Have you ever heard the old saying, “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one”?
It’s for that very reason that finding a mentor is relatively easy. People will always want to give you unsolicited advice. The real trick is finding a mentor who brings something incredibly positive to your life and career. Someone you can trust and someone whose advice directly relates to your life.
I’ve been very fortunate to have a number of great mentors:
Dr. Jean Strahlendorf introduced me to basic science research through the scope of neurophysiology.
During my clinical research fellowship at the NIH, Dr. Brad Wood, as well as the numerous other researchers involved with the Clinical Research Training Program, educated us on the ins and outs of clinical research.
In medical school, Dr. Bruce Peyser guided my growth as a clinician and gave me the courage to switch specialties when I knew I wasn’t meant to be a radiologist.
Dr. Alan Menter introduced me to the world of dermatology and showed me just how rewarding patient care can be when you inspire hope in patients who thought all hope was lost.
Like I said, I’ve been very fortunate. For these few mentors I’ve listed, I could have easily listed 20 more. Because what is a mentor? I suppose it’s someone you trust and from whom you seek advice, because you think you might want to be where they are. You might want to live your life the way they do. Accomplish things they’ve accomplished. Affect change as they have.
And that brings me to my current mentor, Dr. Chad Housewright.
Dr. Housewright is the type of guy you want to emulate. He’s the man you would want your daughter to marry, and the doctor you would want taking care of your loved ones. And unlike most doctors stuck in the rat race, at the end of the day at around 5PM, he goes home to his wife and kids. On the weekends, he doesn’t work. He’s not vying to hold leadership positions. He doesn’t write research grants in his free time. Dr. Housewright works hard for his patients and his community. He teaches residents every day. But he has a life outside of medicine. He’s not married to his job, that’s what his wife is for. Dr. Housewright isn’t the most famous physician I’ve worked with, he doesn’t have the most publications, and I don’t think he has ever written a book. But he’s a damn good physician, and exactly the type of person I aspire to be.
In my 33 years of life, 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and 7 years of residency, I have learned a few things about mentors:
ONE: Every mentor you have can teach you something. Be ready for the lesson.
TWO: Be cool. No one likes giving advice to the annoying kid.
THREE: Name-dropping is not the point of having a mentor.
FOUR: Find someone who has similar goals in life. Their advice will be better and more applicable because of your similarity.
FIVE: Don’t try too hard to find a mentor. Follow your path and keep your eyes peeled. The right relationship typically happens organically.
Lastly, be a mentor yourself. You may learn more from that relationship than you expect. Besides, it’s good karma.
About the author:
Dr. Bobby Mansouri is a dermatology resident at Texas A&M College of Medicine - Scott and White Hospital. Originally from Lubbock, Texas, Dr. Mansouri has had the opportunity to train at some of the best institutions across the United States for his training, including Texas Tech University, Duke University School of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the University of California San Francisco, and Baylor University Medical Center. Follow Dr. Bobby on Instagram.