By Tatum Wheeler • December 22, 2018•Ms. JD, Writers in Residence, Careers, Issues, Mentoring and Networking
It's easy to recognize the best sports teams. They often win championships or "get this close" to the finals almost every year. While many of these teams are built upon talent and access to elite resources, there is something that makes the truly great teams standout. It's this strange combination of trust and role delineation.
Finding your place in your career is the same way. Often we think of mentors as a single person, a coach, who can guide every professional decision we encounter. We imagine someone in our chosen field, with a personal and professional life we admire.
However, an unfulfilling search for a single mentor can be misguided. Rather than search for a single perfect mentor, we can follow the best teams and pull from a broader group. We can create a team of mentors, a spectrum of colleagues that may vary in their professional level, ideology, and chosen field.
Finding the right team member for each position may be tricky. For instance, you may find that your "teammate" who provides the best networking advice struggles with time management. Or, you may find that someone who is successful in each of these areas may struggle in balancing their personal and professional life. But, once you work out everyone's roles, you'll have a coordinated effort of teammates that can only increase your chance of success in your professional game.
Once you get this team, it's time to start playing. Don't be scared to take advantage of your team's individual talents, or let your self-confidence drop because you don't have the same talents. The best teammates understand their own strengths and weaknesses and play accordingly. Don't be afraid to do the same.
Tatum Wheeler is a first-year law student at UC Irvine. When she’s not studying, she spends her free time exploring the coastline, connecting with friends and family, and cheering on her favorite sports teams. Please feel free to contact her with any questions, comments, or further advice.