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A Mentor’s Tough Love

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What am I doing with my life? It’s a loaded question, one that we sometimes ask to elicit a reassuring response. There is a part of us that wants to hear, “You’re doing great.” But there also exists a different part of ourselves that knows we need to hear — and probably wants to hear — the other side of it: You’re doing fine, but you could be doing better, and here’s how.

Give It to Me Straight

That was the part I was seeking to indulge when I applied for the WISE Within program, and I made it clear to my mentor from the get-go: Give it to me straight.

I needed tough love, someone to help me evaluate in an honest way what I had done lately to move ahead in my career. I was braced to hear the realities as it pertained not only to myself, but also to the larger professional world — failures, layoffs, economic instability are real possibilities.

Mentor Asks Tough Questions

My WISE Within mentor was able to provide that. He — yes, WISE Within is equal-opportunity — proved to be the objective observer I had been looking for. It was clear that he wanted me to succeed, but he had nothing to lose or gain in the advice he offered, which allowed for some blunt conversations. To have somebody look me in the eye and ask how I planned to further develop my skills —to further grow in my career — was eye-opening and necessary.

Additionally, he helped me navigate through some restructuring in my workplace, coaching me on how to express my concerns in a confident and clear manner. The prep work did wonders, and I walked away from the experience feeling good about myself and surer in my ability to handle future change. Not only did I find the wakeup call I needed, thanks to WISE Within, I have this wonderful person in my corner. Our relationship hasn’t ended just because our mentoring cycle has. I can always reach out to him for that gut check.

Mentees, ask your mentors for the tough questions. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Deborah Appel

About Deborah Appel

Deborah Appel is an executive assistant to the chief revenue officer and two senior vice presidents at CBS Interactive. She has been with the company for four years and also is responsible for the coordination and planning of employee events. Prior to joining CBS Interactive, Appel oversaw Major League Baseball’s annual Civil Rights Game and was an event producer in the music industry. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder and resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

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