When I first encountered his name in 2016, I did everything I could to soak up everything that he offered from YouTube videos, podcasts, daily posts, weekly emails and more. I was drawn in because he represented what I wanted to become in the physical therapy world. I was just starting my 3rd year in PT school, certain of where I wanted my career to go, but completely lost about how to get myself there. When I was introduced to Mr. Todd, I immediately wanted to learn more. His experience spoke volumes of how and why he had become so successful as a professional.
I reached a point where I knew that being exposed only to the content he was providing on the platforms mentioned above, was not enough. I needed him as a mentor if I was going to learn more and level up, while better understanding the process of attaining what I desired in my Physical Therapy career. So I became a Smart Success Physical Therapy student in his program. Through the program, he became not only a teacher, but a lifelong mentor to me, as well as to a number of aspiring current and future physical therapists. A later blog will elaborate on this experience, its significance, and why any other current or future professional desiring to level up, should look into his program. I can honestly say that I would not have dared aim as high as I currently am in my career, had it not been for his mentorship. He showed me that it was possible and empowered me to take action.
Mentorship equips us with the tools necessary to meet our potential and ultimately surpass that potential. If you saw yourself in the three questions at the beginning of this post, you have
immense potential! All you need is some direction. Direction is vital if you desire to transform your aspirations into action. A good mentor will serve as a navigator. If you are currently at a point in your career or life where you feel almost stranded, or lost, mentorship may be what you need. An invested guide to show you exactly how they did it, as well as empowering you to do the same. Investment also sets a mentor apart from others who may play a “teaching” role along your journey. To adequately invest in another individual, time is required. This may initially be the time taken to develop a relationship that eventually develops into a mentorship. My two primary career mentors Greg Todd and Casey Hoffman, a former PT clinical instructor of mine, opened up the doors of opportunity for me. Not only through what they have said, but more so through what they have done. By spending hours, dialoguing with them, picking their minds, and listening intently to their wisdom, opportunities have opened up naturally.
In everything you aspire, remember that there is value in identifying individuals who can serve as your mentor along the way. Learn everything that you can from them and their experiences, let them challenge you, and embrace their constructive critiques as you develop into the individual you are meant to be. Learn from them, work hard, don’t be afraid to stumble, and you will achieve greatly. Don’t stop there however, become a mentor to others. This may sound crazy, but you are currently in a position that someone else is trying to reach. So why not invest in them and guide them using your personal experiences? In helping them navigate their life through what you have faced on your own journey, you will show them the value of a mentor.
P.S. Future physical therapy students who are interested in receiving guidance and mentorship from individuals who have already been through the process and are now DPT students, or physical therapists, follow our PRE-Doctor of Physical Therapy Students Facebook page for relevant content, information, mentor-ship, and an open space to have your concerns heard, and answered as you aspire to become the clinician you hope and aspire to be.
Thank You For Your Time!
My success and inspiration has come from the guidance of Greg Todd and the Smart Success Physical Therapy course! If you are a Physical Therapist or future Physical Therapist interested in leveling up, I would highly recommend being a part of the Smart Success Season 4! It has changed my life!
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Joses Ngugi, SPT