Having a mentor is essential for every aspiring professional. It’s important to have an individual to talk to that has been where you are and is where you want to be. Ideally, this would be a person that has already travelled the path before you, thoroughly understands the challenges that come along the way, and are better equipped to prepare you for those situations. You have the advantage of learning from their successes as well as failures. In addition, they are in a position to connect you with others whose similar experiences will be valuable to you as well.
I was connected to a professional mentor through my pastor.
After explaining what I was looking for in a mentor, he immediately put me in contact with the person that is employed as the Accounting Manager at my church. My church has many thousands of members, so her job is extremely demanding. She is also a CPA, so she knows the level of determination and perseverance it takes to pass this exam.
From the time we first spoke on the phone, there was an instant connection.
Initially, she shared her story about her journey to becoming a CPA. Like me, she had some major struggles and unfortunate life events occurred while studying for the exam. Also, we both began studying for the exam later in life and not straight out of college. She wanted to quit on several occasions after a few failed attempts; I know what that feels like. She emphasized the power of influence. She surrounded herself with people who believed in her, encouraged her, and would not allow her to give up on her goal.
I was amazed by her tenacity. It had paid off for her. She explained to me, in detail, and was brutally honest about what it takes to pass the CPA exam. Most importantly, she stressed the importance of making my study time a priority. Any additional distractions, such as social gatherings and family functions, would have to be minimalized. She gave me great advice and helped me understand the feat that lie in front of me.
Another benefit of having a mentor is that you have someone to hold you accountable to whatever it is that you say you are going to do.
She calls me several times a week to check on my progress and constantly encourages me when I am feeling overwhelmed by it all. Having a mentor serves a constant reminder of what is possible for me and inspires me to stick with it until I reach my goal. As I learn from my mentor, I am being equipped with the tools I need to influence others who I may mentor in the future.
I do believe that it is imperative that a person finds the appropriate, professional mentor.
You can ask a professor at school, a supervisor at work, or perhaps a community leader. If you are unsure where to begin to look for a mentor, you can do what I did. Let others know that you are in need of a mentor and what qualities you are looking for in that particular person. It is most beneficial that your journeys have commonalities so that you are able to relate to one another. Having a mentor has been such a valuable factor on this path to passing the CPA exam. I am so grateful and better off for connecting with her.
I hope you are able to find one as well, and then become one yourself in the future!
–Kimberly Smith, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review